By Maynard “Sam” George
and other brothers and sisters of Dudley George
On September 6, 1995 Dudley George was one of twenty unarmed protesters occupying Ipperwash Provincial Park, demonstrating against the provincial government’s destruction of traditional burial grounds in the Park. That night the police launched an unprovoked midnight attack on the protesters with a riot squad and night vision snipers. One of the snipers took aim at Dudley in the darkness, and with two bullets brought him down. He died an hour later.
The next morning the cover-up began. “We were only returning native gunfire” said the O.P.P.
“We knew nothing of a police buildup, said the Premier.
We as Dudley’s family knew these things were not true. And for almost two years we have demanded a public judicial inquiry. In the meantime, we have fought to roll back the cover-up, to establish the truth, and to vindicate the honour and the rights of First Nations members everywhere.
The results have been amazing.
But the struggle continues.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED?
- O.P.P. Acting Sgt. Deane has been criminally convicted of shooting and killing Dudley George. This unprecedented conviction has sent shock waves through the police and government.
- The accusation that the First Nations protesters were armed and started the shooting has been proven a police lie.
- Many Canadian organizations and many newspaper editorials have strongly demanded a public inquiry. Both opposition political parties in the Legislature have hammered the government time after time to call an inquiry.
- The young protester who drove a school bus at police riot squad lines to stop the savage beating of a fellow First Nation protester was acquitted in court of assaulting police. The court said that the driver’s action endangered police lives - but that this was justified to try to stop the police beating.
WHY KEEP ON FIGHTING?
The Dudley George fight must continue!
- The most important people responsible for Dudley’s death and for this attack on first Nations’ rights have not yet been held accountable:
- Senior police officers who gave the riot squad and the snipers the mandate for violence,
- Police officers who savagely beat a peacemaking Band councillor,
- Politicians who pressured police to attack the protesters. Three hours before Dudley was shot, Conservative MPP Marcel Beaubien met with the police commanders to urge them to act earlier that afternoon, Mr. Beaubien had made his position clear, saying “The time to act, and act decisively, is now. If people are hurt, so be it …”
- The Premier and some Cabinet ministers. There are indications that the highest officers in the province actively encouraged the use of police violence.
- On July 3, 1997 the police officer convicted of shooting Dudley was sentenced to a two year conditional term requiring 180 hours of community service and will not serve any jail time.
The fight of Dudley’s family is your fight - if politicians and police can go free, untouched after causing the death of First Nations rights demonstrators, will your community be next?