Natives seek truth in fire ceremony

Native people set up outside the Ipperwash inquiry as Mike Harris
By John Miner, London Free Press
Photos by Sue Reeve

FOREST – Natives outside the Ipperwash inquiry yesterday drummed, sang, prayed and maintained a sacred fire that leaders said they hoped would lead to the truth.
About two dozen people crowded into a teepee set up beside the community centre where former premier Mike Harris was testifying.
The debwewin circle, or truth ceremony, was attended by brothers and sisters of Dudley George, who was killed during a confrontation with police at Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995, as well as by Angus Toulouse, regional chief of the Chiefs of Ontario, and John Beaucage, chief of the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council.
Photographers and television camera people were allowed to shoot photos of the fire before the start of the sacred ceremony and then asked to leave.
Beaucage said similar ceremonies had been held over thousands of years by natives to call upon the Creator to judge the fairness and truth of words being spoken.
“Each of us can judge the truth in our own hearts. We know from the length and breadth of our own history that the truth will always come out at some point,” he said.
“We are just here as people to understand and listen and to hope that each and every person is telling the truth.”
George’s brother, Sam, said he hoped the fire would help bring out the truth.
“We have sat through this process for close to 20 months and we are not here to judge anybody. We are here to listen to what they have to say.”

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