Ronald Cross – Member of the Mohawk Warrior Society
In 1990 the Mayor of Oka wanted to expand a golf course onto a Mohawk burial ground.
The Mohawks of Kanehsatake erected a barricade.
In July, Quebec provincial police raided the barricades; gunshots were fired and an officer died.
The Canadian Army was called in resulting in a 78-day armed standoff.
Ronald Cross, one of the masked warriors was photographed staring down an army officer.
The image became iconic as one of the lowest points in the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada.
When the standoff ended in September, Cross was arrested, handcuffed and beaten by police.
Later the Quebec Police Ethics Committee would call police actions “excessive, humiliating and degrading”.
In 1992, Cross was sentenced to six years in prison for his actions defending the land.
Cross was released in August, 1999 but shortly after died of a heart attack, at age 41.
The events at so impacted First Nations politically and psychologically that the ten-year period following is known as the post-Oka era.
The emotions and resentment are visibly expressed in First Nations art and literature.