Archive for the ‘Ipperwash’ Category

Brief Overview: Police brutality against group protest is a growing issue for the criminal justice system across Canada. In Ontario, the infamous Ipperwash incident highlighted the ongoing struggle between the First Nations and the Government. The events at Ipperwash were about a dispute over land claim and the Aboriginal citizens engaged in a peaceful protest resulted in the killing of one protester, by the Ontario Provincial Police (Fennel, 1995). Such unfortunate outcome often increases tension between the First Nation, the Government, and the police. Over the past twenty years, incidents involving police brutality have led to a negative perception of the police by groups who demonstrate their dissatisfaction with public policy (de Lint, 2009). Events such as the highly publicize Ipperwash crisis in Ontario led to community allegation of a police state, whereas the political elites interfere in police operations (de Lint, 2009).

Background: The Ipperwash crisis is about an ongoing dispte between the Stony Point Ojibway and the Canadian Government.  The Stony Point Ojibway are a First Nation band who lived in Ipperwash, Ontario.  During the World War 2, the Canadian government wanted built a military base in Ipperwash, regardless of the fact that this land was already occupied by the first nation. At first, the government made an offered to buy the land but the First Nation refused it because the land contained burial ground and was a sacred site for them. Afterward, under the War Measure Act, the government orders the band to clear out Ipperwash so a military base can be built on the site. The government promises to return the land to the first nation when the war was over. When the war finally came to an end, no process was taken in order to return the land and the military was still occupying the site in 1990. For more than 40 years, the tension builds up between the First Nation and the Federal Government. In 1993, the Stony Point First Nation went back to Ipperwash and occupied the site even though it was still use for military purposes. Numerous first nation families were there to retake their land because it had a deep cultural meaning. They did not want to cause any arm or any sort of violence. Unfortunately, the Federal Government did not respect the promises to return the land after the war. He wanted the First Nation to go settle somewhere else, so the military base could stay in Ipperwash Camp.  In September 1995, more First Nation came to occupy Ipperwash and the military left the base. One night the then Prime Minister of Ontario, Mike Harris, order the Ontario Provincial Police to step in and remove the First Nation from the site. As a result of the raid, Dudley George, who was an Ojibway, was shot and died on his way to the hospital. Dudley George was unarmed.
Sentencing & Inquiry: In 1997, the officer who shot Dudley George was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death. Not long after the final verdict, the accused resign from the O.P.P. A public inquiry for the Ipperwash crisis began in 2003, 8 years after the events. In 2007, 12 years after the death of the unarm protester, the inquiry conclude that the O.P.P, the Federal and the Provincial Government are all responsible for the death of Dudley George. The inquiry also found out that the OPP used racist comment and inappropriate use of force. One video from cbc showed one police officer saying “Just a great big fat fuck Indian”.  This conversation was recorded one day before the murder of Dudley George.  It was released during the course of the investigation, in order to provide a better understanding of why the police opened fire on the unarmed protester.  As a result of the inquiry, the Ontario Provincial Government had to return the land to the First Nation as well as money compensation for the Stony Point First Nation members. The inquiry mentioned that that in order to address the issue of policing, more recruit with Aboriginal cultural background are need in the police force. However, the dynamic within the police culture needs to be change in order to ameliorate the relationship between the community and the police. Many groups such as Amnesty International condemn the improper action taken by the Canadian and Ontario Government. First Nation groups from all over America were concerned by this event.

– How the events at Ipperwash fit into the history of Canadian police / First Nations relations-The events at Ipperwash are not isolated. Similar events occurred many times in the past and are against law, since the Government and the police should operate independently. However, the reality makes me believe of the emergence of a police state. The Gustafson Lake Crisis, for istence, is another major event that involved struggle over land claim and confrontation between Natives and Police.  Similar to Ipperwash, this case also involved violence, racism and harsh feeling between the groups. Unfortunate events like this demonstrate that police assumes that protesters are criminals, which is wrong. Police need more strict rules so those who attend such events do not need to fear to be the victim of police brutality. Police greatest concern should be about the rights of the citizens and not the will of the Canadian Government. Therefore, the issue of police brutality as well as criminal injustice toward the First Nation seems to be taken up in an individualistic or “rotten apples” approach. However, it is a much more of a systematic problem embodied in the police culture.  The relation of distrust between the police, the criminal justice agencies and the First Nations is shaped by a long history of racism and colonialism. For instance in recent years, the Starlight tour phenomena is an example of systematic racism toward the Native and cannot be explain with the “Rotten Apple” approach. A Starlight tour occurs during the cold winter period and involves the police taking an Aboriginal person into their car and then abandoning them on the side of the road, far away from the city. The freezing cold weather may ultimately lead to the person’s death. It involves the complicity of more than one officer so it can only be explain with a rotten barrel or even rotten orchard approach.

