25 years ago on July 11, 1990 the SQ raided a peaceful protest on the Kanesatake reserve. The women were protecting the bones of the elders buried in the cemetery. At sunrise when women were making breakfast and readying to welcome the new day, the Surete du Quebec (SQ) storm trooped the area. Women play an important role in the community as leaders. Kahnawake joined the protest and blocked Mercier Bridge.
The SQ officers were armed with guns, gas masks, concoction grenades and tear gas. They first used tear gas and concussion grenades on women and children. Then came the shots from riffles. Bullets were flying and hissing. Women were disoriented and threw themselves over children to protect them. Some men had hunting rifles and shot back. When the bullets stopped one police officer was found dead, Corporal Marcel Lemay. Many women and children suffer from lung problems: water on the lungs, COPD or other breathing disorders. Mainstream media is silent!
It is important to note that the United Nations bans the use of concussion grenades and tear gas in times of war, because the combination is lethal and disorients the enemy. Yet, by changing one element police all over the Americas use it on First Nation or Black people to disorient protesters and then they can shoot or water hoses them. No outraged is heard. Why?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is another consequence of the raffle of bullets. Women who felt bullet hissing near their ears experience fear when hearing balloons pop or a car backfire. Their reaction was to throw themselves and the person next to them push them to the floor. No one seems to care about the mental and physical health of First Nation. They (journalists) still concentrate of the sensationalism by making themselves heroes by using lies and they never speak of the consequences of the raid on Mohawks. Liars are cowards not heroes!
Bad reporting has resulted in a division and unfounded fears in non-native communities. Irresponsible journalists have caused misunderstandings based on lies. In order to cover-up the truth, they invented and created a false reality. They tried to frame First Nations stating they were armed with Uzi machine guns, they made links to organized crime such as the mafia. The real issue is buried under a mountain of lies, women and children were brutalized and aggressed. Mohawks did not declare war on Quebec however Quebec and Canada declared war on Mohawks.
The POW WOW was started in 1991, the following summer with the purpose of healing. A true healing can only happen if and when truth is told and people start writing honestly. When the SQ STOPS playing cowboy and Indians! When governments STOP calling First Nation irresponsible and unable to lead themselves! Journalists STOP lying to justify systemic racism! Start telling the truth. START admitting we (Canadians) made mistakes. START doing something about it. START by respecting First Nations. START settling land claims.
A very wise First Nation woman told me in order to win, we need to have a clean heart. It cannot be done out of hatred or anger. We cannot fight because we will become like those we fight. A person must tell the truth admit mistakes and work towards a solution. The Oka raid was a mistake, it lead to a crisis. The force used by the SQ was abusive. In order for truth and reconciliation to happen non-Natives correct misinformation and disinformation. With an open hand of friendship we can reach peace and we can be friends.