The 1990s were a tumultuous time for Native people in Canada.
The Oka Crisis changed this reporters’ life at the tender age of 14 while serving as a call to the outside world.
Another important protest against the colonial takeover of Indian land happened in 1995 at Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario.
A small group of protestors gathered at the park to bring light to yet another injustice against the Stoney Point band.
During the Second World War, the Canadian military forcibly took the land in question as a base. They promised to give it back after the war, but as is the case in many Native-Canada instances, that promise was broken.
CTV’s One Dead Indian, directed by Tim Southam, takes a closer look at the build-up to the tragic events in September 1995 that took the life of peaceful protestor Dudley George, and resulted in 28 blunt force trauma blows to Slippery George, another protestor.
Based on the book by the same name, One Dead Indian aims to answer some questions and leave others open to debate.
Dakota House of North of 60 fame plays Dudley George and does a great job. He exudes youthful vigor and angst, and portrays George as a protector of Native rights and at the same time a little confused.
His heart is in the right place and he’s winning the battle against alcohol, but he still acts irrational at times and has a history of run-ins with the police. That’s not to say, of course, that the police were right to shoot him.
The movie is adorned with the usual Native drama suspects, including Jennifer Podemski, Gordon Tootoosis, and Pamela Mathews, among others.
In the end, Kenneth Deane, the officer who shoots George, is found guilty of criminal negligence and is sentenced to two years less a day, plus 180 hours of community service. Deane does not miss a day of work, nor does he get docked any of his pay or demoted.
The movie — probably for legal reasons – doesn’t fully address Mike Harris’role in George’s death. Many believe that he was the one who ordered the botched raid and is set to testify at the public inquiry in 2006. It was only after Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government was elected in Ontario that an inquiry was called.
One Dead Indian airs on CTV January 4 at 8 pm.