Is the Crown at war with us?

In the summer of 2000, federal fishery officers appeared to wage war on the Mi'gmaq fishermen of Burnt Church, New Brunswick. Why would officials of the Canadian government attack citizens for exercising rights that had been affirmed by the highest court in the land? Alanis Obomsawin casts her nets into history to provide a context for the events on Miramichi Bay.

This film contains scenes of violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

From the playlist : The Aboriginal Voice: the National Film Board and Aboriginal Filmmaking through the Years

As the confrontation between Mi’gmaq fisherman in Burnt Church, New Brunswick and federal fishery officers comes to a head, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ boats violently ram and run over the much smaller boats of the Mi’gmaq fishers. Watching the footage, I’m reminded of the brutal scene during the Oka Crisis where the Kahnawake Mohawks are stoned as they cross the Mercier bridge [see Alanis Obomsawin’s Rocks at Whiskey Trench].

— Gil Cardinal

From the playlist : Alanis Obomsawin Retrospective

I was back in Restigouche because there was another stand taking place concerning logging issues (this led to the film Our Nationhood) when the raids occurred in Burnt Church. When I found out about what was going on there with the Mi'gmaq fishermen, I made this film.

There were three films on the Mi'gmaq people – Incident at Restigouche, Is the Crown at war with us and Our Nationhood.

— Alanis Obomsawin

Pedagogical evaluations and study guides are only available to CAMPUS subscribers.


Features designed specifically for teachers

Learn more   Already subscribed? Sign in.


original music composer
Francis Grandmont
Alanis Obomsawin
Alanis Obomsawin
Alison Burns
Philippe Amiguet
Yoan Cart
Michel La Veaux
location sound
Raymond Marcoux
Ismaël Cordeiro
sound editor
André Chaput
voice recording
Patrick Knup
Arthur Holden
Tony Robinow
Alanis Obomsawin
Alanis Obomsawin
animation camera
Pierre Landry
re-recording mixer
Serge Boivin
Jean Paul Vialard
Alanis Obomsawin
executive producer
Sally Bochner


  • rachelenns

    “I commend Alanis Obomsawin for making a powerful, educating documentary. This is a documentary that all Canadians need to watch, even though it is 12 years old. This exposes racism and struggles which the Mi’kmaq people still face today. We need to understand the past to change the future.” — rachelenns, 21 Feb 2014

  • KarinLisaAtkinson

    “I really appreciate this film. I hope there is a follow-up film as time moves onward. It is a very important historical document, which can be seen by the whole world. I think the actions of the government speak for themselves, meaning when is it acceptable in any country to hurt your citizens instead of dialogue - and dishonour treaties that have sustainable practices being implemented by the first people's who have lived on the land for centuries. ” — KarinLisaAtkinson, 15 Feb 2013

  • neural

    “would love to see a story about these issues with both sides' stories.” — neural, 14 Sep 2011

  • marydeborah

    “Yes, the Crown is at war with us. When did it truely end?” — marydeborah, 21 Oct 2010

Discuss this film Please sign in to add your comment
Not a member ? Click here