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Ipperwash Park returned to Kettle and Stony Point FNs

It’s been almost 19 years since the fateful night at Ipperwash Provincial Park, where a stand off occurred between heavily armed members of the Ontario Provincial Police against unarmed men, women and children of Kettle and Stony Point. And now, in a much anticipated and long-awaited process, the province of Ontario has officially signed over Aazhoodena also known as Ipperwash Provincial Park, giving the land back to the Chippewas of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.

It’s been almost 19 years since the fateful night at Ipperwash Provincial Park, where a stand off occurred between heavily armed members of the Ontario Provincial Police against unarmed men, women and children of Kettle and Stony Point. And now, in a much anticipated and long-awaited process, the province of Ontario has officially signed over Aazhoodena also known as Ipperwash Provincial Park, giving the land back to the Chippewas of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.

In 1942, the land was seized as part of the War Measures Act and was used as a federal military camp during the Second World War. The entire community was uprooted and moved to a different location. According to the Ipperwash Inquiry of 2006, “In 1942, a unique event occurred. An entire reserve appropriated for government purposes and that was the appropriation, under the War Measures Act, of Stoney Point Indian Reserve No. 43 for the purpose of establishing Camp Ipperwash for the Canadian Army. The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point had refused to surrender the reserve, so it was taken from them. The only consolation government offered to the First Nation was that, when World War II ended, the land would be returned. That, of course, did not happen.”

After over 60 years of fighting the provincial and federal governments, Ipperwash Provincial Park has officially been signed back over to the Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point. In 1942, the entire community was uprooted from their traditional lands and forced to move away after the federal government expropriated the land under the War Measures Act. Promises to return the land after the war proved false and during a standoff in 1995, Anthony Dudley George was shot and killed by an OPP sniper.

After over 60 years of fighting the provincial and federal governments, Ipperwash Provincial Park has officially been signed back over to the Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point. In 1942, the entire community was uprooted from their traditional lands and forced to move away after the federal government expropriated the land under the War Measures Act. Promises to return the land after the war proved false and during a standoff in 1995, Anthony Dudley George was shot and killed by an OPP sniper.

Once the war was over, decades of government stalling tactics resulted in community members of Stoney and Kettle Point occupying the land which was turned into a provincial park.

The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point have long claimed that the land known as Aazhoodena contains burial remains of their sacred ancestors and so in 1995, the First Nation attempted to claim back their traditional lands which resulted in a standoff and a one-sided gun battle. The OPP who were sent in to deal with the situation did so under the authorization of then Premier Mike Harris who ordered the ‘Indians’ out of the park.

The OPP claimed that the Natives in the park were armed, but was never proven. On September 6, 1995, Anthony ‘Dudley’ George of Kettle and Stony Point was shot and killed by an OPP sniper bullet, fired by Acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane during a midnight police raid on the park. Deane was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death in 1997 and was given an out-of-jail sentence of two years less a day.

As the result of George’s death, an inquiry was held in 2003 and published its result in 2007. In a cruel twist of fate, the officer who shot and killed Dudley George, Kenneth Deane, died as a result of injuries he sustained in a car accident while on his way to testify at the Ipperwash Inquiry. One of the key recommendations of the Inquiry was that the province hand Ipperwash back over to its rightful land protectors, the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.

It took the land transfer process five years to become official. As part of the historic deal, the government has also covered the cost of erecting a memorial of Dudley George in the park.

In a statement issued by Brad Duguid, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, “This agreement will lead to further healing and reconciliation across Ontario as we work together with Aboriginal partners to implement the recommendations of the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry.”

According to Kettle and Stony Point Chief Tom Bressette, the land known as Ipperwash Provincial Park will stay as a park. Visitors will pay an entrance fee which will generate revenue for the First Nation.

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Jen MtPleasant

Jen MtPleasant

Tuscarora Nation. Honours BA Criminology, Class of 2013. Advocate for missing and murdered ogwehoweh men and women. @JenMtPleasant

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  • Heather Bressette-Hammond
    May 22, 2014, 7:03 am

    MY THOUGHTS ARE FOREVER WITH MY ANCESTORS WHO WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR SACRED HOME. WE MUST PRESERVE THEIR LANDS, THEIR WATERS, THEIR TEACHINGS, THEN WE WILL HAVE TRULY HONOURED THEM AS WELL.

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