Ipperwash and the Killing of Dudley George

History of Ipperwash (Stoney Point) at this link       Ipperwash Report

Ipperwash, Oka, Caledonia (conflicts in Rap) at this link   Ipperwash Oka Caledonia - YouTube

CBC report on police racist comments at this link       ipperwash1.mov - YouTube

First broadcast in 2004, tapes obtained through an access to information request by the CBC’s The Fifth Estate revealed racist banter among OPP officers as well:  (http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/2040)

“Is there still a lot of press down there?”

“No, there's no one down there. Just a great big fat f**k Indian.”

“The camera's rolling, eh?”


“We had this plan, you know. We thought if we could get five or six cases of Labatt's 50 [beer], we could bait them.”


"Then we’d have this big net at a pit.”

“Creative thinking.”

“Works in the [US] South with watermelon.”

The day before George was killed, Sergeant Stan Korosec of the OPP emergency response team at Ipperwash was recorded on tape saying: “We want to amass a f***ing army. A real f***ing army and do this. Do these f***ers bigtime.”

“Cultural insensitivity and racism,” Linden says, was “not an isolated incident” within the OPP. However, Linden found it was politicians who had pressured the OPP away from its initial “go-slow” approach to the stand-off.

OPP Inspector Ron Fox was recorded saying, “We're dealing with a real redneck government...They just are in love with guns. There’s no question. They don't give a shit less about Indians.

CBC News Online | June 28, 2006

In September 1995, a half-century-old native land claim dispute exploded in Ontario's Provincial Park and left protester Dudley George dead.

The dispute goes back to 1942. It was wartime and the federal government expropriated land belonging to the Stony Point band under the War Measures Act in order to build a military camp - Camp Ipperwash. In the years following, the band tried to get the land back, claiming it contained a burial ground destroyed when the camp was built.

Shortly after the war ended, the Department of National Defense said it was willing to return most of the land as long as it could lease back what it still needed for the military base. The offer was later withdrawn.

By 1972, tensions were rising. According to the federal minister of Indian Affairs of the time – Jean Chrétien – the Stony Point band had waited patiently for a resolution but was beginning to run out of patience. Chrétien suggested in a memo to then defence minister, James Richardson, that if the land was not going to be returned, the band should be offered another piece of land as compensation.

Twenty years later, there was still no resolution. In 1993, Stony Point band members began moving back on to the land. The military withdrew in September 1995, when another group of
Stony Point natives marched onto the base.

It was then that a group of about 30 protesters built barricades at nearby Ipperwash Provincial Park to underline their land claim and to protest the destruction of the burial ground. Dudley George was one of the group's leaders.

There's no agreement on what happened next. The Ontario Provincial Police moved in on the protesters to remove them from the park. The police say they had no choice but to draw their guns because the protesters were armed; the protesters say the opposite, that they were unarmed and that police - dressed in riot gear - used unnecessary force. And they pointed the blame squarely at then-premier Mike Harris, claiming he issued the go-ahead order for the police to rush the barricades in a nighttime raid.

Either way, Dudley George did not survive the raid. He died on Sept. 6, 1995, after being shot by acting Sgt. Kenneth Deane of the OPP. In 1997, Deane was convicted of criminal negligence causing death after a court ruled he did not have a "reasonable belief" George was armed. Deane later resigned from the force.

Native groups called for an official inquiry into George's death, but the Progressive Conservative government of the time resisted, saying it had nothing to do with police actions that day.

On Nov. 12, 2003, just days after the Liberals swept to power in a general election, Dalton McGuinty announced his government would launch a public inquiry into the matter.

The original land claim - the reason protesters occupied Ipperwash Park in the first place - was settled in 1998. Under the $26-million agreement, the land occupied by the former military installation was to be cleaned up and returned to the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. As well, every member of the band was to receive between $150,000 and $400,000 in compensation.

On Oct. 2, 2003, George's family dropped a lawsuit against Harris after reaching a settlement with the Ontario Provincial Police. The agreement included a $100,000 payment for George's family.

In January 2004, CBC News obtained surveillance videotapes taken by police officers in September 1995, one of which contains racist remarks made by police officers the day before George's death.

Representatives of George's family say the attitude the officers had toward natives "makes it pretty easy to shoot an Indian."

The OPP said it didn't condone the remarks and that the two officers recorded on the tape had been disciplined. One was sent to sensitivity training; the contract of the other officer was not renewed.

