Four IPSMO members visited Barriere Lake Reserve in Lac Rapide QC, on unsurrendered Algonquin Territory on June 27, 2009. The purpose of visiting the community was to deliver things needed for Kitchi Megwam, a community, volunteer-run school. The items we collected and delivered included food, cleaning supplies, a fridge, a DVD player, a VCR, a TV, hot plates, computers, monitors, school supplies and clothing, weighted about 1500 ~2000 kilograms. More than $1100 was also donated towards the school. $506.85 was spent on purchasing food supplies for the school’s breakfast program.
This is our second visit to the community school to help equip them with basic supplies. Krishna, one of the four people who went up to the reserve stayed overnight in order to assess their computer capacity and needs.
During the process of soliciting donations, we approached the owner of GoodMinds.com, a Native owned and operated Native educational resources business that is located on the Six Nations Reserve at Brantford, Jeff Burnham, to see if we could open an account for the Kitchi Megwam school so that the volunteer teachers could easily obtain Anishnaabe language books and culturally appropriate literatures. Jeff Burnham agreed and generously offered 25% off from all the purchases from the school.
More, in the month of collecting supplies for the school, the owner of Thyme and Again, a local catering business, Sheila Whyte, was very kind donating bulk food such as flour, potatoes, sugar and rice to Kitchi Megwam school and opened up her store as a drop-off point for the public. Please see the article about her action – http://wellora.jungle.ca/?p=1000 on Wellington Oracle.
The task of collecting and delivering items to the school is very time and labour consuming and not very sustainable, though we got a chance to educate the donors about the Algonquin of Barriere Lake’s situation. Our next objective is to help the school finish setting up their computer facilities.
Special thanks to Sylvia and Warren for their hard work on this project.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake (4 hours north of Ottawa) have been fighting for years to have their land, their language, and their constitutionally guaranteed right to sovereignty recognized by the Federal and Provincial governments. These Governments have ignored the Tri-lateral agreements that were signed in 1991 and have left the community in a state of poverty while their lands and resources are exploited by large corporations. Last October and November, the community held peaceful protests to request for the governments’ responses to their demands, which have put many of the community leaders in jail.
Furthermore, serious disagreements over eduction and curriculum have led to strained relations between community parents and the teachers hired by Barriere Lake’s Third Party Managers to run the local Indian Affairs funded school. When parents discovered that one of the teachers was withholding rewards to punish students who spoke their Algonquin language during class, they took matters into their own hands and started an alternative school. The volunteer-run Kitchi Megwam school combines the usual curriculum with traditional knowledge and language to ensure these are passed on to future generations.
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See more articles at http://www.dominionpaper.ca/topics/barriere_lake
- Barriere Lake Solidarity http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/
- PeaceCulture.org http://www.peaceculture.org/drupal/node/190
- Taking the Road Back: From Wampum Belt Promises to Highway Blockades http://citizen.nfb.ca/blogs/podcasts/2009/01/08/taking-the-road-back-from-wampum-belt-promises-to-highway-blockades/
- Blockade on the 117 http://blip.tv/file/1391794
- Barriere Lake / Second Blockade of Highway 117 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyGBFMwjhXM