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The Mohawk Council of Kanesatake (MCK) says the town of Oka’s recent attempt to designate the Pines – the site at the heart of the 1990 crisis – as a municipal heritage site is “a disguise to dispossess the Mohawks of their land governance.”
According to Kanien’keha:ka, or Mohawk, oral history, the trees were planted hundreds of years ago.
Their neighbours, however, believe the Pines straddle the territory today known as Oka.
After an initial attempt to designate the Pines a provincial heritage site some weeks ago was struck down by the Mohawks of Kanesatake, Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillion began holding public consultations last week over a new proposed by-law that would see the greenspace designated instead as a municipal heritage site under Quebec’s “Cultural and Heritage Act.”
“It’s absolutely mind-boggling how [the Mayor] thinks he’s going to get away with this,” Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon said in an interview with APTN News.