Dudley George's brother in serious condition after being accidentally set on fire
WARNING: This story contains graphic material
What was supposed to be a day of celebration for members of the Kettle Point First Nation was marred by a scene of chaos, anger and pain as the brother of slain protester Dudley George was burned at the side of a gas-soaked protest fire.
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Kettle Point members were holding a four-kilometre walk on Sunday from their land, near Sarnia, Ont., to the site of a former army camp that's scheduled to be returned to the band. The walk was meant to celebrate the agreement with Ottawa for the land, which was meant to unite different factions within the band and give compensation to elders and their families who were moved to make way for the base during the Second World War.
Some descendants of the 16 families from the army camp lands, known as Stony Point, set a protest fire in front of the camp gatehouse. Other band members tried to put out the fire with small water containers, and onlookers say Perry (Pierre) Neil Watson George, 61,was trying to pour a portable gas can on the fire to re-ignite it when the can fell and flames rushed up his arms and across his chest.
Some said he caught fire when the can was kicked back at him. Quickly removing his shirt, George was walking and talking to supporters while an ambulance was called.
George was to be taken from a Sarnia hospital to a burn unit in London, Ont., with second-degree burns on his hands, ears, and neck, according to Jesse Oliver, a Stony Pointer who helped him set the protest fire. The two set the fire to show not all band members support the agreement.
Ontario Provincial Police say they are investigating the incident. They describe George's burns as serious, but not life-threatening.
Brother shot by police in 1995
George's brother, Dudley George, was shot and killed by police when a splinter group of about 30 members of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation occupied nearby Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995, claiming it contained a sacred burial ground.
The First Nation announced Saturday that it had ratified an agreement that includes a financial settlement in excess of $90 million, the return of land appropriated by the federal government in 1942 under the War Measures Act and a cleanup of Stony Point lands.
The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation is located along the shores of Lake Huron, 35 kilometres northeast of Sarnia, Ont.
Chief Thomas Bressette said Saturday that now that the negotiation process is complete, the First Nation can focus on healing and strengthening community relations.
Bressette has promised payments to all band members with larger amounts to the Stony Point elders and their descendants.
Chief accused of buying votes
Some Stony Pointers, however, have accused Bressette of buying band members' votes by offering $5,000 to every band member whether they have Stony Point ancestry or not.
The vote, held almost 20 years to the day after Dudley George's shooting death by a provincial police sniper, was passed "overwhelmingly" Friday, according to a news release from the Kettle Point band.
In spite of his support for the agreement, Bressette told reporters before Sunday's incident the deal is inadequate.
"If people analyzed this deal they would see how badly we've been treated by the government of this county," he said, describing it as "bittersweet" for his people.
He said the deal is unfair because it does not include money for a "healing package" that would pay for therapists and traditional healers to help those traumatized by the original removal and events surrounding the death of Dudley George in 1995.
WARNING: The image below contains graphic material.
With files from CBC News