Abstract

This paper discusses the role of police forces in Aboriginal protests and confrontations. It takes as a case study the Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry, which was released on May 31, 2007. In 1995 Dudley George, a member of the Stoney Point First Nation, was shot by an Ontario Provincial Police officer during a protest at Ipperwash Provincial Park. Five recommendations are proposed in this paper to reduce the inherent tensions in such protests, focusing on methods of mediation and conflict resolution. In particular, it is proposed that during such protests a more extensive use be made of Aboriginal persons with training and skills in mediation and negotiations in order to improve communication between police and First Nations protesters. It is also evident that government officials need to become more actively involved in resolving land claims, especially before they become flashpoints for violence, and to remove such disputes from the realm of criminal activity to matters of civil litigation.

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