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.
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.