The "Oka Crisis": A Digital Atlas of the 1990 Events at Kanehsatà:ke

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The “Oka Crisis” Digital Atlas is an educational tool that guides you and your students through six chapters of the 1990 Kanien’kehà:ka resistance and uprising at Kanehsatà:ke, also known as the “Oka Crisis.” The digital, interactive map locates the uprising’s events, and associated stories, photos, and videos, within the geography of the land, inextricable from the heart of the conflict. The atlas targets upper-level high school students (grades 11 and 12) and was created in 2015 by undergraduate student and JCURA scholar Aviva Lessard. 

Lesson Plans:


Between July 11 and September 26, 1990, the Kanien’kehà:ka resistance movement culminated to a months-long barricade, protest, and armed uprising at Kanehsatà:ke. Most Canadians know these highly publicized events as the “Oka Crisis.” The “crisis” was rooted in over 290 years of struggle with the colonial state over sacred land near the francophone town of Oka. The uprising was triggered by the town of Oka’s plans for a golf course expansion and condominium development on lands considered by the Kanien’kehà:ka as sacred and stolen by the colonial state. The impact of the highly publicized events at Kanehsatà:ke resonated across Canada and became a driving force behind policy change and Indigenous visibility.


The objective of the "Oka Crisis" digital atlas is to provide teachers and students with a user-friendly, interactive resource to supplement their current curriculum and counter the collective "forgetting" and unfounded stereotypes and narratives that surround the Kanien’kehà:ka resistance and uprising. The digital atlas draws from published sources and interview data and uses Google's MyMaps to locate the events, stories and voices of the resistance in place.

How to Use this Map

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Gabriel-Doxtater, B. K., & Kawanatatie, V. D. (1995). At the woods' edge: An anthology of the history of the people of Kanehsatà:ke. Kanesatake, Québec: Kanesatake Education Center.

MacLaine, C., Baxendale, M. S., & Galbraith, R. (1990). This land is our land: The Mohawk revolt at Oka. Montréal: Optimum.

McCall, S. (2011). First person plural: Aboriginal storytelling and the ethics of collaborative authorship. Vancouver: UBC Press. Swain, H. (2010). Oka: A Political Crisis and its legacy. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre.


Bonspille-Boileau, S. (Director). (2015). The Oka Legacy [Motion picture]. Canada: Rezolution Pictures.

Obomsawin, A. (Director). (1993) 270 years of resistance [Motion picture]. Canada: National Film Board of Canada.

Obomsawin, A. (Director). (2000). Rocks at Whiskey Trench [Motion picture]. Canada: National Film Board of Canada.


HAUDENOSAUNEE - MOHAWK - ONEIDA - ONONDAGA - CAYUGA - SENECA - TUSCARORA- Kahnawake Branch Of The Mohawk Nation Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2015, from

The Oka Legacy: Oka Timeline: An Unresolved Land Claim Hundreds of Years in the Making - Firsthand - CBC-TV. (2015, November 19). Retrieved February 22, 2016, from

Pindera, L., & Jardin, L. (2015). Oka Crisis: 78 days of civil unrest Multimedia. Retrieved February 12, 2016, from

The Story. (n.d.). Retrieved June 29, 2021 from

Zig Zag. (2014, June 11). Oka Crisis, 1990. Retrieved February 29, 2016, from