|RON CROSS DIED 5 YEARS AGO – VETERAN OF 1990 MOHAWK CRISIS AT OKAMNN. Dec. 12, 2004. At 11:00 p.m. on Nov. 1st Lasagna Ron Cross, 41 years of age, died of heart failure. He was the Mohawk Warrior made famous during the Oka Crisis of 1990. He was seen daily on the media standing up to the Quebec Provincial Police and the Canadian Army in defense of Mohawk land and sovereignty. He left an imprint in everybody’s mind: a hero to some and a villain to others.
Canada and Quebec wanted to pacify his irrepressible spirit, his bravado. But he remained true to himself. His spirit was an example to others in their own struggles. Had he caved in, it would have discouraged others. Although he did not intend it, someone always stands out in such a crisis. He was it.
It was Wednesday, September 26, 1990. The siege had lasted 78 days. Lasagna was one of 52 men, women and children and 10 journalists who marched out of the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centre at Oka Quebec. It was one of the gravest political confrontations in modern Canadian history.
The Army, the police and the media had targeted Lasagna. The Canadian soldiers were jealous of him. The police wanted his blood. Canada and Quebec wanted him to pay for the Mohawks upsetting them. For a moment he wanted to stay behind and “look after himself”, but the others talked him out of it. Together they walked out of the Centre to freedom, singing their Mohawk victory song. As soon as they crossed over the stretcher that had been placed on the razor wire, several soldiers grabbed Lasagna and began to kick, punch and beat him with their fists, army boots and guns. He was beaten several times by the SQ. Later he brought charges against four Quebec police. They had dressed up in army clothes. He won the case. Amnesty International condemned this beating worldwide. Many believe that this vicious beating caused so much internal injuries that it contributed to his early death.
Lasagna’s trial came up in St. Jerome Quebec in September 1991. It lasted almost a year. Joining him as defendants were two other warriors, Gordon ‘Noriega’ Lazore and Roger ‘20-20’ Lazore. The proceedings of the trial were published in a book “Mohawk Warriors Three” by Kahentinetha Horn. Also, he won a Supreme Court of Canada decision to have his trial in English rather than French.
It is a significant trial. The three warriors did not recognize the jurisdiction of the white man’s court and remained silent throughout. They said nothing from the beginning, throughout the trial and afterwards. They did not put in a defense. They allowed the jury to decide their fate.
In the end only Lasagna served a prison sentence. The only charge that stood was his involvement in the beating of Mohawk informant to the police, Francis Jacobs. He was released from prison two months prior to his death. At the construction site on the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, he felt ill and decided to sit in his car. His friends checked on him twice, the second time he was found dead. He is survived by his wife, Nadine, four sons and grandchildren. Since the 1990 crisis the following men who were in the compound with him have died: Thomas “the General” Paul, Leroy “Splinter” Gabriel, Todd Diabo, Joe “Stone Carver” David, and “Mad Jap”.
On November 3rd, 1999, Lasagna Ron Cross was laid to rest in the graveyard of Long House 207 at Kahnawake Mohawk Territory ( Quebec Canada ).
To read about the trial: