Ipperwash and the Killing of Dudley George
History of Ipperwash (Stoney Point) at this link
Ipperwash, Oka, Caledonia (conflicts in Rap) at this link
Caledonia - YouTube
CBC report on police racist comments at this link
First broadcast in 2004, tapes obtained through an
access to information request by the CBC’s The
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.”
“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
News Online | June 28, 2006
September 1995, a half-century-old native land claim dispute exploded in
Provincial Park and left protester Dudley
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 The offer was later withdrawn.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
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
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.
BY KRISTIANA CLEMENS
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
On May 31, 2007, nearly
12 years after Dudley
George was shot by an
Police (OPP) officer,
Sidney Linden released
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
they will have to deal
with land and treaty
claims effectively and
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
1) What do you think about the positions taken during these conflicts?
2) Why did Dudley George die, and who was responsible? Explain with
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?