SARNIA, Ont. – A southwestern Ontario First Nation says it has ratified an agreement in the dispute over Camp Ipperwash, which saw the death of aboriginal protester Dudley George in 1995.
In a release Saturday, the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation said eligible voting members approved the deal with the federal government in a vote held on Friday.
The First Nation says the agreement includes a financial settlement in excess of $90 million, the return of land appropriated by the federal government in 1942 under the War Measures Act and cleanup of Stony Point lands.
About $20 million will be used to compensate original members of Stony Point, their ancestors and eligible band members, while $70 million will be put into a fund overseen by trustees for future development of the original Stony Point reserve.
The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation is located along the shores of Lake Huron, 35 kilometres northeast of Sarnia, Ont.
Chief Thomas Bressette says now that the negotiation process is complete, the First Nation can focus on healing, and strengthening community relations.
“After 73 years, the war is finally over,” Bressette said.
In September of 1995, George was shot and killed by police after a splinter group of about 30 members of the Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation occupied nearby Ipperwash Provincial Park, claiming it contained a sacred burial ground.
The officer was later convicted of criminal negligence causing death and an inquiry found the government of former Ontario premier Mike Harris, Ottawa and the Ontario Provincial Police all bore responsibility for the events that led to George’s death.
In his final report in 2007, Ipperwash inquiry commissioner Sidney Linden called for the disputed land to be returned immediately to the Stony Point First Nation, along with compensation.
— with files from Blackburnnews.com