This is an Honour Song is a collection of narratives, poetry, and essays exploring the broad impact of the 1990 resistance at Kanehsatà:ke, otherwise known as the “Oka Crisis.” The book is written by leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, scholars, activists and traditional people, and is sung as an Honour Song celebrating the commitment, sacrifices, and achievements of the Kanien’kehaka individuals and communities involved.

Part of our Indigenous Collection.

There are many lessons that resulted from the events at Kanehsatà:ke and many of these lessons are reflected by the amazing authors in this book. Nia:wen to our “word warriors” for continuing the “wake up call.”

Beverley Jacobs, Kanien’kehaka, Bear Clan, Six Nations Grand River Territory

I am eternally grateful to Kiera and Leanne for their efforts in putting together this wonderful collection of articles, which record the sentiments and reactions of individuals about our actions during 1990. It will allow Kanehsatà:kehró:non to enjoy their messages for generations to come.

Ellen Gabriel, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), from Kanehsatà:ke, Turtle Clan

Subject Social Science/Ethnic Studies/ Native American Studies
Published April 2010
Price $19.95 CDN
Pages 200 pp (Paper)
Dimensions 5.5″ × 8.5″ × .5″
ISBN-10 1-894037-41-3
ISBN-13 978-1894037-41-9

Related Titles


  • Tyler McCreary, in Briarpatch Magazine writes:

    Leanne Simpson and Kiera Ladner’s new edited collection, This is an Honour Song, seeks to recognize the significance of the events at Kanehsatà:ke for Indigenous peoples, as well as for Canada. The collection does not focus on rehashing the details of events at the pines (a number of good books already exist in this regard), but explores the broader resonance and echoes of the Kanien’kehaka resistance.

  • Jorge Antonio Vallejos, in writes:

    Filled with soul grabbing poetry, academic and personal essays, beautiful artwork, a short story and a play, Simpson, Ladner, and their 33 co-writers — including well-known contributors such as Ellen Gabriel (who stood in the front lines at Oka), and respected writer and professor Patricia Montour — provide educational pieces about the events of the standoff. They also take a stance on paper by sharing new issues that have come since Oka, and how it influenced a new generation of activists who seek justice in similar battles in their own territories.

  • Stefan Christoff, in Hour writes:

    In remembering the Oka crisis in a deeper fashion than iconic images reprinted in mainstream journals, This Is an Honour Song goes beyond commemoration into offering insights into building a just tomorrow in the relations between indigenous peoples and Canada. It’s a future rooted in justice and equality, but only possible if there is a serious, revolutionary shift in the colonial relations that continue to define the mainstream of relations between indigenous nations and the structures of political and economic power in this country.

About the Editors

Leanne Simpson is a researcher, writer, and educator of Mississauga and Scottish ancestry. She is a member of the gidigaa bzhiw dodem and a citizen of the Nishnaabeg nation. Leanne holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba and is the past director of Indigenous Environmental Studies at Trent University.

Her research interests include Indigenist theory and methodology, Indigenous political cultures and traditional governance, Nishnaabeg women, Indigenous Knowledge, and Indigenous philosophies on land and the environment. Leanne currently teaches at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge at Athabasca University and has previously taught at Trent University, the University of Victoria, the University of Manitoba, and Tampere University in Finland.

Also by Leanne Simpson

Kiera L. Ladner is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Politics and Governance in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba. She received her PhD from Carleton University in 2001. Alongside Leanne Simpson, she held a position at Trent from 2000- 2002. She is a leading scholar in the field of Indigenous politics and is widely published in Canada, Australia, the United States and Mexico.


Daina Augaitis has been Chief Curator/Associate Director since 1996 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where she plays a leadership role in developing the exhibition and collection programs.