On April 20, 2004 - more than eight years after the death of Dudley George - a public inquiry into the events surrounding his death opened. Seventeen groups and individuals were granted standing for the first part of the inquiry, giving them the right to call and cross-examine witnesses.

The evidence-gathering part of the inquiry stretched from 2004 through to 2006 and heard from more than 100 witnesses. Allegations of intolerance and impatience at the highest levels surfaced many times. But the biggest bombshell came from former attorney general Charles Harnick in November 2005. Harnick testified that former premier Mike Harris said "I want the f****** Indians out of the park," during a high level meeting about the Ipperwash occupation just hours before the fatal shooting of Dudley George. When Harris appeared at the inquiry in February 2006, he denied using that language.

Inquiry commissioner Justice Sidney Linden is expected to deliver the final report of the inquiry sometime in late 2006.

After fighting for years to reclaim their native land, the Mohawks of Kanesatake (Oka) erected a barricade to their land.

Claiming the lands that they had been ceded in the past, a Native Nation fights to regain the Ipperwash territory.

Ipperwash whitewash


Today marks the sixth anniversary of the death of Dudley George, the first native Canadian to be killed by police in a land-claims dispute. George was shot by OPP officer Kenneth Deane at Ipperwash Provincial Park on Sept. 6, 1995, when a group of more than 200 OPP officers assembled to remove 30 native activists from the park.

Since then, evidence has emerged linking the decision to remove protesters from the park with anti-native sentiments at the highest levels of provincial government. Despite repeated demands for a public inquiry from George's family, the UN, the federal government, the provincial opposition and many social justice groups, Premier Mike Harris has refused to call an impartial investigation into the shooting.


SEPT. 4: Dudley George is one of about 30 men, women and children who occupy Ipperwash Provincial Park to protest the destruction of a sacred burial ground at the park and to urge the return of traditional lands at nearby Camp Ipperwash.

SEPT. 5: The provincial committee on Emergency Planning for Aboriginal Issues meets and agrees to seek an injunction to remove protesters from the park. Minutes from the meeting state that "the province will take steps to remove the occupiers ASAP" and "the OPP have the discretion as to how to proceed with removing the Stoney Pointers from the park."

SEPT. 6: The provincial committee meets again. Notes for the meeting state that Premier Mike Harris wants native protesters "out of the park -- nothing else." Conservative MPP Marcel Beaubien spends the day in and out of an OPP command post near Ipperwash. At suppertime, he sends a fax to the premier's office. At approximately 11pm, more than 200 OPP officers descend on the park. In the ensuing skirmish, Dudley George is shot. His brother and his sister drive George to the hospital, where they are stopped by OPP officers and arrested for attempted murder before George is taken for medical treatment. George dies at the hospital.

Sept. 7: Ovide Mercredi, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Thomas Bressette, chief of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, call for a public inquiry into the shooting. The OPP release a statement saying police were shot at before returning fire. The OPP Special Investigations Unit (SIU) begins its investigation.

SEPT.8: Harris tells reporters that at Ipperwash "there is no claim. There is no burial ground."

SEPT.13: Federal Indian Affairs Minister Bob Irwin urges the Ontario government to review a 1937 document that states Ipperwash Provincial Park is located on the site of a native burial ground.

SEPT.18: The OPP and SIU begin collecting evidence at Ipperwash. Among the items discovered are spent cartridges from police firearms and liquor bottles bearing the fingerprints of OPP officers. No evidence is found to support the OPP's claim that protestors were armed.


APRIL 1: Members of the George family launch a wrongful death lawsuit against Harris, Beaubien, Attorney General Charles Harnick, Solicitor-General Bob Runciman and executive assistant for caucus liaison Bill King.

MAY 1: Irwin urges a provincial inquiry into the shooting of Dudley George. A statement from Harnick's office calls Irwin's comments "inappropriate."

JULY 23: The SIU charges Sgt. Kenneth Deane with "criminal negligence causing death" in the shooting of George. Harris says he will not call for a public inquiry until all court actions pertaining to the Ipperwash affair are resolved.

NOV. 5: Beaubien says that he informed King about the police being amassed at Ipperwash on Sept. 6, 1995. King acknowledges he was in contact with Beaubien.


MARCH 31: Harris admits to reporters that the government supported police actions at Ipperwash: "We felt, the ministry felt, that they'd like to have their park back."

APRIL 28: Deane is convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The judge concludes that Deane knowingly shot an unarmed man.

JUNE 4: The Harris government defeats a motion by NDP leader Howard Hampton cal ling for a public inquiry.

