In recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, Bashaw United Church will be showing Beans, a film directed by Mohawk-Canadian filmmaker Tracy Deer.
The movie portrays the 1990 Oka Crisis, as seen through the eyes of main character Tekehentahkhwa (nicknamed ‘Beans’), a young Mohawk girl caught between activism for Indigenous rights and typical adolescent struggles.
The church offers bi-weekly movie nights free of charge as a community service. This film, which was an official selection of the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, seemed like an appropriate choice for National Indigenous Peoples Day, said Rev. Robin King.
As the story is told from a Mohawk person’s perspective rather than a “white settler perspective,” the film tells shows a very different side to what what portrayed in the news at the time, said King.
“That’s not usually how we see things,” he said, adding portrayals are more often non-Indigenous people trying to speak for Indigenous people.
The “Oka Crisis” refers to a 78-day standoff between Mohawks and the Canadian military.
On July 11, 1990, Quebec provincial police moved in on a barricade erected by Mohawks to protest the planned expansion of a golf course on ancestral land in Oka, about 50 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
A provincial police officer was killed starting what would be called a siege that only ended when the expansion was cancelled and the barricades came down.
Three decades later the underlying land claims dispute remains unresolved.
– With files from the Canadian Press