Ontario signs deal to transfer Ipperwash park to First Nations group
In what is being hailed as a watershed event, Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid signed a deal Thursday to begin transfer of Ipperwash Provincial Park to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.
The handover was a key recommendation that came out of the 2007 inquiry into the death of aboriginal activist Dudley George.
George had occupied the park, along with other aboriginal protesters and was shot after a confrontation with Ontario Provincial Police in 1995.
The Stoney Point First Nation claims the area contains a native burial ground and the status of the park led to the violent protest that resulted in George's death.
The government will also pay the cost of erecting a memorial to George in the park, which had remained closed because of the land dispute but is expected to reopen to the public next spring.
It won't become part of the reserve right away but Thursday's deal outlined the steps to make that happen.
Established in 1936, the 56-hectare park is located on the southern shore of Lake Huron, near the town of Grand Bend.
With files from The Canadian Press