Kanesatake leaders angry that Oka plans to do archaeological dig, saying town lacks proper permits
OKA, QUE. -- Tensions are growing again between the town of Oka and the neighbouring Mohawk territory of Kanesatake, with an archaeological dig at the centre of the problem.
Oka plans to start digging at the site of its old recreation building in five days.
It wants to build a new recreation centre and says it’s eligible for government grants, but it says it’s obliged to do some archaeological digs first, said Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon.
People from Kanesatake say the land they’re talking about is home to ancient Indigenous burial sites. The town doesn’t have a permit to dig in this way, not did it inform Kanesatake, said Mohawk activist Ellen Gabriel.
Quevillon laughed off the concern, saying that professionals will handle the search and they’ll notify the local Indigenous communities if they find anything.
Gabriel said that wasn’t enough for her.
“I call on the federal and provincial governments to intervene, because this is not reconciliation,” she said.
Mohawks from Kanesatake have said they plan to prevent the digging on June 30, when it’s scheduled to begin.