What impact does the history or “legacy” of police forces in colonial relations have on contemporary relationships between indigenous peoples and the police?  Both the Ipperwash crisis and the starlight tours phenomena involved systematic racism by the police and the Government officials against the Aboriginal people.  Racist behavior seems to take its roots back to the European colonial era. From the past colonial time to present days, Aboriginal people in Canada have been the victim of a criminal justice system which over-represented them in the carceral system. According to Susan Dion (2005) “Canadians «refuse to know» that the racism that fueled colonization was a result of a system which benefits all non-Aboriginal people, not just the European settlers of long ago”.  Therefore, the Canadian Government and the police are the dominant group who use their power to control, shape and even erase any forms of Aboriginal culture and religion. Dion (2005) explain that the police force in Canada are in majority from white European background and are predispose to discriminate against First Nation groups since “the police have consistently manipulated the image of Aboriginal people, constructing meaning to serve their needs at different times and in different situations” (Dion, 2005). Therefore, Aboriginal are label as criminal and this has led them to be arrested and incarcerated at higher rate than white people. When looking at the incarceration rate, First Nation are about 2% of the total population in Canada, however, they comprise 10% of the prison population. The First Nation’s cultural values are misunderstood by the police, which result a relationship of distrust between Aboriginal communities and the law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP. Furthermore, the police tend to have more patrol in areas where cultural values differ from the dominant group. Other areas where the values fit the police officer’s believes are far less patrol and therefore less people are arrested.  Furthermore, white people who commit the very same crime are far less likely to be arrested and charged. As a result, Aboriginal people are over-represented in the Canadian Criminal Justice System since they are discriminate against by the police who enforce the values of the dominant group. Furthermore, according to Rudin (2005), Aboriginal who are asking for police help are often ignore because they are seen as less worthy victims. Similarly, the Government behaved in similar fashion when they ignore the land claimed by the Natives and made them waiting for more than 50 years, which was a central issue at Ipperwash.

Police Misconduct is Embodied in the Police Institution: According to Punch (2011) “even when the rule of law is ostensibly  in place it can be that states representatives faced with an acute treat, resorts to illicit force (Punch: 4) .”  Prior to Dudley George killing, the then Ontario premier Mike Harris issued an order to operate a night time raid in order to remove the protesters from the park.  Furthermore, the event was highly covered by the media all across Canada. As a result, during the events at Ipperwash, the OPP had a tremendous amount of pressure for productivity, from the public and the police organization itself. In order to answer expectation sfrom the public, media and their management, the police are likely to use extra-legal methods in order to solve the issue. In the book “Police Deviance”, the author Maurice Punch mentioned that the use of extra-legal methods is embodied in the police institution and is also an occupational requirement.  It is legal and legitimate for the police to use force in circumstances whereas there are threats to the victim’s life or the officer’s life. However, in case such as Ipperwash, the protester who was killed by the police was not a threat to anyone, neither he had any weapon on his person.  The officer who opened fire did not have any legitimate reason to justify his action. Therefore, the killing of Dudley George at Ipperwash camp was a crude act of police brutality.

Dirty Harry” Problem is a Feature of Police Culture: Maurice Punch, explain that the Dirty Harry phenomena is when the police use extra-legal methods such as violence in order to arrest the criminal. It occurred when the police continue to use extreme force even though the suspect is not a threat. The police who use Dirty Harry methods see themselves as correct officers because bending the rules is essential for achieving their goals. Therefore, the use of extreme force is an occupational requirement for the police. The Police officers who took part of the night raid at Ipperwash did use “Dirty Harry” methods so they can “get the job done”. The unfortunate end result was the homicide of unarm man who was not a treat to anyone safety.

