After three centuries of chipping away at our community, it's a checkerboard. The federal government tried to address this after 1990, and because of that there are certain areas where Québécois are living amongst us. There are Mohawks living in what's known as Oka, which is also Kanehsatà:ke.
When the checkpoints went up to protect the community from, as I said, this free flow of people who didn't want to stay home and who were coming into our community, there was support at first from the mayor of Oka. That quickly changed to, "Well, we have to open up the economy."
This whole mindless economy first, that the economy comes before human rights, and before safety and well-being.... There were threats, as I mentioned. It was problematic.
Many of us feel very vulnerable in our community on a daily basis. This has sort of enhanced it because when something happens, we're hesitant to call the Sûreté du Québec because they're racist. Perhaps not all of them, but they're racist. Then, on top of that, we live in a separatist province that has these preconceived notions that we are public enemy number one and that whatever kind of violence is set upon us we must deserve. So these people come in with impunity, whether it's the SQ officer spitting on a person at the checkpoint or a doctor coming in and hitting one of the people at the checkpoint. This is being reported to whom else but the SQ. Who else do we have to report it to?
It's very difficult to maintain security at checkpoints when the people at the checkpoints are not even allowed to ask for ID to determine whether or not someone is an actual resident and can pass through the community. It's neglect. It's a community being vilified and we have racism surrounding us on a daily basis. On top of that we have all of the problems rooted in colonialism that have been happening since forever—three centuries—but that have been really made worse in the past 30 years since the siege.