Even now in the 21st century - his century - he finds racism still runs deep, in the city and on the reserve. And it is more than simple prejudice. Canada is no South Africa, but there is enough of a fissure that it amounts to a subtle form of apartheid.
Intentionally or not, too much of Canada continues to push natives into a second-class carriage, and too many native leaders keep them there. In workplaces, sports teams, schools and places of worship, there are powerful divisions that perpetuate a two-tier society, the one that Paul Papigatuk, a Quebec Inuit leader, calls "our caste system."
In the big nickel mine on Papigatuk's people's land, I could not help but feel I was witnessing a scene out of the American South, with Inuit taking the place of blacks in the menial and unskilled jobs while whites held every position of authority above them.
That's not the mining company's fault. Decades of failed education, social and cultural policies, as well as retrograde attitudes among many aboriginal leaders, has ensured that most people in Papigatuk's village can't do much more than hunt, fish and wash dishes.
To break the barriers, which is what most Canadians seem to want, we must do more than hope a few more like George Leach will come along. We also need to do more than bet on quick fixes, as one government after another has done for the past 40 years.
I came to this view as I travelled the country, meeting natives and non-natives and writing about our complex and often misunderstood relationship in very ordinary situations.
Through the first 13 parts of this series, it has become clear that regardless of the setting - a hockey team, theatre group, tree nursery, high school - centuries of contact have done precious little to bring us closer together.
What Canada can do to end its silent apartheid is to follow the lessons learned in dealing with poverty overseas. To start, our government must stop chasing symptoms, be they alcohol abuse or unemployment. And Canadians must stop asking: How do we fix the native problem?
We don't. We fix the relationship.
The repair work starts here, in the news media, and runs through the education system, where aboriginal relations continue to be treated as a novelty, when they're treated at all.
Canadians, both native and non-native, need a far more honest understanding of our history, and our ongoing relationship. Instead, from kindergarten to rocking chair, we get little more than a highlight reel of confrontations that affect only a small minority on both sides.
The relationship has to be changed as well, starting with the land claims and reserves that form the deepest roots of a Canadian apartheid.
Both federal and provincial levels of governments continue to spend billions of dollars a year on aboriginal social problems that show few signs of abating, while refusing to invest in the land disputes that continue to divide peoples. More money spent on land claims today could end far more money sucked away by the symptoms of alienation tomorrow.
But the federal government is dangerously moving in the other direction, looking for the quick fixes - the Band-Aids of development - to show to voters that the situation is not all hopeless. Without some effort at prevention, the wounds will continue to fester.