Rotten Apple vs Rotten Orchard: The events at Ipperwash had little to do with one police officer who decides to pull the trigger on a protestant. It is the result of social, institutional, and cultural pressure that pushed the officer to commit the ultimate act. In other words, social pressure has to do with the relationship between the society, the media and the police; institutional pressure has to do with organizational structure; cultural pressure has to do with the police culture, brotherhood and code of silence (Punch, 2009). The police officer who shot and killed the protester was convicted of criminal negligence causing death after the court ruled that the accused officer did not have the “reasonable belief” the protester was armed and dangerous.  As a result of the commission that investigated the police behavior at Ipperwash Park, only two officers were own accountable for their racist comment. One was sent to sensitivity training as disciplinary measure and he later resign from the Ontario Police Force while the other officer who was guilty of criminal negligence was laid off. The commissions address the police wrongdoing as an individual failure, but did not address any issue regarding the institutional failure. In other word, the commission analyzed the Ipperwash incident by maintaining the hypothesis of “bad apple” and disregards anything related with the police institution. According to Punch (2009), there is a cycle to police scandals and reforms. The chain of event begins when the police wrongdoing is enlightened by the media, which draw social and political attention. Then, a commission investigates the events and results in special measures that are believed to remove the issue for good. However, similar events with a similar commissions and results with similar measures reoccurred as time passed. The problem of police misconduct is not address properly by the commission, who still make use of the “bad apple theory”, and unfortunate events such as the death of an unarm civilian is the result of such misconception.

-Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchmen?) There is concern about the police and the government transparency and accountability when policing event such as Ipperwash or any other form of protest. According to Punch, “policing, in order to be effective, must be based on consent across the community (Punch, 2009).” He also argued that the concept of accountability is “the formal obligation within a democracy; notion of good governance; of being transparent to the public and other stakeholder on policies and conduct; and of internally generated norms of professional accountability (Punch,  2009). At Ipperwash in 1995, pressure from then Prime Minister Mike Harris government on the police may have urged the officers to remove the protesters. As a result of the government extensive pressure, the police use deadly force even though no one’s life was in jeopardize. Similarly, more recently, the former Prime Minister Jean Chretien was involved in the 1997 Asia Pacific Economic Community conference in University of British Columbia and the protesters were again the victim of police brutality (de lint, 2009).  According to the Ipperwash final inquiry report (p.74), transparency in decision making will enhance police accountability and facilitate communication between the police and the community. In the context of Aboriginal protest over land claim, transparency will address the issue of distrust between the government and the police vis-a-vis Aboriginal communities.

Why the Ipperwash Crisis need to not be forgotten? Following the Ipperwash Crisis, the Canadian Government wanted to decrease the Aboriginal overrepresentation in the Criminal Justice System. For instance, s. 718.2(e) of the Crminal Code implores judges to look at alternatives to incarceration. In the late 1990, the Federal and the Ontario Provincial Government created a justice system specifically for Aboriginal offenders, with a system administered by Aboriginal people. However, the number of First Nation people incarcerated across Canada did not drastically decrease for the past 15 years despite the number of positive programs seeking to help First Nation Offenders.  According to Rudin (2005), “In order for these programs to make a difference, Crown Attorneys must be willing to have matters that would otherwise result in jail sentences referred to these programs.” Therefore, the Crown must accept the pertinence of an Aboriginal justice system that emphasis on rehabilitation and restorative justice instead of relying ultimately on incarceration.

Conclusion: Troughout the Canadian history, Aboriginal occupations and protests shape the relationship between the Natives and the police. Too often, Aboriginal in Canada were left in the dark and rejected by the dominant group. However, the unfortunate Ipperwash event, which cost the life of Dudley George by the O.P.P, fueled the debate about Aboriginal rights in Canada. As a result, there is light of collaboration and mutual respect between Aboriginal communities and the police forces. It is a positive sign of brighter days ahead of us, where discrimination and systematic racism against Natives will become inexistent.

 

References;

CBC News. (2007). The Ipperwash Inquiry. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/ipperwash/)

De Lint, W. Hall, A.(2009). Intelligent Control: Developments in Public Order Policing in Canada. Toronto, CAN: University of Toronto Press.

Dion, S. (2005). Aboriginal People and Stories of Canadian History: Investigating Barriers to Transforming Relationships.” Possibilities and Limitations: Multicultural Programs and Policies in Canada. 34-57. ed. Carl E. James.  Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

Fennel, T. (1995). Deadly Confrontation on an Ontario Reserve. Maclean`s. 108(38). 22-24.

Punch, M. (2009). Police Corruption. Deviance, accountability and reform in policing.  Portland, Or:Willan Publishing.

Punch, M. (2011). Police accountability, firearm, and fatal force. Portland, Or: The Policy Press.

Rudin, J. (2005). Aboriginal Peoples and the Criminal Justice System: A Background Paper Prepared for the Ipperwash Inquiry.  Ipperwash Inquiry Paper-Draft.

