Canada and Ontario Right Past Wrongs

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A federal Ministerial Order signed on August 25, 2020 set apart 113.6 acres of land as an addition to the reserve of the Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation. Kettle & Stony Point First Nation is located approximately 35 kilometres northeast of Sarnia, Ontario on the east shore of Lake Huron. The newly-added lands are located on the site of the former Ipperwash Provincial Park. In 1942, during World War II, the Canadian Government evicted eighteen Anishinabek families from the lands to erect a military base, Camp Ipperwasf, destroying a traditional burial site in the process. On September 6, 1995, Anthony “Dudley” George lost his life seeking to reclaim this land and the adjacent former Camp Ipperwash for Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation when the Ontario government sent in the OPP. The police opened fire on the people protesting the loss of the lands.

The Province of Ontario earlier transferred the former Ipperwash Provincial Park lands to Canada for this purpose, fulfilling a commitment made by the provincial government following the release of the Ipperwash Inquiry Report. It will take about 20 years to clean up the site of Camp Ipperwash.

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, stated: “The return of these lands is an important step in the history of Canada, as today we are able to right past wrongs. Dudley George died in 1995 trying to reclaim these lands and today, the Government of Canada is honoured to set apart these lands for the use and benefit of the First Nation. Our work together is another step in advancing reconciliation and improving the treaty relationship with First Nations. I wish Chief Henry and Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation great success in their continued development.”

Chief Jason Henry, Chief of Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, commented on the restoration of the land: “The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation would like to acknowledge the formal return of a portion the lands we call Aazhoodena (Stony Point). As a Nation, we have always known about the significance of Aazhoodena, and the lands there were reclaimed in 1995. The return of the former Provincial Park lands is an important legal indicator for our Ancestors and our future generations that we’re home again and the land is legally ours. It is also important that we honour the memory of Dudley George today, who made the supreme sacrifice in respect of the Ancestors and all of those who have dedicated their lives to the return of our lands.”

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