In this disquieting story of broken promises and thwarted justice, the Anishinaabe of Stoney Point tell of the long struggle to reclaim their ancestral homeland, both before and after the Ipperwash crisis.
In 1995, police shot and killed Dudley George on the site of the former Stoney Point Reserve, near Ipperwash provincial park. But this was just the climax of a long story, told here, for the first time, by George’s sister, cousins, and others from the Stoney Point Reserve.
They tell of broken promises and thwarted hopes in the decades-long battle to reclaim their ancestral homeland. We hear of the devastation wrought by forcible eviction when the government re-purposed Nishnaabeg ancestral territory as an army training camp in 1942, promising to return it after the war. By May 1993, the elders had waited long enough. They entered the still-functioning training camp, under cover of a picnic outing, and constituted themselves as the interim government of the reclaimed Stoney Point Reserve. The next two years brought cultural and social revival, however their actions were ultimately quashed as an illegal occupation.
Offering insights into Nishnaabeg lifeways and historical treaties, this compelling account conveys how government decisions have affected lives, livelihoods, and identity. Our Long Struggle for Home also shows what can be accomplished through perseverance and undiminished belief in a better future. This is a necessary lesson on colonialism, the power of resistance, persistence, and the possibilities inherent in recognizing treaty rights.
How hard it is for Canada to give back borrowed land? Hear the stories of many Elders, family members and witnesses who were physically moved off Aazhoodenaang in 1942, without warning, as Canada appropriated Stony Point Reservation for army purposes. Read how those moved, their children and even grandchildren, struggled to have their “borrowed” lands returned after WWII in 1945. Children of the 40’s have become the Elders in the 90’s who have engaged their offspring as Aazhoodenaang Enjibaajig, the ones who come from Stony Point. Their Anookiiwin, work, was and continues to be, a responsibility, duty and right to support their families, community and Ancestors. Their Anookiiwin is to ensure Canada returns land they “borrowed” in 1942 to Stony Point descendants.
A 2016 final settlement agreement was negotiated and signed with Kettle and Stony Point Band Council; a modern union imposed on two independent First Nations. Land was scheduled to be returned but remains under federal government control with no timeline to return completely. The struggle continues for those who strive to live on their Ancestorial Lands, honouring the burial grounds and to rebuild their nation, continuing memories for those yet to be.
A must read. Miigwech to the settler who listened carefully and wrote the stories through the voices of Aazhoodenaang Enjibaajig. - Dr. Laura Horton