May 20, 1997
Southam Newspapers MONTREAL - After exhausting every avenue of appeal, a resigned Ronald (Lasagna) Cross, the Mohawk warrior who became famous during the long, hot Oka crisis of 1990, turned himself into authorities Tuesday to serve the sentence meted out to him more than five years ago.
He had only the clothes on his back and two packages of cigarettes.
"I want to get it over with and go on with my life," Cross said over a crackling cellular phone line en route to the provincial detention centre at Riviere des Prairies, from where he will be eventually transferred to a federal penitentiary.
"I didn't think it would come down to serving so much time," he continued. "It's hard to understand what the judge was thinking about when he said that I showed no remorse for crimes I committed. I can't show remorse over defending my people and my heritage," he said. "To me, it was a political action and will always be political."
Cross was arrested Sept. 25, 1990, as he and 49 other warriors abandoned the Kanesatake detoxification centre where they had been holed up for the last month of the 78-day standoff.
The standoff began July 11, 1990, when Surete du Quebec Corporal Marcal Lemay was shot and killed during a botched police raid on a barricade erected by Mohawks. They were attempting to halt the ill-planned expansion of the Oka municipal golf course on to a grove of pine trees the Mohawks claimed as their sacred ground.
In January 1992, a Quebec Superior Court jury found the oft-quoted Cross, who became famous for his willingness to speak out and a penchant for strutting by journalists with weapons hanging from his camouflage outfit, guilty of half of the 40 charges against him. The charges included aggravated assault, uttering death threats, mischief, possessing a weapon in the presence of Canadian Armed Forces soldiers and damaging two ambulances. (Montreal Gazette, May 21, 1997)