JULY 3: Deane is sentenced to 180 hours of community service.

AUG. 18: Harris and Harnick are subpoenaed by lawyers for the George family. King is exempted from the suit. Asked about his role in the police action, Harris tells the legislature, "I gave no influence on it. We left that entirely to the OPP. I assumed that there would be negotiations."

AUG. 20: Harris tells the legislature, "My recollection is this: there would be no negotiations over any claims while the occupation was under way."


FEB. 12: In the last of a series of court proceedings against native protesters at Ipperwash, Dudley's brother Warren George is convicted of dangerous driving.

APRIL 3: Warren George is sentenced to six months in jail.

JUNE 18: The Kettle and Stony Point First Nation sign an agreement in principle with the Federal Department of Indian Affairs to return Camp Ipperwash to the band.

OCT. 20: The Coalition for a Public Inquiry into the Death of Dudley George sends Harris a legal opinion that calling an inquiry would not prejudice ongoing related court cases.

NOV. 13: Lawyers for the George family request a list of government documents pertaining to Ipperwash.


FEB. 17: The Ontario Court of Justice dismisses a claim by provincial lawyers that the wrongful death suit should be dismissed on the basis of a missed limitation period.

JUNE 1: Lawyers for the George family take their request for a list of documents to court. Provincial lawyers argue for an adjournment until June 8.

JUNE 9: Provincial lawyers are granted an extension to provide a list of relevant documents, pending the outcome of an appeal by the defendants to be exempted from the lawsuit.

JUNE 16: The Ontario Court of Appeal rules that Harris, Harnick and Runciman shall not be exempted from the wrongful death suit.

DEC. 1: One week before a scheduled examination for discovery, Harris is excused by the Superior Court of Justice from having to testify.


DEC. 9: The Harris government defeats a motion by Liberal MPP Gerry Phillips for a public inquiry.


JAN. 25: The Supreme Court upholds the guilty verdict of Warren George.

JAN. 26: The Supreme Court upholds the guilty verdict of Kenneth Deane.

JUNE 5: Witnesses hear Harris call Phillips an "asshole" in the legislature after Phillips asks why the premier is bankrupting the George family by forcing them to proceed with a civil suit to uncover the truth about the shooting.

JUNE 29: Provincial lawyers ask for a dismissal of the wrongful death suit, arguing that there is no legal basis for the George estate to claim damages as specified in the suit.

AUG. 30: The Superior Court rules that the lawsuit against Harris, Harnick and Runciman can proceed.

SEPT. 4: The Globe & Mail reports that in a legal document, Harris admits he talked with OPP officers at an urgent meeting hours before the Ipperwash assault. This contradicts his previous claims he had no involvement in the affair.

Follow the link to see what has happened since the conflict http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20071028/McGuinty_aboriginals_071028/The%202010%20JUNO%20Awards

On May 31, 2007, nearly 12 years after Dudley George was shot by an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer, Sidney Linden released the four-volume Ipperwash Report.

In his remarks when he released the report, Linden, the commissioner of the Ipperwash Inquiry, noted that George was the “First aboriginal person to be killed in a land-rights dispute in Canada since the 19th century,” and stated: “If the governments of Ontario and Canada want to avoid future confrontations, they will have to deal with land and treaty claims effectively and fairly.”

A closer look at the issue and the report reveals that the Ontario government still has a long way to go, however. Linden presented an understanding of the “frustration” of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation that precedes the occupation of the park in 1995. In fact, he held, the grievance goes even further back than the federal government expropriation of Stony Point land in 1942:

The roots of the Ipperwash occupation go back as far as 1763, when King George III made the protection of Aboriginal land an official crown policy. The 1763 Royal Proclamation established an "Indian Country," as it was then referred to, where aboriginal land was protected from encroachment or settlement. When Sir William Johnson came to Niagara Falls to explain the Royal Proclamation to 1,500 Anishinabek Chiefs and Warriors, he consummated the alliance by presenting two wampum belts, which embodied the promises contained in the proclamation.



1)         What do you think about the positions taken during these conflicts?
2)         Why did Dudley George die, and who was responsible? Explain with support
            from the movie.
3)         Compare the Oka crisis to that at Ipperwash. (see my website for Oka Crisis and
             Ipperwash and the Killing of Dudley George)
4)         How could these conflicts have been averted? Explain.
5)         What changes have come about as a result of the conflicts at Ipperwash and Oka?
            Be specific.