 

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Police Brutality and Accountability at Ipperwash

Posted: November 1, 2011 by luck26 in Ipperwash

-Description- Police brutality against group protest is a growing issue for the criminal justice system across Canada. In Ontario, the infamous Ipperwash incident highlighted the ongoing struggle between the First Nations and the Government. The events at Ipperwash were about a dispute over land claim and the Aboriginal citizens engaged in a peaceful protest resulted in the killing of one protester, by the Ontario Provincial Police (Fennel, 1995). Such unfortunate outcome often increases tension between the First Nation, the Government, and the police. Over the past twenty years, incidents involving police brutality have led to a negative perception of the police by groups who demonstrate their dissatisfaction with public policy (de Lint, 2009). Events such as the highly publicize Ipperwash crisis in Ontario led to community allegation of a police state, whereas the political elites interfere in police operations (de Lint, 2009).

-police misconduct is embodied in the police institution- According to Punch (2011) “even when the rule of law is ostensibly  in place it can be that states representatives faced with an acute treat, resorts to illicit force (Punch: 4) .”  Prior to Dudley George killing, the then Ontario premier Mike Harris issued an order to operate a night time raid in order to remove the protesters from the park.  Furthermore, the event was highly covered by the media all across Canada. As a result, during the events at Ipperwash, the OPP had a tremendous amount of pressure for productivity, from the public and the police organization itself. In order to answer expectation sfrom the public, media and their management, the police are likely to use extra-legal methods in order to solve the issue. In the book “Police Deviance”, the author Maurice Punch mentioned that the use of extra-legal methods is embodied in the police institution and is also an occupational requirement.  It is legal and legitimate for the police to use force in circumstances whereas there are threats to the victim’s life or the officer’s life. However, in case such as Ipperwash, the protester who was killed by the police was not a threat to anyone, neither he had any weapon on his person.  The officer who opened fire did not have any legitimate reason to justify his action. Therefore, the killing of Dudley George at Ipperwash camp was a crude act of police brutality. Maurice Punch, explain that the Dirty Harry phenomena is when the police use extra-legal methods such as violence in order to arrest the criminal. It occurred when the police continue to use extreme force even though the suspect is not a threat. The police who use Dirty Harry methods see themselves as correct officers because bending the rules is essential for achieving their goals. Therefore, the use of extreme force is an occupational requirement for the police. The Police officers who took part of the night raid at Ipperwash did use “Dirty Harry” methods so they can “get the job done”. The unfortunate end result was the homicide of unarm man who was not a treat to anyone safety.

-rotten apple vs rotten orchard-  The events at Ipperwash had little to do with one police officer who decides to pull the trigger on a protestant. It is the result of social, institutional, and cultural pressure that pushed the officer to commit the ultimate act. In other words, social pressure has to do with the relationship between the society, the media and the police; institutional pressure has to do with organizational structure; cultural pressure has to do with the police culture, brotherhood and code of silence (Punch, 2009). The police officer who shot and killed the protester was convicted of criminal negligence causing death after the court ruled that the accused officer did not have the “reasonable belief” the protester was armed and dangerous.  As a result of the commission that investigated the police behavior at Ipperwash Park, only two officers were own accountable for their racist comment. One was sent to sensitivity training as disciplinary measure and he later resign from the Ontario Police Force while the other officer who was guilty of criminal negligence was laid off. The commissions address the police wrongdoing as an individual failure, but did not address any issue regarding the institutional failure. In other word, the commission analyzed the Ipperwash incident by maintaining the hypothesis of “bad apple” and disregards anything related with the police institution. According to Punch (2009), there is a cycle to police scandals and reforms. The chain of event begins when the police wrongdoing is enlightened by the media, which draw social and political attention. Then, a commission investigates the events and results in special measures that are believed to remove the issue for good. However, similar events with a similar commissions and results with similar measures reoccurred as time passed. The problem of police misconduct is not address properly by the commission, who still make use of the “bad apple theory”, and unfortunate events such as the death of an unarm civilian is the result of such misconception.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchmen?) There is concern about the police and the government transparency and accountability when policing event such as Ipperwash or any other form of protest. According to Punch, “policing, in order to be effective, must be based on consent across the community (Punch: 2009).” He also argued that the concept of accountability is “the formal obligation within a democracy; notion of good governance; of being transparent to the public and other stakeholder on policies and conduct; and of internally generated norms of professional accountability (Punch,  2009). At Ipperwash in 1995, pressure from then Prime Minister Mike Harris government on the police may have urged the officers to remove the protesters. As a result of the government extensive pressure, the police use deadly force even though no one’s life was in jeopardize. Similarly, more recently, the former Prime Minister Jean Chretien was involved in the 1997 Asia Pacific Economic Community conference in University of British Columbia and the protesters were again the victim of police brutality (de lint, 2009).  According to the Ipperwash final inquiry report (p.74), transparency in decision making will enhance police accountability and facilitate communication between the police and the community. In the context of Aboriginal protest over land claim, transparency will address the issue of distrust between the government and the police vis-a-vis the Aboriginal community.

