FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake
Demand Canada Remove Their Indian Act Band Council & Recognize Barriere Lake’s Customary Government
At 10 am, on Tuesday January 24, Barriere Lake Algonquins and allies will rally in front of the Crown and First Nations leaderships’ meeting at the old Ottawa City Hall. In April 2010, the Minister of Indian Affairs imposed a foreign system of governance (Indian Act electoral system) on the Algonquin First Nation of Barriere Lake to avoid honouring the signed agreements and recognizing legitimate leadership.
Barriere Lake’s Customary Governance Code is recognized and affirmed by Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. By interfering in Barriere Lake’s internal affairs, using section 74 of the Indian Act to forcibly assimilate and destroy the community’s traditional government — a traditional government the community has used for countless generations — The Harper government is violating the Canadian Constitution, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.
“Even after the Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology on behalf of Canadians to former students of the Indian Residential Schools in 2008, the Canadian government has continuously failed to reverse their colonial relationship with our community. Revoking Section 74 of the Indian Act in our community and respecting our customary leadership is the only way to send a positive message on their sincerity to reset our nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations and Canada across the country.” said Norm Matchewan, a youth community spokesperson.
At 10 am, on Tuesday January 24 as the Crown and First Nations leaderships gather at the old Ottawa City Hall, Barriere Lake Algonquins and our allies will rally in front of the meeting place to demand the Canadian government:
REVOKE SECTION 74 OF INDIAN ACT!
RECOGNIZE BARRIERE LAKE’s CUSTOMARY CHIEF AND COUNCIL!
RESPECT BARRIERE LAKE’S SOVEREIGNTY AND SELF-DETERMINATION!
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For further information and interview:
Norm Matchewan, Barriere Lake Community spokesperson: 819-334-0047
For a good background video on Section 74 and the Barriere Lake struggle, see this short 4-minute film: http://vimeo.com/23103527
For more information: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org.