George, Sam: Kettle & Stony Point First Nations Walks On

Nipissing First Nations, Ontario (ICC)

The Anishinabek Nation declared a four-day period of mourning during June with the passing of Maynard "Sam" George.  Sacred fires have been asked to burn for four days, and that all Anishinabek Nation flags be set at half mast.

Sam passed away June 3 surrounded by family and friends. He had been ill for some time.

Grand Council Chief John Beaucage, on behalf of the 42-member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation has issued the following statement:

"It is with deep regret that I acknowledge the passing of our good friend and leader Sam George. I ask all First Nations, leaders and citizens of the Anishinabek Nation to remember and celebrate Sam's life and contributions to our Nation.

Sam is a true Ogitchidaa - a warrior of kindness and servitude. A humble man who bestowed the virtues of our most sacred teachings and all we hold dear as Anishinabek people. Many of us are happy to call him our friend.

Sam's leadership role in the Ipperwash Inquiry, its resultant social and policy changes is a legacy that will resonate forever in the history of Ontario. Sam did all of this to honour the memory of his brother, Dudley George. Today, Dudley and Sam will celebrate a victory dance in the Spirit World, surrounded by our ancestors and our mightiest warriors of our Nation.

Our thoughts today are with Sam's wife Veronica and members of the George family.  We share in their loss."

Maynard "Sam" George was a citizen of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation. During the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park, his brother, Anthony "Dudley" George, was shot and killed by an OPP sniper on September 6, 1995. Sam led the legal battle to call the government and the police into account. After years of legal wrangling, the government call the Ipperwash Inquiry and the final report issued by Justice Sidney Linden in 2007. The inquiry made a number of recommendations to improve relationships with First Nations, government and police, land claim reforms, treaty implementation, and led to the establishment of the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.

Sam also served as Band Councillor for his home community, and worked with the Elders and Youth. Sam was a traditional drum carrier and a devout family man.  A memorial service was held June 6 at his home at Kettle & Stony Point First Nation.