References;

De Lint, W. Hall, A.(2009). Intelligent Control: Developments in Public Order Policing in Canada. Toronto, CAN: University of Toronto Press.

Fennel, T. (1995). Deadly Confrontation on an Ontario Reserve. Maclean`s. 108(38). 22-24.

Punch, M. (2009). Police Corruption. Deviance, accountability and reform in policing.  Portland, Or:Willan Publishing.

Punch, M. (2011). Police accountability, firearm, and fatal force. Portland, Or: The Policy Press.

The Ipperwash Crisis- A Deeper Analysis

Posted: November 1, 2011 by jsg91 in Ipperwash

The Ipperwash crisis was a land claim protest by the Stoney Point Ojibway Band that took place in 1995 at the Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario. This protest became controversial and made national headlines when a heated altercation between the Ontario Provincial Police and the protesters lead to an officer shooting and killing protester Anthony O’Brian George who was known by most as “Dudley”. The officer involved utilized a denial of victim justification by saying that he perceived Dudley to be holding a gun which was later disproven in court. He was the first aboriginal person to die as a result of a land rights dispute in Canada since the 19th century. A more detailed account of the events can be found here. As a result of these events, an inquiry was launched which can be accessed here. This inquiry highlighted many issues in regards to police deviance, accountability, and the relationship between the Aboriginal people and the state. The first key issue I will look at is the tactical errors and mistakes made by the police which lead to the death of Dudley George. The second key issue I will examine is the politics behind the events that transpired at Ipperwash Provincial Park, specifically the government’s treaty obligations to the Aboriginal people of Ontario and whether they were handled appropriately. The third key issue I will examine is the existence of racist attitudes towards Aboriginal people and whether such attitudes influenced the actions of the officers and political leaders directly involved in the crisis. The Ipperwash crisis relates to the study of police deviance and accountability because the inquiry indicated some negligent behaviour on the part of the police. The crisis also drew attention towards the general issue of Aboriginal land claims protests and their cultural and historical significance.

The police involved in the Ipperwash crisis made several errors in conducting their duties that lead to the death of Dudley George that could be classified as deviant. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have specific guidelines in place to deal with land claims blockades that essentially state that efforts be made to negotiate and arrive at a peaceful solution except in the case of serious injury or death. The dispatching of the Tactical Response Unit (TRU) and the Crowd Management Unit (CMU) was a pre-emptive and unnecessary response to this type of protest because it was later proven that no threat of serious death or injury was occurring to anyone at the park. The inquiry stated that the protest was handled as if it were a sports protest. The crowd was much different from a group of sports fans in that it was people from one community who were unified by the firm belief that the land the land was sacred and it belonged to them. The failure to acknowledge the historical and cultural context the protest was being held within is negligence on the part of the police because the situation was much more than the trespassing violation it was treated as. Inspector John Carson who was an OPP commander at overseeing the events at Ipperwash admitted that that they did not exhaust all options to negotiate with the tribe and band leaders before taking more aggressive action. This statement indicates deviance on the part of the police because it shows that the commander did not follow the policy of the OPP to make an effort to negotiate and arrive at a peaceful solution. Instead, Inspector Carson had been encouraging the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to apply for an injunction to provide “political cover” in the case that force would be used. There was also a lack of intelligence gathering and communication on the part of the OPP. Intelligence gathering and setting up channels of communication proved effective during the Burnt Church crisis which was a dispute regarding Native fishing rights. At Burnt Church the RCMP used the liaison policing approach which aims to divert people from the criminal justice system and educate police officers on the cultural and historical issues in the community. They did so by establishing lines of communication with respected individuals in the Native community with the hope that these people’s credibility with the community would aid in the mediation process. In the end the RCMP mediated both sides to an agreement without having to use force. The OPP may acted negligently and not followed a similar formula to the one at Burnt Church because the events at Burnt Church cost the tax payers of New Brunswick $17 million and it also took approximately 3 years to resolve.