Rebecca Belmore was born in Ontario (Anishinabe) and works in a variety of media, including sculpture, installation, video, and performance. Currently living and working in Vancouver, Belmore has long been creating work about the plight of the disenfranchised and marginalized in society. In her poignant and dramatic performances, the artist’s own body becomes the site of historical, cultural, and political investigations as she explores self and community, boundaries between public and private, chaos, and linear narrative. The official representative for Canada at the 2005 Venice Biennale, Belmore’s work has been exhibited internationally since 1987 and can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Canada Council Art Bank. In 2004, Belmore received the prestigious VIVA award from the Jack and Doris Shadbolt foundation.

Judy Da Silva is Anishinabe from Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishinabe Territory (Grassy Narrows). She is a mother of five children and is one of the protectors of the land in her area. She works on many issues related to mother earth including environmental contamination studies, anti-mining workshops, water protection initiatives, and Anishinaabe cultural teachings/learning. Judy has been an active participant in the on-going blockades in her territory stopping clear-cut logging.

Richard J.F. Day is an anarchist activist and scholar based in Kingston, Ontario. He is Associate Professor of Sociology at Queen’s University, and is the author of two books: Multiculturalism and the History of Canadian Diversity (University of Toronto Press, 2000); and Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements (Pluto Press, Between The Lines, University of Michigan Press, 2005. Also in Italian, Greek, and Turkish translations). His current work focuses on relations between settlers and autonomy-seeking indigenous peoples in the Americas, with a particular interest in resonances between anarchism, indigenism, and feminism.

gkisedtanamoogk is Wampanoag and lives at Punawabsket-Wabanakik. He is married to Miigam’agan and has three children. As a practioner in ceremonial and experiential knowledge, he is also an Adjunct at the University of Maine having degrees in both political science and law. In 2000, he witnessed the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ siege of Burnt Church, and was alongside his Esgenoôpetitj family as they stood up in defense of their responsibilities as Mi’kmaq.

Sheila Gruner is an activist-educator who lives and works in Northern Ontario. She can be found teaching at Algoma University, working towards her PhD at OISE/UT or spending time in the Far North.

Greg A. Hill is a multidisciplinary artist primarily working in installation, performance and digital imaging. His work explores his Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk) and French-Canadian identity through the prism of colonialism, nationalism and concepts of place and community. Born and raised in Fort Erie, Ontario, Hill is a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation.

Al Hunter is a spoken word performer and the author of two books of poetry, Spirit Horses and the Recklessness of Love, both published by Kegedonce Press.

Robert Houle holds a BA degree in Art History from the University of Manitoba and a BEd in Art Education from McGill University. He is currently an instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design. An exhibitor in group and solo shows internationally since the 1970s, Houle has shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia; the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris; and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, amongst others. In Canada, he has shown work at the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto; the Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa; the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston; the Winnipeg Art Gallery and many more. Robert Houle was Curator of Indian Art at the National Museum of Man in Ottawa from 1977 to 1980. He was a visiting artist at Hood College, Maryland; Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania; the Heard Museum, Phoenix; the McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinberg; the Winnipeg Art Gallery; and the International Canada Council studio in Paris in 2009. His work is included in most major Canadian Museums and galleries, including the National Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario. He won the Visual Arts Prize during the 2001 Toronto Arts Awards.

Wab Kinew is a one-of-a-kind musical talent, becoming one of the artists “to watch for” from the Western Provinces. He is a hip-hop artist and CBC radio producer/host based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Wab exemplifies what it means to be multicultural in Canada today, holding both a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and training in the traditional Medicine ways of his Anishinaabe people.

Arthur Kroker is Canada Research Chair in Technology, Culture and Theory, Professor of Political Science, and the Director of the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture at the University of Victoria. One of his most recent projects is the monograph Born Again Ideology: Religion, Technology and Terrorism. His books include The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism, The Possessed Individual, and Technology and the Canadian Mind. With Marilouise Kroker he is the editor of Critical Digital Studies: A Reader as well as the international, scholarly review, CTheory

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She has been working as an advocate for Indigenous rights for the past nine years. She has worked with organizations like Redwire Media Society, Indigenous Media Arts Society and has also produced short documentaries, researched, and worked on topics ranging from the tar sands, inherent treaty rights, water issues to cultural appropriation. She has studied and worked in Australia, Brasil, Mexico, and Turtle Island focusing on Indigenous rights and culture, resource extraction and international diplomacy. Before joining Greenpeace as a tar sands climate & energy campaigner in Alberta, Melina was pursuing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University.

