The Other Side

Whenever there is a conflict it’s important to try to understand the both points of view. This video was made for that purpose.

I understand, now the concept of the beach connection between Kettle and Stony Point. To many outsiders they are just “the Indians” so they can’t see a community divided.

aerial KP

At the beginning of WW 2 the First Nations allowed the military to use Stony Point as a military training camp with the agreement they would return it after the war was over. All the residents of Stony Point were moved onto Kettle Point. Some were left displaced as they were refugees from reserves that had shrunk or disappeared from Southern Ontario and had no family ties on Kettle Point; no families to move in with.

Now you take any group of human beings, anywhere on this planet, push them all into a smaller place and there’s going to be trouble; family feuds and such. By the 1990’s the grandchildren of the displaced Stony Point families were busting the get their ancestral land back and make a home.

The land has been returned. The army barracks are now makeshift homes. There is a barricade around the entire place. You must enter by a gated, manned entrance and will only be let in if you are a band member. Many Kettle Point residents don’t go there….. it’s ‘Stony’. The family feuds are still strong; Chief Tom Bressette isn’t allowed in. It’s anarchy. I read this morning that the Peoples at Stony were not told about the barriers coming down.  So are Tom Bressette’s motives pure? Or is this a power play? That remains to be seen.

A great healing needs to take place within the community. Many see the opening of the beach, to drive between the two reserves, as doing that; connecting the communities. Now, taking the Lakeshore Parkway that is lined with cottages doesn’t give that connective feel. I understand that.

But there is still the issue of wanting to have a beach that vehicles can’t drive on. The land owners of this stretch of land could just as easily close the beach to everyone but they don’t. They let the public enjoy it but no cars.

On Sunday there is going to be a protest but now I’m not sure if I’m going. The landowners are going to come with their deeds that say they own to “the water’s edge”. I think that’s enough. I’m not sure confrontation is the way to go here.

But I wish they would promote a “Walk the Beach” campaign and encourage the residents of Kettle and Stony Point to take the walk between the two reserves and experience it the way their ancestors did.

One day I was walking on the beach and three eagles flew out from Kettle Point, over my head, went to Stony Point then disappeared into the woods there. That is a healing experience.

I wish this for all of us.


Little Town of Strangers

I live in a small beach community in a strip of land between two First Nation’s Reserves; Kettle Point and Stony Point. This area was once given to the natives by ‘the crown’.

map of KP(Kettle Point is the pink area, Stony Point is the green and I’m near that black smudge in between.)

Ipperwash Beach was just too popular to let the natives keep it so about 100 years ago it was sliced off for white tourists. The natives could come and sell trinkets and such but were expected to stay in their place.


The original reserve was divided into two small reserves with a strip of ‘publicly’ owned land only a few kilometers wide. Stony Point became a home to many displaced families as reserves around southern Ontario became smaller and smaller. People were forced off their land, many finding refuge with families on other reserves. Those without families or were too old or infirm, could settle in Stony Point.

At the beginning of the Second World War, our government took Stony Point reserve over for a military camp. The natives were given some money and told they would all have to move onto Kettle Point. Since many of them were already displaced from other reserves, they had nowhere to go; no families in Kettle Point to move in with.

The government did not give the land back after the war.  The  beach became Ipperwash Provincial Park.  The rest of the land became Camp Ipperwash; a military training camp.  In the 1960’s and ’70s the natives started to make a case to get their land back. It was in the land claims courts for years and years, being put off again and again. Finally, in frustration, a group of natives took over Ipperwash Provincial Park.  Riot police were sent in, there was a stand-off for months.

stand off

Tensions built until it finally erupted in violence. Dudley George, a likeable young man, was shot and killed. This brought everything out in the open; the government had no public support. The truth came out in an official Inquiry and years later a public apology was made to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point and to the George family.

This is past history but it’s still fresh around here. There is still an underlying tension between the native and white population. Of course, there are racists on both sides, they’re everywhere in every race. But there’s still a division here; a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Whites are reluctant to go onto the reserve. I was taking a friend to see Kettle Point (it’s a point on Lake Huron with kettle rocks) and she asked if we were allowed to be there.


At the Powwow there are very few local non-band members. A perfect time for the whole community to come together but neither side makes any effort to do so.

Stony Point is anarchy.  The natives have it back but there is no infrastructure whatsoever. There is a gated entrance to turn away any non-band member. Even many of the Kettle Point residents don’t want to go there.

Walking on Ipperwash Beach north of Army Camp road is not allowed. It’s off limits to anyone but band members.

Stony Point

In between it all lays the community I live in; cottagers, campers and those who decided to ‘winterize’ and stick it out all year. We have many trailer parks with year-round residents. We are a community of strangers.

What I like best about it here is that there is no “keeping up with the Jones’ “.  People here would raise up their beer, say “F*#k the Joneses!” and drive away on their golf cart; the most coveted of possessions.  The nicest homes are on the reserve; it’s not the same as up north where there is no work. Here we have whites who don’t want to live in a white-washed world and don’t have to!

Here it’s strangers like me who found a place to not fit in, comfortably.