Yesterday I wrote about an historical event that took place right where I live. Stoney Point reserve is finally being returned to its rightful owners after being swindled out of it by our government. There was a symbolic “Going Home Walk” between the divided reserve. I live in the strip of land between.
I had to work yesterday and missed it; I was hoping to see some walkers on my way back but it was over by the time I drove home. I did see some OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) at the Stoney Point gates and wondered if there had been a fight. Some of the Stoney (yes, they spell it with an ‘e’) Point descendants feel the settlement should be just with them and not be shared with Kettle Point. Pierre George was very vocal about it and I expected he would put up a fight. Dudley George was his brother. Pierre drove with Dudley as he died from a gunshot wound from an OPP officer. He still suffers with PTSD from the incident. At heart, he is a warrior.
I usually don’t bother turning on my computer at all when I’ve worked all day but I wanted to see what happened. On Facebook I read a post from my niece condemning the local newspaper for posting a terrible photo. I went to look, still not knowing what happened, and there was a photo of Pierre George on fire, his face contorted in pain and horror. And that was the whole story. Protester, brother of slain Dudley George, accidentally set on fire during a protest. It barely mentioned the Going Home Walk and there were no photos of that.
All the local papers picked up the photo and the story. The local station on TV showed the picture and talked about the ‘protest’. The Going Home Walk was trivialized and hardly mentioned. I wondered if it even happened or was stopped.
This morning, thankfully, some private photos of the Walk showed up on Facebook. Hwy 21 between the reserves was closed down as they walked from Kettle Point to Stoney Point. People carried signs with the photos and names of their elders who were forced off their land. They were symbolically ‘bringing them home’. I was sorry I missed it (but glad I got to work before they closed down the highway!) There were supporters along the way. The local dog groomers gave out bottles of water. It was a great event. Until they reached Stoney.
Pierre George had a small campfire going at the entrance to the camp. As the walkers approached he threw some gasoline on the fire and accidentally set himself on fire. The photographers shot 3 photos. Those were the only photos in the media. That was the only coverage of the whole event.
I’m so disgusted with the photographers and the papers who thought it was OK to use that photo. It’s sickening and hard to get out of my mind: I can’t imagine what the George family must be feeling. I’m heartsick over what has happened. ‘Heartsick’ is the best word for it; my heart is so heavy, it turns my stomach.
I’m going to share a some photos; happy photos.