FOREST (CP) – The OPP were praised yesterday by native participants at an information session hosted by the Ipperwash inquiry for moving to improve policing in Indian communities since the 1995 death of native activist Dudley George.
“This movement all began after the death of Dudley,” George’s brother Sam said after hearing of training courses offered by the provincial police since his brother was killed by a police sniper on Sept. 6, 1995, as police marched on native protesters.
“It’s as if Dudley gave them a little shove,” Sam George said.
His cousin, OPP Insp. Ron George, was a presenter at the forum.
“I personally don’t profess to have reached everybody,” Ron George told the session.
Bob Goulais, an official with the Union of Ontario Indians, praised efforts over the past decade to improve policing in aboriginal communities, but urged a concerted plan to stem drug abuse and promote native leadership in the force.
“We can rid drugs from our communities, and we need to do that with leadership in police services,” Goulais said.
OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface said the force has attempted to move forward in relations with aboriginal communities.
“Some of them (initiatives) were ongoing, but you know my passion for these issues,” Boniface said.
The public inquiry into George’s death resumes Feb. 6.
George and two dozen other Stoney Point Indians occupied Ipperwash Provincial Park Sept. 4, 1995, claiming it contained burial grounds.