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The fourth film in Alanis Obomsawin's landmark series on the Oka crisis uses a single, shameful incident as a lens through which to examine the region's long history of prejudice and injustice against the Mohawk population.
Alanis Obomsawin's fourth film in her landmark series on the Oka crisis that began with Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance uses a single, shameful incident as a microcosmic example of Canada's perennially troubled relationship with its First Peoples. On August 28, 1990, a convoy of seventy-five cars carrying Mohawk mothers, children and elders left the Kahnawake reservation ahead of an incipient advance on the protest site by the Canadian army. Arriving at the other side of the Mercier Bridge, the convoy was attacked by an angry white mob that pelted the vehicles with rocks while police stood by. Searching for the source of this shockingly deep-seated animosity, Obomsawin delves further into the history of the region, including the systematic reduction of Mohawk lands and the Mohawks' relationship with the non-Native residents of Chateaugay and Montreal, as well as the police department. Disturbing and eye-opening, Rocks at Whiskey Trench offers a vivid reminder that the violence visited upon Canada's First Peoples derives as much from popular prejudice as governmental greed.