September 6, 2007
Members of the
Ontario Legislative Assembly
Today is the 12th anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed Native protester Anthony “Dudley” George at Ipperwash Park, an event that continues to have a profound impact on all residents of Ontario.
In May the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry offered hope that its 98
recommendations might contain the seeds of a better future for First Nations people who live in this province.
“The provincial government and other institutions must redouble their efforts to build successful, peaceful relations with the aboriginal peoples in Ontario so we can all live peacefully and productively,” said Justice Sidney Linden, releasing his 1500-page report after hearing 140 witnesses over 25 months.
On June 29, the 42 member communities of the Anishinabek Nation launched an Era of Action campaign to martial support for the Ipperwash Inquiry’s key recommendations. Thousands of postcards have been distributed across Ontario petitioning signatures to urge Ontario’s premier to work with the federal government and First Nations to establish the Treaty Commission of Ontario, a permanent, independent and impartial agency to facilitate the settling of land and treaty claims in the province.
As the Oct. 10 provincial election approaches, First Nation citizens
across Ontario are expecting to see candidates’ platforms reflect
Ipperwash Inquiry report recommendations designed to reverse what Commissioner Linden called “centuries of discrimination and dispossession.”
Following the upcoming provincial election, we will present the incoming premier with postcards signed by municipal mayors, Ontario legislators, members of Parliament, clergy, teachers, and other citizens who expect the new government to maintain the momentum established by the Ipperwash Inquiry report.
Ontario’s next government needs to use those actions as a foundation upon which to build respectful relationships with aboriginal and First Nations peoples. It has already been clearly demonstrated that Dudley George’s death was needless. The provincial government must now show it has learned from the tragedy.
All my relations,
Grand Council Chief