Just watched this film for the course I’m TAing right now – my students are supposed to have a debate on the topic of Aboriginal land claims, and in particular about the Oka crisis in 1990. In case one of the assigned groups does not show up, I have to be ready to play devil’s advocate, in this case, argue against the Mohawk land claims or the methods they have used do defend them.
The film was quite disturbing, as it should have been, not only because the issue itself is disturbing, but also because I had to face yet again, how much the revolution and war in Ukraine in the past almost two years has changed my views on violence and violent (or potentially violent) civil resistance. It was interesting to see, that even the Canadian army guys and some officials, when commenting on camera, were calling the mohawks who were defending the land “warriors” – that is something that really kept them humanized in spice of some serious racial tensions and nastiness doing from some quebecois, and, I wondered, whether it was this humanization, that did keep all of them alive at the time, and eventually free, and relatively few of them seriously injured. Yes, they themselves mentioned a few times in the film, that it was war,- how different from, and at the same time, how similar to the meaning that “war” has for me now. I remember distinctly my post on Facebook when I said “this is war”, when the first lethal bullets were fired on the day when the first three protesters were killed in Ukraine. That time also, the meaning of “war” was still very different from what it became a few months later.
The yellow bulldozer at the very beginning of the film, of course had to remind me of one in Kyiv on Bankova. Acquired in a similar way, and used in a similar was as well.
Anyway, watch it yourself if you want. It’s been 25 years exactly.