You Are on Indian Land

by May 23, 2009

You Are on Indian Land was one of the first films in Canada to give voice to the concerns of Indigenous People.

Produced in 1969, the film documents a protest that was led by Mohawks from the Haudenosaunee community of Akwesasne on December 20, 1968.

At the time, community members were being forced to pay duty on purchases they made in the United States, despite the fact that the Jay Treaty of 1794, also known as the "Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation", affirmed that they were not required to do so.

The issue surrounding the Treaty has yet to be resolved, as a protest earlier this month reminds us.

The recent protestwas quite different from the one that took place 40 years ago. In '68 members from the community blocked off the bridge linking Canada to the United states, which literally cuts through Akwesasne. Confrontation ensued.

"While the news media focused on altercations with the police", says Albert Ohayonas on the NFB website, filmmaker Mort Ransen took a decidedly different approach. "Ransen showed what led to these altercations and let the Mohawks of the Reserve speak for themselves and tell their own story."

  • May 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Lots more videos can be found at


  • May 28, 2009 at 8:16 am

    We are still not getting direct answers from those with authority.When will they learn?
    Twenty one years after this video was made Oka happened. When will they learn
    Bless the Grandmothers, Grandfathers, women and men and bless the children there that cold day standing up for our rights.
    As the children said, One, Two, Three, Four........ Turn around and go AWAY!


  • Dolores Smith
    May 28, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    please go to cdf1..very important.they are trying to say it is a racist site.they are lying.I am aboriginal .it is my can google the site.please help


  • Tammy
    May 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Look's as if some things have never changed, and we are still fighting and standing up for what we know is right.


  • Alicia
    May 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    This is video makes me proud of the Akwesasne people, being that I lived in the next town over my whole life but spent much time on the reservation I am very aware of the wrong-doings by the government I am sad to call my own. Being white does not change that I feel the pain of the Akwesasne people and pray that their voices will be heard


  • June 2, 2009 at 6:47 am

    “So what’s an Indian tribe? Indian tribes are signatories to treaties. Treaties are signed by sovereign nations. So what’s an Indian tribe? An Indian tribe is a sovereign nation, a government.”


  • K Fox
    June 2, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I have been online since this morning, and I would just like to say thank you to Alicia. It was so nice to see a non-native stand up for what is right, and have an educated opinion in these matters. Too many times, I read the opinions of Canadians online and although it makes my blood boil with anger and disappointment, for the most part, I feel sorry for these people who are so uneducated and ignorant to the country they have come to call 'home'.


  • June 2, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I'll second that, K. It's uncanny how many hateful and racist comments get posted on sites like the CBC and the National Post. And how so many of those commenters think that, just because they have a thought, it's the absolute truth. lol.

    It would be a bit depressing and stressful, but it would be good to have a group of people dedicated to dealing with all of that. Especially now that Canada is more and more becoming a breeding ground for fascism.


  • PragashPio
    June 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    It is always sad to see the oppression the First Nations of this land face; but it is also a sign of hope to all indigenous peoples that the First Nations have managed to maintain resistance in the face of such overwhelming oppression all these years.


  • David
    June 13, 2009 at 2:14 am

    I offer my prayers for all First Nations,4-legged,animals that swim,fly etc.


  • Dolores Smith
    June 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm



  • Jeffery
    November 8, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    i feel for everyone in these disheartened times no one knows where to turn no one has the answers and the world lies in caos
    turning to so many different points but never a solution whens the world gona lern starvation hunger hatred racism war will always be there as long as there is greed and power to be obtained by the culling of the the other wile lands dwindle and countries divide how did we all loose our way into the dark so far from what we all once were or could be again will the beauty of the world fade to black or will we fight back from the shadows to once again see the light
    humanity needs to choose and choose soon not later waiting and waiting and waiting
    but what are we all wating for if i was in youre position i guess id have to say youre nation has always been independent with the right way of thinking you can still become selfsufficent far beyond what governemnts think you can you still have some sepratism left available where some laws are different for you id be building the nation you sould of become get the groups together again become powerfull again be strong on youre feet make youre police departments etc build youre internal power to be something to awwed and rivaled onced again


  • lynda jamieson
    January 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    i am a person married to a 6 nations native american. he has been working in the us. since 2000. we are now running into problems in the state of florida and the us government not wanting to honor the jay treaty. they have refused to give him disability for dementia at social security. he cannot even get any kind of work because of not having a green card which he does not need. we are currently trying to get a us senator to help us in these matters. if you know of anything else we can do please contact me. my husband cannot defend himself at this point. we cannot afford his medication and we cannot get anyone to help us. the jay treaty is supposed to protect his rights. i truly need help from the native community to help my husband and any other natives in a similar situation. please contact me if you know of a way.


    • January 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Lynda. I'm not too familiar with Florida politics, but I understand the Treaty denial well enough. When it's in their own best interests they acknowledge it, but any other time it's just a bunch of "meaningless" words. I will and find some options for you and your husband. Can you tell me, though: which community he's from?

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