Red Cross Dossard

Date / Period
Object Type
Textiles and Uniforms
Canadian Red Cross
Supporting Indigenous Communities

The 1990 Oka Crisis began as a dispute over land near the Mohawk community of Kanesatake and the village of Oka outside Montreal. The dispute came to a head when Indigenous protestors blockaded a road to prevent development on the disputed land. This led to a confrontation with Quebec provincial police on July 11 in which one police officer was shot and killed. 

In the aftermath of this incident a standoff emerged between Mohawk warriors and Quebec police, each with their own barricade. In late August, the Canadian military took over responsibility for security and communications with those inside the blockade. Within a week a barricade near the Mohawk community of Kahnawake was lifted after negotiations, but it took another month to agree to bring the one at Oka down, on 29 September. The crisis ended without further loss of life or serious injury. 

When the Canadian Red Cross was invited to help, aid workers and volunteers responded wearing dossards like this one. Days after the crisis began on July 11, Red Cross workers entered the besieged community with food and medical supplies. The Canadian Red Cross kept up its work at Oka through September, as tensions eased and a resolution was reached.

Red Cross Dossard

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