‘It’s quite a thing’: Kettle and Stony Point First Nation get first in series of modular homes for freezing members

The first two mobile homes have arrived at the old Ipperwash military camp at Stony Point First Nation.

After many delays, the anticipation of his new home has fueled Pierre George’s emotions.

“It’s just quite a thing put it that way, I’ve lasted all these years here just, living, freezing, doing whatever eh, now I’m coming in out of the deep freeze,” he says.

For the past three months George has been living in a motel room.

He left his old place because it didn’t have heat.

“They just put me in a motel because I was freezing here, I mean really freezing.”

According to Kettle and Stony Point First Nation Chief, Jason Henry, a total of 20 homes are expected to arrive by the end of March.

Henry says he’s been working with the Department of National Defense on a permanent for housing for the 30 families living here, some without heat and clean running tap water.

The land, also known as Camp Ipperwash, is unsurrendered land belonging to Stony Point First Nation.

It was claimed by the federal government in 1942 under the war measures act and used as an army training camp.

In 1993, Pierre and about 50 other land protectors moved into the barracks, reclaiming what was taken.

Two years later, Pierre’s brother Dudley was shot and killed by the Ontario Provincial Police at Ipperwash Provincial Park nearby.

In 2016, a final settlement agreement was reached with Canada.

It will take some time before the land turned back over to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point.

According to the law, this is still a military installment and it will remain so until all the unexploded ordinance are removed.

“And there are many, here we’re a quarter century still from getting all of the contaminants unexploded ordnance out of the ground” says Henry.

He says the arrival of the homes is reason to celebrate.

“Today is like the reverse of what happened 79 years ago.  They took our homes, they put them on trucks and they trucked him down the highway to kettle point and that’s where most of us were displaced,” he says.

George is said it’s been a long fight.  Last September the community commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Ipperwash Crisis and the death of his younger brother Dudley “he’d be happy for me.”

He’s excited for the future with his family “I’ll have the grandsons right there, I’ll be able to take them out in the bush in stuff, they love it around here.”

Annette Francis