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November 29 , 2010


The Tragic Failure of Canada's Aboriginal Policy


On September 6, 1995, Dudley George was shot by Ontario Provincial Police officer Kenneth Deane. He died shortly after midnight the next day. George had been participating in a protest over land claims in Ipperwash Provincial Park, which had been expropriated from the native Ojibwe after the Second World War. A confrontation erupted between members of the Stoney Point and Kettle Point Bands and officers of the OPP’s Emergency Response Team, which had been instructed to use necessary force to disband the protest by Premier Mike Harris’s government. George’s death and the grievous mishandling of the protest led to the 2007 Ipperwash Inquiry.

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Edward J. Hedican’s Ipperwash provides an incisive examination of protest and dissent within the context of land claims disputes and Aboriginal rights. Hedican investigates how racism and government practices have affected Aboriginal resistance to policies, especially those that have resulted in the loss of Aboriginal lands and led to persistent socio-economic problems in Native communities. He offers a number of specific solutions and policy recommendations on how Aboriginal protests can be resolved using mediation and dispute management – instead of the coercive force used in Ipperwash Park that ultimately gave this tragic story such infamy.

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