The Oka Face Down


The Oka Crisis, a land dispute between the Mohawk nation and the town of Oka, Quebec in 1990, provided Canada with a series of most iconic photos in her history. It also resulted in three deaths, and would be the first of a number of violent conflicts between Indigenous people and the Canadian Government in the late 20th century.

The photo taken by Shaney Komulainen of Pte. Patrick Cloutier, a perimeter sentry standing his ground against the verbal abuse of Mohawk Warrior Brad Larocque, a University of Saskatchewan economics student was one of the most iconic Canadian pictures. Shaney noted, “I was only 27 years old. I was painting the walls in my new apartment when I heard what was happening.” She, along with many other journalists and photographers, quickly traveled to the area. She “snuck through the woods” to the disputed area at the Sacred Pines and “was faced with the hostile showdown between soldiers and natives.”

14 thoughts on “The Oka Face Down”

  1. We as native people in Canada must merge into society, ss all other people have done. To hand onto our culture is hanging onto our past. We cannot stay in the past forever for we will be forgotten in the future. Give up the reserves and merge into the Canadian society to become one with the Canadian people. Calling ourselves natives is a racial slur that shall end all racism.

  2. Indian = drunk, welfare, cigarettes, contraband, racism. Give up the segregation! An native person born into this world should have the same rights and not more than any other Canadian born on this same land on that same day. Anything outside of this is considered racism and shall be denounced by our people!

    1. fuck dat we deserve those rights , white man came to our land , stole it , slaughtered us for it , now polluting it , put us in resedential , losing our language now , blacks werent da only ones who had it shitty

  3. why should natives mix with the canadian? so you wnat to drop your culture, your values and mix in with the nonsensical and voidal culture that is Canadian’s dominant culture? that doesn’t make sense..I think what you should do is work hard and start seeing yourselves as people that can lead the country again. add to your culture, make sure everyone is educated while maintaining your values. Let the next generation see that they are great and they don’t have to suffer because of what happened years ago..

    1. What is your suggestion because shoveling money at it hasn t solved the problem. P.S. people today didn t steal anything. We are trying to understand how to fix it but all we see is alot of social strife.

  4. this is ridiculous, merging with the canadian society wouldn’t be that easy, the native people are stereotyped and would be rejected just like they were in the beginnning, hence the segregation. a prime example is the one set out in this article, the mowhak in this photo is protecting his land, a soldier is trying to take it, but ultimatley the soldier is being abused? I personally think the governement needs to keep its fingers off their land, they’ve taken enough of it already, to boot they wanted to take over ancient burial grounds! this makes me sick, it really does.

  5. All native people do is sell cigarettes (illegally) drive 4 wheelers, give away valuable resources (gas) for a small price, over populate, collect welfare and suck our society like a leech. Most Mohawks = Scum

  6. I’m native; I have 4 university degrees ( NOT the watered down crap; legit degrees that I worked hard for. Because I’m not a treaty indian, I had to pay for this myself). I’m humiliated that fellow natives do not take on the responsibilities of full adults and full citizens. Many natives have ample opportunity for fully funded educations, including university degrees. When will they realize that education is the key to getting power in a country. (Real education, not a watered down crap program that you pretend is a degree). Take advantage of the multitudes of opportunities that are provided to you! Stop whining and stop being soi fing DEPENDANT!

    1. Totally agree with you northern native. Education is the key to free all poor people. Look as U.S slavery when the slaves learned to read,they read the Bible then the law ,and realized it was unjust. We must work together but I m all for self Gov t but I think we took a proud independant people ,and made them slaves of welfare system. Self reliance will bring back the pride, free your mind your ass will follow.

  7. im native and why gig those white people come in our land why coudlent thay just leave us allone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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