|LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT CORPORAL LEMAY’S DEATH IN OKA IN 1990MNN. Sept. 18, 2006. In 1991, almost a year after the Mohawk Oka Crisis of 1990, a reporter from the independent Montreal newspaper, the Mirror, met with some warriors at the Mohawk Nation Office in Kahnawake. The story that was uncovered was about the crisis and the death of Surete du Quebec officer, Corporal Marcel Lemay.
The story began before the July 11th 1990 attack on the people of Kanehsatake/Oka by the SQ. In early 1990 there had been a so-called “civil war” between the Warriors and anti’s in Akwesasne. The anti-warrior faction were supported by the US and Canadian governments. Two men were murdered during this conflict.
Internal Affairs of the SQ had launched an investigation into illegal sales of weapons to the anti’s without proper permits by certain gun store owners, in particular, a shop in Valleyfield, Quebec, west of Montreal. Weapons that had been used in shooting incidents throughout Mohawk community of Akwesasne, near Cornwall, had contributed to the deaths of these two men.
It appears that the SQ had given the Akwesasne Tribal Police a check to buy guns. They went to Valleyfield with leading figures of the anti-warrior movement. Instead of cashing it beforehand, they gave the store owner the SQ check to pay for the guns. Several days later the two men were shot and killed.
Internal Affairs uncovered information about the financing and supply of weapons to the anti-warrior factions in Akwesasne. The ultimate goal was to destroy as many of the warrior society members as they could.
The guns appeared to have come from SQ sources. The officer in charge of the internal investigation was none other than Corporal Marcel Lemay. He had gone to the gun store in Valleyfield and was shown the books, which indicated that an SQ check had paid for the guns. Lemay was ready to make his finding known.
One the morning of July 11th, 1990, three of the four SWAT units in the Montreal district were assigned to the Oka region. They were to launch an assault on the Mohawks in the Pines of Kanehsatake. To this day there is still a mystery as to who issued this order. Nobody knows or whoever does know isn’t saying.
Corporal Lemay had been assigned to investigate the conduct of police personnel and was not required to participate in such raids. He was working behind the desk. Yet on this day he had been ordered to suit up with a bullet proof vest, helmet and M-16. He was ordered to take part in launching a military style attack on some Mohawk men, women and children. Minutes after the assault on the Pines, Lemay lay dead on the field of battle.
A bullet had entered his left side just below his arm pit between the unprotected area of the vest and his body. Lemay never got beyond Mohawk lines and never had any warriors behind or beside him. The warriors had retreated back into the woods for better defensive positions. The SQ had attempted to attack from the front and from the side in order to catch warriors in a crossfire situation. This maneuver is referred to as a “flanking maneuver”.
Lemay was on the main front assault line. He was instantly killed at the beginning of the operation. The reporter questioned the SQ’s investigation into Lemay’s death. Normally when an officer is killed in the line of duty, someone must pay the price. The SQ treated the death as a civilian casualty.
Immediately following the attack Internal Affairs descended on the home of Lemay and seized all his investigative documents. Mrs. Lemay was suspicious of the SQ’s actions. She said on the media, “I don’t hold the Mohawks responsible for the death of my husband”.
The reporter concluded that the whole incident was a setup and a cover up. The assault on our people was the “final push” by the Quebec government along with Canada and the United States to choke the Mohawk people into submission. They wanted to criminalize us all. They were intent on destroying any type of economic independence that was functioning in our communities.
The reporter was discredited for his work and was reportedly threatened to “leave well enough alone”. Lemay’s discovery of SQ involvement in Akwesasne’s so-called “civil war” would have implicated the SQ top brass and brought down high government officials.