Damien Lee is a citizen of the Anishinabek Nation and grew up in Fort William First Nation. For the past ten years he has worked on environmental issues with Indigenous communities, locally, nationally and internationally. He is the founder of the Anishinabek Gitchi Gami Environmental Programs, the first citizen-led, community-focused environmental not-for-profit organization on a First Nation reserve in Canada. Damien is currently a student in Indigenous Studies at Trent University, where he is studying inherent Anishinabek forms of contention.

Neal McLeod’s first book of poetry,* Songs to Kill a Wîhtikow*, was nominated for several Saskatchewan book award including book of the year in 2005. In 2007 it was nominated for book of year at the Anskohk McNally Aboriginal Literature Awards, and won the poetry book of the year by unanimous decision of the jurors. He has published Cree Narrative Memory: From Treaties to Contemporary Times (Purich Press 2007). His most recent book of poetry, Gabriel’s Beach, was published by Hagios Press in 2008. His current research is exploring Indigenous conceptions of land and space. Neal is also a visual artist and has exhibited across Canada and Europe.

June McCue is a member of the Ned’u’ten People located along Lake Babine in northern British Columbia. Professor McCue graduated from the UBC Graduate Law Program in 1998. Professor McCue has been the Acting Director of First Nations Legal Studies since 1998 and joins the Faculty as an Assistant Professor and Director of First Nations Legal Studies on July 1, 2000. Professor McCue has directed the development of a First Nations Legal Studies Academic Plan and supervised the process to create the conceptual development for the Centre for International Indigenous Legal Studies. From 1999–2005, Professor McCue was the founding Chair of Environmental-Aboriginal Guardianship Through Law and Education (EAGLE). Professor McCue’s current efforts are focused on research, writing and teaching in the Indigenous law field.

Gerald McMaster has been the Curator of Canadian Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), since the fall of 2005. Before arriving in Toronto, Dr. McMaster worked at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian as Deputy Assistant Director for Cultural Resources, from 2000–02, and from 2002–04, he was the Director’s Special Assistant for Mall Exhibitions responsible for all the Museum’s permanent exhibitions. He co-edited The Native Universe: Voices of Indian America. In 2004, Dr. McMaster co-edited and co-curated First American Art: The Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker at the NMAI’s George Gustav Heye Center, in New York City; in 2005–06 he edited and curated New Tribe: New York; and in 2007 he co-curated Remix: Multiple Modernities in a Post-Indian World. From 1981–2000, Dr. McMaster was Curator at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, in charge of exhibitions, acquisitions, and publications of contemporary Indian art. From 1995–2000 he was made Curator-in-Charge of the First Peoples Hall. While with the CMC he curated many leading-edge exhibitions, including: In the Shadow of the Sun, Indigena, Edward Poitras Canada XLVI Biennale di Venezia, and Reservation X. His awards and recognitions include the 2005 National Aboriginal Achievement Award; the 2001 ICOM-Canada Prize for contributions to national and international museology; Canadian Commissioner to the world’s most prestigious exhibitions, the XLVI 1995 Venice Biennale; and recently he was given our country’s highest honour, Officer of the Order of Canada. Dr. McMaster is originally from Saskatchewan and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, and degrees from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and Carleton University.

Kate Monture was 16 years old at the time of her passing in August 2009. She is Mohawk from Grand River Territory and also has ties through her father to the Thunderchild First Nation (Cree) in Saskatchewan. Her passions were writing, dance and soccer.

