Jan 23/98: Minimal compensation for Stoney Point families



London Free Press
January 23, 1998
Greg Van Moorsel - Free Press Reporter

[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]

Natives still alive who were forced by Ottawa off their Stoney Point reserve near Sarnia in 1942 would see only a fraction of a $26-million proposal to hand it back, a confidential document suggests. The London Free Press this week revealed details of a proposed deal in the offing for Ottawa to return the land it took to set up a wartime army training camp along Lake Huron's south shore. Under the proposal, not yet fully nailed down by negotiators, Ottawa would return Camp Ipperwash lands, rebuild a native community there and flow millions of dollars in group benefits to the The Kettle and Stony Point band. The proposal was detailed in a confidential legal summary, obtained by The Free Press and prepared for one group of the natives. The estimated 22 survivors actually displaced from the Ipperwash-area land -- which was to be returned after the Second World War -- would share in $2.3 million in total individual compensation.

But since that total would be divided several ways, including to members of a wider band, the payout to original Stoney Pointers could be as little as $15,000 each, the summary document suggests. The memo outlines four types of compensation, including a total of $330,000 for the still-living original residents and $506,000 to be divided among holders of 1942 "location tickets" at Stoney Point -- who held rights to possession -- or heirs and beneficiaries. The rest would go to senior members of the wider band.


One Stoney Point man, who led some natives back onto the base land in 1993, saying they were tired of waiting for its return, said Thursday it's unclear how many original residents would also stand to get location-ticket money in the reported proposal. "That's the million-dollar riddle," Maynard T. George said. George said even if the original residents access the extra money, it's not nearly enough compensation for families uprooted in 1942. "That's why I have to reject it." Kettle Point and Stoney Point, at opposite ends of the Ipperwash area where a native protester was gunned down by the OPP in 1995, were separate reserves until 1942. Today only one band, the Kettle and Stony Point band, is recognized by the federal government. The Stoney Pointers, who occupy the former Camp Ipperwash, contend they are a separate group.

The proposed settlement was set out in detail in the confidential memo obtained by The Free Press, although both sides insist there's nothing in writing to approve yet. Federal and native negotiators have spent nearly two years trying to forge an agreement to return the former base land, subject to approval by the band and Ottawa. One of the most contentious parts of the proposed settlement in the memo calls for Ottawa to try to get Ontario to turn over Ipperwash Provincial Park for a transfer to native reserve status.


The park twist -- previously unknown to the Ontario government -- also prompted Ontario deputy Natural Resources minister Ron Vrancart to write a federal counterpart this week, demanding a "full explanation" of the proposal. In his letter, a "dismayed" Vrancart blamed federal "inaction" to return the military base for a 1995 native occupation of the park. It has remained closed since. Dudley George, a native protester, was shot dead outside the park in a clash with a heavily armed OPP force after the occupation at the end of the 1995 season. Negotiations to resolve the Camp Ipperwash dispute are expected to resume soon, Michael Coyle, a mediator chairing the talks, said from Ottawa. "The negotiators would like to get together again as soon as possible but they don't have a confirmed date yet."

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