The second key issue to arise from the events at Ipperwash is the treaty rights of Aboriginal people and the government’s obligation to uphold them. The land had significance to the Stoney Point Ojibway occupying it because it was a sacred burial ground. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) much like the OPP failed to comprehend the historical and cultural importance of this land. “When the injunction was applied for to evict the Native occupiers, the MNR did not mention that Ipperwash Provincial Park was indeed being claimed as a burial ground”(De Lint, W & Hall, A, 2009, p.226). Actions such as this indicate that the situation was not handled as a serious lands claim by people with legitimate grievances but more like an eviction of people trespassing for no reason. The inquiry suggested that an official land claims be created because one did not exist at the time of this dispute. The Stoney Point Ojibway much like other Native land claim protestors base their protests on the fact that they have “title” to the land they are occupying, but the issue that arises is that the charter does not refer to “aboriginal title” in any way. “(Section 35) does not refer to aboriginal title at all. Instead, it recognizes and affirms existing “aboriginal and treaty rights.” Aboriginal rights are those possessed by Canadian First Nation people by virtue of their aboriginality, including but not limited to-rights in land.”(Nadasdy,2002,p.248). Land claims protests are prevalent throughout Canada because Aboriginal treaty rights are protected under our charter and those rights should at the very least be acknowledged if not honoured so that events similar to those at Ipperwash Provincial Park can be avoided in the future.

The third key issue to come out of the Ipperwash crisis is the discussion of whether race played a factor in the actions taken against the protesters which ultimately lead to the death of Dudley George. Systemic racism appears to be prevalent throughout Canada seeing as that Aboriginal people are heavily overrepresented in the criminal justice system in proportion to their population in Canada. It is quite plausible that such attitudes could have influenced the decisions and actions taken at Ipperwash Park. Mike Harris who was Premier of Ontario at the time made a controversial statement in regards to the crisis when he said “I want the fucking Indians out of the park”. This statement is powerful not only because it highlights the racist attitudes of Mike Harris, but because it highlights the racist attitudes of a person in a position of power. These attitudes were not only held within the office of Premier Harris, Stan Korosec who was in charge of the OPP emergency response team was also quoted as saying “We want to amass a fucking army. A real fucking army and do this. Do these fuckers big-time.” This statement is also significant because Korosec is also a person in a position of power and in his statement he clearly diverts from the official OPP policy that guides these land claim situations which emphasizes coming to a peaceful resolution in favour of a more militaristic and violent response. With attitudes such as those and those held by Harris and Korosec it gives the impression that death or serious injury was an inevitable outcome because the police deviated from the official policy and they were encouraged to do so by the government who disregarded the treaty rights of the Aboriginal people and pursued an injunction.

The Ipperwash crisis and the death of Dudley George relates to the broader themes of police deviance and accountability for several reasons. Deviance was observed on the both the part of the government as well as the police. The OPP admitted to not exhausting all available options to come to a peaceful resolution which is a clear deviation from the official policy of dealing with land claims blockades which proved to be quite effective years later in the Burnt Church crisis. The police in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, the police pursued an injunction to essentially evict the occupiers under false pretences. The MNR failed to mention in their application the fact that the land was a sacred native burial ground in order to ensure that the application would be successful. The subsequent inquiry revealed racist attitudes on the part of the police which can be classed as deviant because it contradicts the police’s mandate to provide equal service to all citizens. Then Premier Mike Harris also made controversial racist statements that were mentioned in the inquiry. The Death of Dudley George brought national coverage to the events at Ipperwash Provincial Park and served as a tragic example of how not to handle the sensitive issue of Native land claim protests.

Bibliography

CBC News, (2007). The Ipperwash Inquiry. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/ipperwash/)

De Lint, W & Hall, A. (2009). Intelligent Control: Developments in Public Order Policing in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

The Ipperwash Inquiry (2007). (http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/inquiries/ipperwash/report/)

Nadasdy, Paul, (2002). “Property” and Aboriginal Land Claims in the Canadian Subarctic: some Theoretical Considerations. American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 104. No1

Punch,Maurice. (2009). Police Corruption: Deviance, accountability and reform in policing. Portland: Willan Publishing

