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Aug. 03, 2015
This summer marks a quarter century since the Oka crisis, with its Mohawk blockades, violence and military standoffs.
Recently, a familiar actor from the events of 1990 returned to active politics. Joe Norton, the Grand Chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake during the crisis, came out of retirement and was elected chief again on June 20. And now he is enmeshed in another conflict.
Chief Norton is vowing to uphold the so-called “marry out, get out” policy that has been a staple of Kahnawake band politics since the early 1980s, when he first became chief.
Under the inconsistently applied policy, non-natives aren’t allowed to live on the reserve on Montreal’s south shore, even if they are married to a band member. The issue has flared up and died down again a number of times, but it is back on the front-burner after a native woman, her son and her husband were forced from their home in May by aggressive protesters.