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Last active Mar 6, 2018
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Oka and Guns


The Oka Crisis showed that an armed population can stand up to our Government and prevail. Whether or not you agree with the Mohawks, the fact remains that the golf course was not built and the conflict greatly reshaped how the Federal Government involves itself in native issues. Further reading.


I understand where you're coming from, but was the Oka crisis really that representative of what happens if an armed populace rose up? If it was the case presented it would have been put down pretty quickly as the military would have rolled over the territory.

If we were talking about the whole population I might disagree, but if there had been a "full blown uprising" the military could have put it down rather quickly. The iconic picture would never have happened as the indigenous man would have been gunned down long before staring down the soldier.


To be clear: shots were fired. There was a casualty, and many were wounded.

Much of the process of tactics is avoiding conflict altogether. Had the Mohawks actually gone so far as to fully engage the Canadian Military they would have been massacred; but they were wise to note that they could gain a stronger position by leveraging the Canadian Government's unwillingness to so grotesquely bloody itself.


Sure, but in the case of the post itself if the government wanted to put down the crisis they could have easily. If we view the natives as armed insurgents, both reasonable but also not practical in this case, we could have put them down with very few casualties.

The Oka Crisis had many prerequisites which the government had to consider. An armed uprising in another case would be a completely different situation. Consider if Goodale goes through with significant Firearms Act changes. If an armed militia turned up in Brooks to protest I would fully expect that they would be dealt with as terrorists and no legal changes would happen.


The Canadian Forces did attempt to put them down with few casualties; they used a water cannon. The Mohawks responded by mockingly chucking water balloons at them.

If an armed militia showed up in Brooks to protest then they'd be far overstepping any sensible approach to resolving their grievance favourably. The Mohawks were defending their traditional lands, which is somewhat different than a militia marching on Brooks. I daresay, it'd probably go about as well as the Bundy standoff.

A more apt comparison would be Waco or Ruby Ridge, which both ended in bloody messes; though neither could be characterized as any sort of armed uprising or rebellion. These conflicts have become a strong influence on the American political discourse; and consider that Oklahoma City was ostensibly an act of retaliation against the Government for those actions.

The lesson there, I think, is that not only is a bloody massacre bad for a State's image, but it can become a catalyst for greater bloodshed. Governments tend to prefer stability, and so creating this sort of cycle of bloodshed is undesirable. Not many are eager to recreate The Troubles (IRA) or another Gaza.


Waco and Ruby Ridge were both hugely influential in developing inter-governmental communication and overwatch which were sorely needed. I like to think that we are past those sort of incidents with the methods we have as of now.

I don't think an armed militia in Brooks would be too bad of a comparison as, if the government decided that those peoples' immediately previously legal property was deemed to be illegal, I could see people rise up to defend their previously rightful property. It would not be a militia marching on a city but an armed populace inside of a municipality.

Would the military start going door to door clearing homes? Would the canadian government change the laws to accommodate the people who did not wish to comply? I think neither. It would be a war of attrition that the people lose.


Sure, Governments do adapt. Oka was influential in no small part because it forever changed how the Canadian Government interacts with natives.

The thing with uprisings is that they aren't particularly effective if they don't carry meaningful support from a broader slice of the population. I'm hesitant to support the notion that firearms owners would spontaneously form militias across Canada and take up arms; many/most have seen firearms legislation change significantly in their lifetime, and may have had their firearms reclassified prohibited, and yet no uprising hitherto.

Oka, on the other hand, was such because if it had ended in a massacre the real risk was present that other bands across Canada would take umbrage to such an outcome and engage in disobedience of their own. If just a fraction of bands across Canada decided to take control of their territories and erect blockades then Canada's economy would come to a standstill, and there's not much the military could do to swiftly resolve such a situation without bloodying our nation from east to west.

I'd like to take a moment to note that it bewilders me that the modern progressive movement is so anti-firearm. At the turn of the 20th century there were battles between armed union workers and the American state; and we can trace Pride back to the Stonewall Riots, and BLM back to MOVE or Tulsa. Both have deeper roots, of course, but violence has always been a catalyzing force in progressive change.

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