Ipperwash Crisis

Posted: October 5, 2011 by luck26 in Cases - Public Order, Ipperwash

The Ipperwash crisis is about an ongoing dispute between the Natives and the Canadian Government.  The Stony Point First Nation lived in Ipperwash, Ontario.  During the World War 2, the Canadian government wanted built a military base in Ipperwash, regardless of the fact that this land was already occupied by the first nation. At first, the government made an offered to buy the land but the First Nation refused it because the land contained burial ground and was a sacred site. Afterward, the government took the land citing the war measure act. However, the government promises to return the land to the first nation when the war was over. When the war finally came to an end, no process was taken in order to return the land and the military was still occupying the site in 1990. For more than 40 years, the tension builds up between the First Nation and the Federal Government. In 1993, the Stony Point First Nation went back to Ipperwash and occupied the site regardless of the military base.  Many first nation families were there to retake their land because it had a deep cultural meaning for them. They did not want to cause any arm or any sort of violence. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister of Ontario “forgot” about the promises to return the land after the war. He wanted the First Nation to go settle somewhere else, so the military base could stay in Ipperwash Camp.  In September 1995, more First Nation came to occupy Ipperwash so the military left the base. One night the Prime Minister of Ontario, Mike Harris, order the Ontario Provincial Police stepped in to remove the First Nation from the site. As a result of the raid, Dudley George, who was an Ojibwa, was shot and died on his way to the hospital. Dudley George was unarmed.
In 1997, the officer who shot Dudley George was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death. Not long after the final verdict, the accused resign from the O.P.P. A public inquiry for the Ipperwash crisis began in 2003, 8 years after the events. In 2007, 12 years after the death of the unarm protester, the inquiry conclude that the O.P.P, the Federal and the Provincial Government are all responsible for the death of Dudley George. The inquiry also found out that the OPP used racist comment and inappropriate use of force. One video from cbc showed one police officer saying “Just a great big fat fuck Indian”.  This conversation was recorded one day before the murder of Dudley George.  It was released during the course of the investigation, in order to provide a better understanding of why the police opened fire on the unarmed protester.  As a result of the inquiry, the Ontario Provincial Government had to return the land to the First Nation as well as money compensation for the Stony Point First Nation members.
Many groups such as Amnesty International condemn the improper action taken by the Canadian and Ontario Government. First Nation groups from all over America were concerned by this event.

The Gustafson Lake Crisis is another major event that involved struggle over land claim and confrontation between Natives and Police.  Similar to Ipperwash, this case also involved violence, racism and harsh feeling between the groups. Unfortunate events like this demonstrate that police assumes that protesters are criminals, which is wrong. Police need more strict rules so those who attend such events do not need to fear to be the victim of police brutality. Police greatest concern should be about the rights of the citizens and not the will of the Canadian Government.
I used the database “Academic Research Premier” and I search the word “Ipperwash”.  There were 31 results and the majority were periodical journal from “Maclean” and each volume was about different phase of the event. The first article on the list was an academic journal named “Assymetric Encounters in Native Canada”.  However, the most accurate overview of the Ipperwash crisis appeared on the fourth page; the article’s title was “Deadly Confrontation on an Ontario Reserve”. Most articles were short and described one particular episode of the Ipperwash crisis. For instance, the article “An Ipperwash Verdict“, from the journal  “Maclean”,    is about the verdict from the court to the police officer who shot Dudley George. The following citation was taken from this article; “Sgt. Kenneth Deane of the Ontario Provincial Police was guilty of criminal negligence in causing the native protester’s death”. Furthermore, there is also an article from the Maclean journal, titled “No Ipperwash Inquiry“, which is important to consider since it mentions that the government of Ontario refused to process to a public inquiry. Natives believe that the then Premier Mike Harris was responsible for the death of Dudley George because he was the one who order the Ontario Provincial Police to clear the park.  Therefore, “a federal public inquiry into what role Premier Mike Harris played in the police killing of a native demonstrator at Ipperwash provincial park in 1995” was defeated.  In another article named “Who killed Dudley George?”, from the journal “Canadian Dimension”, the author Tony Hall compare the events of Ipperwash to Gustafson Lake, so the readers can have a better understanding of the struggle between the First Nation and the Government. This article suggests an underline meaning for the killing of Dudley George; “the killing of Dudley George, the first official Indian casualty in Canada’s new undeclared Indian war”. Therefore, this article implies that the killing of Dudley George was targeted and inevitable.

Finally, the events at Ipperwash are not isolated. Similar events occurred many times in the past and are against law, since the Government and the police should operate independently. However, the reality makes me believe of the emergence of a police state.

References;

Fennel, T. (1995). Deadly Confrontation on an Ontario Reserve. Maclean`s. 108(38). 22-24.

Hall, T. (1996). Who Killed Dudley George? Canadian Dimension. 29(6). 8-13.

Maclean`s. (1997). An Ipperwash Verdict. 110(19). 37.

Maclean`s. (2001). No Ipperwash Inquiry. 14(41). 16.

