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LGM Film Club, Part 73: You Are On Indian Land

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In 1969, the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne blockaded the bridge crossing between the U.S. and Canada in protest of Canada’s violation of the Jay Treaty of 1794, which guaranteed Indian land and the right of them to cross the international border. Of course, this was ignored by whites on both sides of the border. With Canada building a bridge that stole some of their remaining land and then also charging them a toll to cross the river, which they did all the time because the tribe has members on both sides, finally they engaged in a direct action protest. The National Film Board of Canada sent a crew made up of Native filmmakers out to film it and this is what came out of it. The director is the Mohawk filmmaker Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell, who was also a major lacrosse star in the tribe and has since held leadership positions. Eventually, the Mohawk won part of this fight and are able to travel across the border freely and without charge.

This is a fascinating and important document in the nascent Native rights movement sweeping North America at this time.

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