A. McKay, Portfolio

 
 

This work is not meant to condone in any way the killing of Dudley George, in fact it is a condemnation - but also a commentary on the forces, cultural and political, that lead to his tragic death.

A Re-construction of the Killing of Dudley George, 49 seconds, 2003, Installation shot (see Quicktime video for performance). Dudley George was the only person killed in Canada during a land dispute between First Nations and the Crown in the 20th century. He was killed by an OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) officer in 1995. In 2003 I shot Peter Edward’s book supporting George’s cause One Dead Indian, three times, as Dudley had been shot. I used an 18th c musket. Dudley was a descendent of an important Indian leader, Chief Tecumseh, who fought with the British/Canadians during the War of 1812. Dudley died by the hand of the Crown not far where Tecumseh died at the hand of the Americans. Dudley was on land given to his people because of the efforts and loyalty of Tecumseh, and others like him, in defending the Crown. The Crown took the land for military training at the onset of the Second World War, promising to return it at the close of the war, which they did not. Many of Dudley’s people fought and died for Canada and Britain during the two World Wars and continue to be play a major role in Canada’s military. In December of 2007 at the close of a long enquiry on the cause of Dudley George’s death the Ontario Provincial Government announced its intentions to return the land Dudley died for to his people.

The video is edited to sound like a modern high powered rifle. The Gallery installation is evocative of an evidence or museum exhibition. On the wall we see the musket and accouterment, the shot book (Dudley), the circles of paper (flesh) punched out of the book by the 3/4 inch musket ball, and photocopies of pages of the book explaining Dudley’s relationship to Chief Tecumseh. Below is a small monitor playing the video looped. The musket shots echo throughout the gallery.