The Ipperwash Incident

Posted: October 1, 2011 by jsg91 in Ipperwash

The Ipperwash crisis took place in 1995 at the Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario. The initial dispute was between the Ontario Provincial Police and Stoney Point Ojibway band, who were occupying the Ipperwash Provincial Park by protesting. The Stoney Point Ojibway band was protesting that the fact that the area had belonged to them until it was taken from them during World War II. The land was dispossessed from the Stoney Point Ojibway under the War measures act, for the purposes of establishing a military camp. The primary concern of the Stoney Point band was that the appropriated land was also a burial site. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) had a plan in place to deal with this protest that emphasized coming to a resolution in a peaceful manner. Tensions rose when a confrontation took place at the Sandy Parking area of the park where it was alleged that protesters were carrying bats and sticks with which they were vandalizing vehicles. The OPP had dispatched a Crowd Management Unit and a Tactical Response Unit to try and contain the riot situation that occurred. One protester was arrested for using excessive force, and the protesters claimed that they were unarmed. However, during this riot the OPP heard what they perceived to be gunfire which led them to open fire on the protesters. The result of this gunfire was the death of Anthony O’Brien George, who was also known as “Dudley” George. He was shot because he was carrying a dark tree branch which was perceived to be a rifle by the officer who shot and wounded George. “Mr. George was the first Aboriginal person to be killed in a land rights dispute in Canada since the 19th century.”

An inquiry was launched on November 12, 2003. Sergeant Ken Dean was convicted of criminal negligence causing death after a court ruled he did not have a “reasonable belief” George was armed. Surveillance footage was discovered in 2004 which showed officers making racists statements towards the protesters prior to the death of Dudley George.Stan Korosec, in charge of the OPP emergency response team at Ipperwash, said, “We want to amass a fucking army. A real fucking army and do this. Do these fuckers big-time.” Former attorney general Charles Harnick also testified that then Premier Mike Harris said “I want the f****** Indians out of the park”. These statements highlight deviance on the part of the police and on the part of the Premier who ultimately gave to permission for the Tactical Response Unit to enter the area. The racist attitudes of the police could have lead to the use of deadly force where it was not necessary and if so their actions should be considered deviant and they should be held responsible as was Sergeant Ken Dean who shot and killed an unarmed George Dudley. One representative of the George family stated that with the attitudes the officers had towards the natives “Makes it pretty easy to shoot an Indian”. The events that transpired at Ipperwash Provincial Park highlighted the strained relationship between the natives and the police which ultimately lead to the shooting and death of George Dudley.

The inquiry yielded many suggestions however,only few results. the Ontario provincial government announced that they would be returning the land to the Stony Point First Nations on December 20, 2007. The process of transferring ownership took place gradually. It began with a co-management role between the Province and the Aboriginals, and eventually on May 28, 2009 control of the park was officially signed over to the Stony Point Band. Some of the recommendations to come out of the inquiry can be viewed here. The findings suggested that the police were unjustified in opening fire which eventually lead to charges being laid on Sargeant Ken Dean, and they dealt with such a sensitive and complex issue incorrectly. A major contributor to the aforementioned strain between the police and Aboriginal people was how land treaties and claims were dealt with. “the single biggest source of frustration, distrust, and ill-feeling among Aboriginal people in Ontario is our failure to deal in a just and expeditious way with breaches of treaty and other legal obligations to First Nations.”. The frustration also stems from the inquiry which produced many positive recommendations that were never put into action. Though the land was returned, many if not most of the recommendations made in the inquiry were not implemented.

Upon entering “Ipperwash Incident, investigation, implications” on the Google search engine I obtained 2630 results. The first result that came up was a Wikipedia page which was sectioned and laid out in chronological order starting from the background of the dispute up to the inquiry and the return of the land. Of the nine other results that came up two were from the attorney general, one was from CBC, one was from Amnesty international, one was a site dedicated specifically to the events that occurred at Ipperwash Provincial Park and the remaining were from local blogs. The information appears to be dated except for the Wikipedia page which can be updated daily and the link from Amnesty International was posted on September 18, 2011. The results indicate diverse sources of information. I find one limitation in the search results; that limitation being that there is no testimony from an officer attending the scene outside of those who testified within the inquiry. Such testimony would be vital to understand what made the officers feel that it was necessary to their safety to open fire. I think that one could get a fairly clear picture of the incident because the results retrieved come from both the point of view of the Stoney Point Ojibway and the Government. The picture that emerges from the first page of results is one that portrays the Indians as victims. Their treaty rights, their right to protest safely as well as their indigenous rights appear to have been violated by the police. Also, the information seems to be saying that violence was completely avoidable seeing as that the inquiry showed that the natives were unarmed.

Links:

http://www.amnesty.ca/resource_centre/news/view.php?load=arcview&article=5376&c=Resource+Centre+News

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/inquiries/ipperwash/report/vol_1/pdf/E_Vol_1_Conclusion.pdf

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/ipperwash/

http://www.ojen.ca/sites/ojen.ca/files/sites/default/files/resources/Ipperwash%20Inquiry%20English.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipperwash_Crisis#Inquiry