Shortly after leaving Sheridan College in 2005, I began work on the The Ipperwash Park Film Project. It was originally planned to be a short educational documentary for high school students and the general public. The hope was the film would fill in some of the informational gaps that were growing out of the ongoing Ipperwash Inquiry. At the time, the Commissioner of the Inquiry, Justice Sidney Linden, had ruled that the land dispute that was behind the 1995 occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park was beyond his mandate. I was asked by Dudley George’s brother, Sam George, and his lawyer, Murray Klippenstein, to transform some of the existing research into something “entertaining” that would hold the attention of an audience that wouldn’t normally be interested in Indigenous or social justice issues.
On a rather small budget, I set to work attempting to transport the audience back to 1928, when the Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation originally sold the beachfront of the Aux Sable Reserve (also known as the Au Sauble Reserve, the Stoney Point Reserve or Stony Point Reserve) to a land speculator. That land speculator happened to be the Mayor of Sarnia. The actor who appeared in this historical recreation happened to be my father, who was kind enough to allow me to dress him up in a suit on a hot day and make him stand on the top of the sand dunes at Camp Ipperwash while I filmed him from every angle.
Project: The Ipperwash Park Film Project
Scene: The Mayor and the Beachfront
Client: Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors