(eng) Stony Point First Nation Members Charged

Arm The Spirit (ats@etext.org)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 01:53:35 +0100

Stoney Point: 24 Charged In Defence Of Traditional Territory

By Tariq Hassan-Gordon

24 members of the Stoney Point First Nation face a maximum 2
years imprisonment over the reoccupation of their traditional
territory on Ipperwash Provincial Park. The rarely used criminal
charge of forcibly entering and detaining a park was brought
against all 24 people who appeared in Court on February 26th in
The charges laid on February 12th, 1996 come six months
after the shooting death of Dudley George by the OPP. Despite the
Federal Government admitting that there is an Aboriginal burial
ground in the Provincial Park the police continue to treat the
situation as an illegal occupation. Not only are there
traditional burial grounds in the area but the former Ipperwash
military training base and Ipperwash Provincial Park are
currently in negotiations to be returned to area First Nations.
Charging the 24 people with forcibly entering and detaining
the park is part of an overall strategy of harassment and
criminalization. According to Marcia Simon, treasurer of the
Dudley George Memorial Fund, the Ontario Provincial Police have
consistently and repeatedly stopped native people driving in the
area for alleged traffic violations, detained people and charged
Stoney Pointers with hunting violation in blatant disregard of
the Stoney Point claim to the territory. Considering the
political tensions in the area the continued increase in police
activity has seriously affected the Stoney Point peoples' effort
to organize the return of their territory from the Federal
The Ipperwash Provincial Park is located on Lake Huron, 45
minutes east of Sarnia. The area is a popular summer cottage and
camping zone. Local Cottagers have formed the West Ipperwash
Property Owners Association to challenge the Aboriginal claim to
the land. Non-native residents have complained to the local
Liberal MP that "the protesters were not charged in what many
said was an unlawful occupation" (London Free Press, Feb.13
Rose Marie Ur, the Liberal MP for Lampton-Middlesex county,
said "I had all kinds of people come to me and say, there are two
sets of laws. There's still a long way to go in restoring area
residents' faith in the system, but perhaps this [the charges] is
a step in the right direction." Marcia Simon said "People raised
the consideration that this [the occupation] is unlawful. The
land was set aside by treaty in the 1800's. [What the Government
and police] are doing is unlawful but they don't consider it

Stoney Point First Nation

In 1942 the Department of National Defence under the War
Measures Act relocated the people of Stoney Point Reserve #43 to
swampland in the nearby Kettle Point Reserve #44. This relocation
was supposed to be temporary. The Crown, in the order PC 2652,
stated "if, at the termination of the war, no further use of the
area is required by the Department of National Defence,
negotiations will be entered into with the Department of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) to transfer the lands
back to the Indians at a reasonable price determined by mutual
On May 31, 1946, the "Advanced Infantry Training Centre"
closed. Then in 1960 until 1992, the land was used as a 6 week
summer cadet training camp. On Aug. 10, 1992 the Federal
government admitted in a statement that the reasons for the
continued occupation of Stoney Point land was "Spurious [false]
and without substance."
Throughout the 1980's the Federal Government attempted to
settle the land claim with the Kettle and Stony Point Reserve.
However the Federal government refused to recognize the Stoney
Point People as a separate community. In May of 1993, 50 years
after the relocation, a small group of the original Stoney Point
residents and their families reoccupied the Stoney Point Reserve
#43. Since then the Federal Government has refused to recognize
the historical existence of Stoney Point First Nation.

