In 1990 a developer was permitted to expand a golf course and build condominiums in Montreal. Straightforward enough on the surface, but the land they wanted to build on was the ancestral land of the Mohawk people of that region. They had been attempting to make a land claim there for years, but with that claim not being in place at the time, they were not even consulted, nor would the municipal government even speak to them about it.
I am sure I am missing all the nuance and detail of this story, but the result of this was a 78-day standoff between the Mohawk people and the government that resulted in one death and over 100 wounded, mainly on the Mohawk side. This is the Oka Crisis.
It is a truly Canadian story and a black mark on our record of dealing with First Nations peoples, which is mostly just a series of black marks. This is the story of Beans, the new coming of age film by Tracey Deer.Continue reading “VIFF Review: Beans is a coming of age story set against a horrible, true, Canadian backdrop of violence”