Patricia A. Monture is a citizen of the Mohawk Nation, Grand River Territory. She was educated as a lawyer in Ontario and now teaches sociology at the University of Saskatchewan where she is academic coordinator of the Aboriginal Justice and Criminology program. Her activism focuses on securing justice for Aboriginal peoples. She is mother to Justin, Michael Blake, Kate and Jack. She has just co-edited her third book published by Inanna and titled, First Voices: An Aboriginal Women’s Reader.

Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinabe-kwe curator, writer and media artist from Beausoliel First Nation. She has curated exhibitions such as Chronotopic Village at Modern Fuel in Kingston, Rez-Erection at Artspace in Peterborough, post-Colonial Stress Disorder at WARC in Toronto. Her work examines relationships between western and Indigenous philosophies/theories around time, space, subjectivity, gender, humour and trauma.

Douglas Raymond Nepinak was Saulteaux Indian from the Pine Creek First Nation. He was a second generation residential school survivor. Doug spent six years in the Navy traveling the world (he was stationed in Germany for three years) before coming back to Winnipeg to get his B.A. Honors English from the University of Winnipeg. The summer of 1990 Doug was reporting for Weetamah, a small Aboriginal newspaper in Winnipeg and spent almost everyday at Peace Village. Profoundly affected and seeking understanding for the degree of violence and racial hatred that exploded so quickly over “just a golf course” Doug wrote Crisis in Oka, Manitoba. A self-proclaimed poet, playwright propagandist for the cause (inspired by the Oka Warriors, and Ellen Gabriel specifically) continued writing until his death August 13, 2005. He was a loving husband, and father to three beautiful children.

Shelley Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Mohawk, Turtle Clan. Niro was born in Niagara Falls, NY, 1954. She currently lives in Brantford, Ontario. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art with honours in visual arts. She received her MFA from the University of Western Ontario. In 2001, she became an Eiteljorg recipient at the Museum of Western and Indian Arts, Indiana, Indianapolis. She has participated in the Women in The Director’s Chair Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts, 2003. In the fall of 2006, Shelley was selected to be a fellow with Women in Film and GM Accelerator Grants. Niro has finished her feature film Kissed By Lightning. You can find works of art in the Museuem of Civilization, the National Gallery and the Indian Art Centre, Contemporary Photography Museum of Canada and the Portrait Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario. The Rockwell Museum, Corning New York, and the University of Seattle, Library.

Michael Orsini is Associate Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, where he specializes mainly in health policy and politics, and the role of the civil society in policy processes, including the role of Aboriginal peoples. He is the co-editor (with Miriam Smith) of Critical Policy Studies, UBC Press, 2007. Following his undergraduate degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, he worked as a reporter for the Montreal Gazette in the early 1990s.

Jacob Ostaman is from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), where he is the Director for Lands and Environment for the community. He is also an advisor to the KI Chief and Council with respect to lands and resources issues.

Jane Ash Poitras, RCA is an internationally acclaimed visual artist whose work has been showcased in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, and can be found in many prestigious public, private and commercial collections. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta with degrees in microbiology and printmaking, and has a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Sculpture from New York’s Columbia University. She is a longtime lecturer at the University of Alberta and a much-in-demand guest lecturer across North America and overseas. Respected for her generous support of Aboriginal and community causes, her numerous honors include the Alberta Centennial Medal, the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Arts and Culture and the University of Alberta Alumni Award of Excellence.

