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Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance

Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
Canada, 1993 (documentary, 119 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Kanehsatake - 270 ans de résistance"
Kanehsatake 270 Years of
Photo © National Film Board of Canada
Video (National Film Board of Canada) [French]
Video (National Film Board of Canada)

Film Description:
"On a hot July day in 1990, an historic confrontation propelled Native issues in Kanehsatake and the village of Oka, Québec, into the international spotlight and into the Canadian conscience. Director Alanis Obomsawin endured 78 nerve-wracking days and nights filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Québec police and the Canadian army. A powerful feature-documentary emerges that takes you right into the action of an age-old aboriginal struggle. The result is a portrait of the people behind the barricades, providing insight into the Mohawks' unyielding determination to protect their land."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Alanis Obomsawin
Produced by: Wolf Koenig, Alanis Obomsawin, Colin Neale
Narrator: Alanis Obomsawin
Film Editing: Yurij Luhovy
Music: Claude Vendette, Francis Grandmont
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada

Award won by Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance

Quote by the Director [in French]

"Ce conflit a été tellement incompris. Ce que je voulais, c'est qu'on comprenne pourquoi c'est arrivé, qu'on comprenne le sentiment de ces gens-là qui ont eu le courage de faire cette résistance. Cela ne date pas du 11 juillet 1990, cela vient de plusieurs générations. Il faut connaître l'histoire."
-- Alanis Obomsawin (source)

Quotes about Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance

"Québec's ambiguous historical situation as both colonizer and colonized evidently informs popular opinion and the response of the local cultural press to what was described as [Alanis] Obomsawin's biased point of view [in Kanehsatake - 270 ans de résistance], especially when she was perceived as representing Québec on the 'wrong' side of the colonial power struggle."
-- Bruno Cornellier (source)

"[Alanis] Obomsawin's film [Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance], as part of its undoing of the cultural construction of Mohawk warriors as terrorists, asks the white Western viewer to identify with the gaze of the Mohawk Other that reads colonialism as white state-sponsored terrorism."
-- Christopher E. Gittings (source)

"When the film [Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance] was released in 1993, the CBC continued its long-standing neglect of [Alanis] Obomsawin's work, in this case [So Where's My Prince Already?] arguing that she needed to slice thirty minutes from the two-hour film to make room for commercial breaks. [..] Colin Neale, the executive producer who worked with Obomsawin on the film, rebuffed the network's demand. [...] Eventually, public interest in Kahnesatake overpowered the CBC's bureaucratic reluctance, and the network aired it on January 31, 1994."
-- Randolph Lewis (source)

"It is clear that without [Alanis] Obomsawin's 1993 film [Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance], the history of Oka circa 1990 would be dominated by [Prime Minister Brian] Mulroney's assertion, reproduced in the documentary, that the armed Mohawks were criminals and illegally wielding weapons."
-- Brian McIlroy (source)

"[Kanahsatake: 270 Years of Resistance] provides an uncompromising and partisan perspective of what happened around the Oka golf course to open up a space from which Mohawk historical narratives can be re-articulated and Native struggles for self-determination can be legitimized."
-- Zuzana Pick (source)

Quote about Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance [in French]

"Si la crédibilité menace tant ce film, qui a cru que la transformation de l'actualité en fantasme de vérité est de l'information, c'est que la réalisatrice n'a pas su faire image. Faire du cinéma. Mais seulement de la télévision pauvre et tiers-mondiste, c'est-à-dire propagandiste-pédagogique selon la phraséologie militante."
-- André Roy (source)

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