The Long Walk For Home

On September 12, 1993, a group of the people occupying the
former base walked from Stoney Point to Ottawa to press the
government to recognize their treaty rights. The two and a half
week walk stopped in Peterborough where the Trent University
Native Studies Department organized a rally for the Group. One of
the Speakers at that rally was Elder Clifford George.
"He told the crowd about when he returned home after
fighting overseas in World War II. Upon his return, he found his
people and his home uprooted and (mis) placed elsewhere. He said
he'd been promised a forty acre plot of land when he returned
from the war, and that his father had also written to him
overseas telling him not to worry as their land would be returned
to them after the war. However, this land was never returned to
the First Nations' people of Stoney Point." (Arthur Sept 28th.
As a result of contact made with the walkers, members of the
Trent University Native Association and The Anti-Colonial Action
Alliance (formerly Wiijkiiwenh) organized work brigades and
clothing drives over the fall, winter and summer. 12 people from
Stoney Point (including Dudley George) were sponsored by the
Anti-Colonial Action Alliance to come to the 1994 Elders
In recognition of the past support of the Aboriginal
Community in Peterborough, members from Stoney Point in
conjunction with the Native Studies Department have set up a
bursary for an Aboriginal Student studying in the Native Studies
Department. The bursary is one project set up from the Dudley
George Memorial Fund.
On Friday, November 3, 1995, Graham George spoke and
introduced the Fund at a pot luck held in the Native Studies
Lounge at Trent University. The memorial Fund started when,
"Following the shooting, which left two other members of the
First Nation injured, Graham George sat at the gates of Ipperwash
with a shoebox, accepting donations." (Arthur, Nov. 7,1995).

July 29th 1995 - Stoney Point Takes Over The Barracks

Two years after the initial reoccupation, around 100 members
of Stoney Point moved into the Ipperwash military barracks.
Between 15 and 20 military personnel were evacuated from the
barracks. The barracks are located on the south-west corner of
reserve #43. It was from that location that the Canadian
Military, in co-operation with the Ontario Provincial Police,
Ministry of Natural Resource Enforcement officers coordinated a
low intensity warfare with the people camped inside the base.
The military conducted around the clock surveillance
throughout the base. The patrols included low level helicopter
flights, military vehicles and nightly foot patrols. The Stoney
Pointers' camps were harassed and people physically assaulted. On
a number of occasions cars were hit with military vehicles.
The Military interrogated and questioned the occupiers. The
army attempted to prevent local non-native residents from selling
supplies to the people camped on the base. Non-natives that
brought supplies to the people on the base were threatened with
trespassing charges. In one incident, a journalist with the
Sarnia Observer was investigating the physical beating of Kevin
Simon by over six soldiers. When he contacted the army to verify
the allegations he was told that he would be charged with
trespassing for going to the base. It was the result of lack of
progress with the government negotiations and the continuous
military presence and harassment that forced the Stoney Point
people to evict the last foothold of the army.
Then on September 4th, 1995 Stoney Point occupied Ipperwash
Provincial Park. The occupation of Ipperwash was done in an
attempt to return all the territory lost over the past 60 years
to the original land holders.
However the new Conservative Harris provincial government
refused to intervene and on September 6th, over 40 tactical unit
members of the OPP responded to a disturbance at the park which
left one native man killed and two others injured.
The Special Investigation Unit has yet to file a report on
the shooting death of Dudley George and the police continue to
lay criminal charges on members of the Stoney Point First Nation.
According to Marcia Simon "the long term goal is for recognition
of the Stoney Point First Nation #43" and the return of their
territory which was appropriated by the Federal Government in
Unfortunately the Federal Government will only negotiate the
return of the land with the Kettle and Stony Point Reserve. In
fact the same week that the 24 Stoney Point community members
will be in a Sarnia Court house, a high ranking federal
negotiator will be meeting with members of the Kettle and Stony
Point Reserve.
The media have portrayed the Stoney Point people as a break-
away group without any legitimate claim to the land. They have
attempted to portray the conflict between Kettle Point and Stoney
Point as an internal issue.
The primary problem is that the government does not
recognize the Stoney Point Reserve. Simon went on to say "The
Colonial administration which became the Department of Indian
Affairs lumped these Native communities together for bureaucratic
ease in administering their affairs. It was an externally created
problem that they now claim is an internal matter."

(With files from the London Free Press.)

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