Thomas Ryan Red Corn, Wa.zha.zhe (Osage) holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Kansas in Visual Communications with an emphasis in Graphic Design. During his time at KU he produced multiple short films, was a two-time First Nations Student Association Co-president, and was awarded the Big XII Conference Native American Graduate Student of the Year Award for Leadership. Shortly after graduating, Ryan started freelancing his graphic design skills and making t-shirts, which quickly became Red Hand Media, Inc., and; entities that catered to and outfitted the activist and non-profit communities, both in Native America and on a global level. In 2007, he co-founded Buffalo Nickel Press and Distro, which acts as a printing and distribution hub for all of his business ventures. Buffalo Nickel doubled sales in its first two years in business and in 2008, Red Hand Media received American Indian Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year honors for the Tulsa Chapter. His client list includes the Native American Rights Fund, National Museum of the American Indian, United States Dept. of Defense, Osage Nation, Standing Rock Nation, Sauk & Fox Nation, Chickasaw Nation, National Congress of the American Indian, Lucky Star Casino, and Sony. Ryan is member of the Osage Nation, Tsi-zho Clan (Gentle Sky/Peacemaker). He currently sits on the presiding Wa.hxa.ko’lin districts drum keeper’s In.lon.shka committee. Ryan lives and operates his business from Osage Nation Territory, Pawhuska, Oklahoma. harmony Rice is a publisher, writer and multimedia artist who has been named to Chatelaine’s Top 80 influential Canadian women to Watch. harmony, a Pottawatomi woman from Wasauksing First Nation, was the Publisher of SPIRIT Magazine, an identity, arts and culture-based magazine that was distributed across Canada. Mother to a young daughter, harmony is an active cultural advocate and community builder and was raised as a jingle dress dancer, hand drum singer and ceremony girl in her community of Wasauksing. harmony was recently published in a motherhood anthology called Between Interruptions (Key Porter Books, 2007) and is the host of a television show called When the Music Speaks (APTN, SUN TV). She was named 2008 youth entrepreneur of the year by the Waubetek Business Development Corporation. Currently, her new venture, Roots & Rights Media, focuses on communications, creative production and education of various land and culture related issues in Canada.

Waubgeshig Rice is a broadcast journalist and writer currently based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He’s originally from Wasauksing First Nation, a beautiful Ojibway community on Georgian Bay in Ontario. He developed a passion for storytelling at a very young age, learning about his culture and traditions through stories the elders told. His journalism career began when he spent a year as an exchange student in Germany at 17. He sent stories about his experiences as an Ojibway kid in Europe to a local Ontario newspaper. He graduated from Ryerson University’s Journalism program in 2002, and has since been published in national newspapers and magazines. He currently works as a television reporter for CBC News. He cites growing up on the rez as his greatest learning experience.

Peter H. Russell is a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto where he is now Principal of Senior College. He has served as President of the Canadian Political Science Association, the Canadian Law and Society Associations and the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy. He chaired the Research Advisory Committee of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and was a member of the Research Advisory Committee for the Ipperwash Inquiry. He has published widely in the fields of Aboriginal, constitutional and judicial politics. His book, Recognizing Aboriginal Title: The Mabo Case and Indigenous Resistance to English Settler Colonialism, won the 2006 American Political Science Association’s C. Herman Pritchett Award.

Robinder Kaur Sehdev is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender Equality and Social Justice at Nipissing University. She holds a PhD in Communications and Culture from York University where she researched the involvement of popular cultural representational practices in the normalization of the myth of the innocent settler state. Her current work focuses on the politics of solidarity in decolonial action amongst Aboriginal and other racialized peoples.

Charlie Greg Sark is a cross-blood from the east coast of North America. His poetry is inspired by the persistence of colonial constructs in western society.

Paula Sherman is Omàmìwinini (Algonquin) and Family Head on the Ka-Pishkawandemin, the traditional council for Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. She has been actively involved in the resistance against uranium exploration and mining and she is the author of* Dishonour of the Crown: The Ontario Resource Regime in the Valley of the Kiji Sibi*, published by Arbeiter Ring Publishing. Paula holds a PhD from Trent University in Indigenous Studies where she is currently a tenured professor and Director of the PhD program.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, of the Mathais Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, is an activist for Indigenous rights and environmental justice. With his roots in the inner city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Clayton began his work as a community organizer, working with Aboriginal youth. Currently based out of Ottawa, Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement for Energy and Climate Justice. He serves as board chair of the Collective Heritage Institute (CHI), which hosts the annual Bioneers Conference in Marin, California. Recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States, Clayton is the tar sands campaign organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He is also a gifted poet and rap artist. Clayton is happily married and is a proud father of two sons.