A landmark provincial inquiry was established on 12 November to look into the factors leading to the confrontation between protestors and police and ways to prevent excessive use of force in the future. These include their relationship with justice and policing systems, and shortcomings in the protection of land, resource, and treaty rights. The Inquiry report also called on the Province to Carry out an independent assessment to determine how effectively the Framework has been adopted into OPP procedures and organizational culture. Almost a decade has passed since the release of the Inquiry report. Nor has there been an independent assessment of how well the OPP is living up to its own policy framework.
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The underlying cause of the crisis was the appropriation of the Stoney Point Reserve in by the federal government for use as a military camp. After repeated requests for the land to be returned, members of the Stony Point First Nation occupied the camp in and in On 4 September protesters also occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park nearby.
Tension between the protesters and the OPP increased, resulting in a confrontation on 6 September during which Dudley George, an Ojibwa protestor, was killed. The reserve had already surrendered acres—including all its shoreline—to developers in , under considerable pressure from the Department of Indian Affairs ; part of this land was bought by the Ontario government in to create Ipperwash Provincial Park.
When the federal government asked the Stony Point First Nation in to surrender the remaining reserve land for use as a military training camp, they refused. Despite promises that the relocation would be temporary, the reserve remained a military camp into the s. Moreover, neither the provincial nor the federal government honoured promises that they would protect the Stony Point burial grounds and gravesites.
Occupation and Confrontation at Ipperwash In May , a group of Stony Point members peacefully occupied part of Camp Ipperwash the military training camp , in order to assert their claim to the land and to prompt negotiations with the federal government. The Ontario Provincial Police OPP deployed uniformed and undercover officers to the area, including Ipperwash Provincial Park, as there were clear indications that the protesters intended to occupy the park as well.
On Monday, 4 September , a group of Indigenous men, women, and teenage boys entered the park. While the stated intent of the OPP was to peacefully manage the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park, the heavy police presence including the use of helicopters and boats for surveillance purposes heightened tensions. Unverified reports of protestors firing guns on 5 September , and the use of rifles by the OPP contributed to increasing anxiety and tension among all parties.
Local politicians further inflamed the situation, maintaining that the surrounding communities were terrified, and that the premier wanted a quick end to the occupation. Conflicting accounts of an altercation involving Indigenous protesters and unverified reports of firearms in the park led the OPP to believe that the occupiers had become violent. The police, wearing protective gear and carrying weapons, advanced on the protesters to force them back into the park.
The Indigenous protesters, frightened by the appearance of so many armed police, became anxious and eventually angry, which further increased the tension and confusion. When one protester advanced toward the police, they responded by running to meet him; about 15 occupiers rushed to his support and several physical confrontations took place.
Deane was convicted of criminal negligence causing death on 28 April he died in a car accident before he could testify at the later inquiry. Ipperwash Inquiry Despite the tragic death of Dudley George, there was no official investigation into the events of 6 September under the government of Ontario Premier Mike Harris.
It appeared that several members of the OPP team were either largely ignorant of Indigenous history and the issues around the protest or held racist views about Indigenous people in general. Justice Linden found that Harris had likely made the statement, but that it had little effect on the actual events at Ipperwash. The inquiry also found that Harris and the Ontario government had placed narrow limits on those responding to the situation, by maintaining that the occupation was illegal, and that there would be no third-party mediators and no negotiations.
The OPP was criticized for failing to educate their officers regarding Indigenous rights and issues, and for neglecting to use appropriate mediators or negotiators; the inquiry also revealed problems with communication, and with the system of intelligence gathering, analysis, and transmission. The federal government, which had not been involved during the crisis, and which had failed to return the land to the Stony Point First Nation in the first place, was also blamed for its part in the tragic outcome.
Justice Linden recommended a number of specific measures, including the immediate return of the army camp to the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation along with a complete environmental clean-up by the federal government , monetary compensation, and a public apology from the federal government for its failure to return the land as promised.
Other recommendations included 1 establishment of an independent body, the Treaty Commission of Ontario, to oversee land claims settlements; 2 increased public education about treaties and land claims; 3 creation of a provincial Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs; 4 creation of a formal consultation committee involving the OPP and Indigenous organizations; 5 ongoing training and education of OPP leaders in terms of Indigenous history, customs, and rights; 6 greater transparency and clarity regarding the relationship between police and government; and 7 involvement of the federal government in any Indigenous occupations or protests, particularly those involving land claims.
Aftermath Shortly after the inquiry report was officially released in May , the Ontario government established a Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. In , the Ontario government announced that it would transfer the land to the federal government, which alone has the power to add it to the reserve. Negotiations around the return of Camp Ipperwash continued between the federal government and the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation until Complicating negotiations were concerns about environmental contamination, potential unexploded ordnance, and the presence of certain wildlife species considered to be at risk.
Although the deal was ratified by the First Nation, some Stony Point members opposed it as they did not believe that Kettle Point members should receive compensation. Several protestors demonstrated against the deal on 20 September ; Perry Pierre George, brother of Dudley George, was accidentally burned during the protest. More recently, anthropologist and university professor Edward J. In , Mohawk and Tuscarora playwright Falen Johnson wrote Ipperwash, a play based on the events leading up to the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park in Hedican, Edward J.
Southam, Tim. One Dead Indian film,
The underlying cause of the crisis was the appropriation of the Stoney Point Reserve in by the federal government for use as a military camp. After repeated requests for the land to be returned, members of the Stony Point First Nation occupied the camp in and in On 4 September protesters also occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park nearby. Tension between the protesters and the OPP increased, resulting in a confrontation on 6 September during which Dudley George, an Ojibwa protestor, was killed. The reserve had already surrendered acres—including all its shoreline—to developers in , under considerable pressure from the Department of Indian Affairs ; part of this land was bought by the Ontario government in to create Ipperwash Provincial Park. When the federal government asked the Stony Point First Nation in to surrender the remaining reserve land for use as a military training camp, they refused.
Learn how and when to remove this template message On Wednesday, the OPP became concerned about a group of protesters who had wandered outside the Park and into the Sandy Park lot area adjacent to the cottages. The group were allegedly carrying bats and sticks in their hands. The number of protesters has been debated, although police reports indicate a group of up to 8. A rumour started that the protesters smashed up the vehicle of a female driver with baseball bats, a report that was later found by Justice Sidney Linden to be false and misleading.