Friday, June 01, 2007

Ipperwash Report on 1995 Shooting of Aboriginal Protestor Dudley George

Yesterday, Commissioner Sidney Linden released his long awaited report into the 1995 death of Dudley George, who was killed by a police sniper during an occupation of the Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario by local aboriginal protestors.

The protestors were unarmed and had occupied the park grounds in an attempt to force the federal government to give them back land seized during World War Two for military purposes. The Native protestors claimed the land had once contained a sacred burial ground.

Linden's inquiry blamed the government of former Ontario premier Mike Harris for its impatience in the dispute, and the Ontario provincial police for cultural insensitivity and racism, faulty intelligence and poor communications.

He also criticized the federal government for the initial expropriation and then for its repeated neglect and failure to give back the land as promised.

In his public remarks at the presentation of the report, Linden outlined the historical context and warned that Native frustration at the slow progress of land claims talks continues to grow in Canada.

The report makes numerous recommendations to improve how law enforcement and political authorities deal with Native protests and blockades and to facilitate the settling of aboriginal land and treaty claims. It also recommends that the federal government immediately return the former army camp, now a provincial park, to the affected Native people and offer an apology and compensation for the more than 60 years of foot-dragging.

For more information:
  • The Ipperwash Inquiry (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - CBC News In Depth report)
  • Ontario apologizes for Ipperwash (Globe and Mail, web page contains links to many other related stories): "The Ontario government has apologized for the events that led to Dudley George's death and pledged to move forward in honour of his memory. David Ramsay, Minister of Natural Resources and Aboriginal Affairs, announced the formation of an Ipperwash response team to implement the recommendations of Commissioner Sidney Linden in his inquiry report released Thursday. Mr. Ramsay said this was a 'turning point' for the province, which will benefit all Ontarians."
  • Ipperwash warning: Heal native scars (Toronto Star, web page contains links to many other related stories): "Federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice did not issue an apology, but said the government would move quickly to give land that used to be occupied by a military base in Ipperwash Provincial Park back to the Kettle and Stony Point people. The government took it in 1942 and the occupation of the park began in September 1995 to highlight the demand for the return of the base."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:26 pm

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