Chief Spence Announces Hunger Strike in Ottawa

Attawapiskat First Nation

Chief Spence Announces Hunger Strike in Ottawa

ATTAWAPISKAT, ON – 11 December 2012. Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation began a hunger strike today in protest of continuing governmental abuses against First Nations. Chief Spence stated: “Canada is violating the right of Indigenous peoples to be self-determining and continues to ignore our constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights in their lands, waters, and resources.”

Chief Spence is profoundly concerned with the hostile and adversarial approach of the Federal Government which is characterized by an intimidating and unilateral approach to working First Nations. Instead of being an advocate of First Nations, the Minister’s office is used to mislead the public about the facts of First Nation social realities and often deflects responsibility by casting blame on First Nations themselves.

First Nations are already severely and chronically underfunded on basic essential services like housing, water, food and education. These discriminatory practices have led to the current poverty crisis which impacts many First Nations which often suffer from multiple over-lapping crises in housing, water, sanitation, food insecurity, health and education.

Attawapiskat First Nation previously declared a State of Emergency in housing as some of their members were living in unheated sheds. Instead of offering assistance, Canada illegally placed the community into third-party management despite there being no problems with their audits. Shortly after the court case confirming Canada’s illegal actions, their proposal for housing was denied, leaving many community members without homes this winter.

Canada has since embarked on an aggressive, assimilatory legislative agenda without having first consulted, accommodated and obtained the consent of First Nations as required by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Further, Canada has attempted to silence First Nation voices by cutting essential funding at both the organizational and community levels. This is not what was envisioned in the treaty relationship.

Chief Spence feels that this backwards approach is not only poisoning Canada’s relationship with First Nations, but will irrevocably destroy the lands and waters that all Canadians need for sustainability and balance. Canada’s actions against First Nations will impact the future generations of all Canadians. She feels that Canada must withdraw the recent suite of legislation being imposed without First Nation consent and reverse its decision to cut funding to First Nation organizations and communities.

Chief Spence is encouraging First Nation leaders to support her on this hunger strike. She will remain on this hunger strike until both Her Majesty the Queen and the Canadian government agree to meet with First Nation leaders and engage in meaningful dialogue on our rights.

Attawapiskat First Nation is a remote, isolated First Nation in North Eastern Ontario, whose traditional territory includes lands around the Attawapiskat and Ekwan river systems in Northern Ontario. They form part of the Cree Nation and are affiliated with the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council.

Attawapiskat First Nation comprises 3,429 band members with approximately 1,800 on-reserve members. Chief Spence also sent an open letter to her membership yesterday (which is attached).

For further information, please contact Chief Theresa Spence (807) 629-6704), or by email to
Exclusive CBC interview on 8th day of hunger strike (Dec 18th) – 17min:

Article by IPSMO member Greg Macdougall:
Idle No More: What does Chief Spence’s hunger strike mean?

Online book: Honouring Indigenous Women: Heart of Nations Vol.2

Click the book cover to download this Vol.

Following the success of Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations Vol. 1, published earlier this year, the Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO) has now launched the second volume!

Sixty-two women and men from various nations contributed to this book. Indigenous women shared their lived experiences with regards to their relationships with the land, their birth mothers, families, communities, and themselves. Their Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies shared their thoughts on responsibilities to (re)build relationships with Indigenous women.

We are very grateful for the authors and artists who courageously shared their stories with us, and are honoured to publish their work. A list of our contributors is provided below.

We also would like to express our gratitude to Under One Roof Properties who generously donated us the layout by Nancy Reid from NR Grafix.

Download the book here:

We are now looking for funds to print it in preparation for our book launch and to offer our contributors paper copies of the book in early 2013. We plan to have this book available for individual purchases, in local libraries and community resource centers, and for use as part of school curricula.

If you would like to help us with distribution, please us at

To make a donation to the campaign, please click this PayPal button

or make a cheque to ‘Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa’ with ‘HIW-Vol.2’ in the memo line. Cheques can be mailed to: IPSMO, c/o OPIRG-Carleton, 326 Unicentre, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6.

The contributors featured in the book are:

Adelle Farrely, Angela Ashawawasegai, Angela Mashford-Pringle, Arlene Bowman, Belinda Daniels, Carrie Bourassa, Catherine M. Pulkinen, Catherine McCarty, Cecelia LaPointe, Cristina Afán Lai, Dawn Karima Pettigrew, Deanna StandingCloud, Donna Roberta Della-Picca, Dvorah Coughlin, Emilie Corbiere, Eva Apuk Jij, Faith Turner, Francine Burning, Greg Macdougall, Heather Shillinglaw, Helen Knott, Janet Marie Rogers, Janine Manning, Jodie-Lynn Waddilove, Lana Whiskeyjack, Leanne Simpson, Lesley Belleau, Linda Lucero, Lisa M. Machell, Lorri Neilsen GlennLouise Vien, Lynn Gehl, Marcie Riel, Margaret Kress-White, Mariel Belanger, Mikhelle Lynn Rossmulkey, Miranda Moore, Mona-Lisa Bourque-Bearskin, Nehi Katawasisiw, Nicole McGrath, PJ Prudat, R. Saya Bobick, Raven Sinclair, Robert A. Horton, Rosie Trakostanec, Samantha Elijah, Shauneen Pete, Simone Nichol, Susan Smith Fedorko, Tamara Pokrupa-Nahanni, Tamara Starblanket Neyihaw, Teresa Rose Beaulieu, Theresa Meuse, Waaseyaa’sin Christine Sy, Yolanda Teresa Philgreen and Zainab Amadahy.

Ottawa Organization Launches New Book Collection Honouring Indigenous Women

For Immediate Release: November 22, 2012

Ottawa Organization Launches New Book Collection Honouring Indigenous Women 

Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory – On November 25, 2012, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO) will launch a new book collection Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations Vol.2. The book will be available at

Following the success of Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations Vol.1, published earlier this year, IPSMO launched its “Honouring Indigenous Women Campaign” and released a call for submissions for the second volume of Honouring Indigenous Women. Through this initiative, the campaign organizers aim to re-centre our understanding of society based on the experiences and perspectives of Indigenous women. They also aim to create a venue where Indigenous peoples and their allies can express themselves through writing and art.

Sixty-two women and men from various nations contributed to this volume. Indigenous women shared their experiences about their relationships with the land, their birth mothers, families, communities, and themselves. Their Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies shared their thoughts on (re)building relationships with Indigenous women.

“We are very grateful for the authors and artists who courageously shared their stories with us, and are honoured to publish their work. We also would like to express our gratitude to Under One Roof Properties who generously donated us the layout by Nancy Reid from NR Grafix. This book was made possible thanks to them,” said Pei-Ju, one of the campaign organizers.

The book is available online free of charge. IPSMO is now looking for funds to print it in early 2013. The book will be available for individual purchase, in local libraries and community resource centers, and for use as part of school curricula. If you would like to help us with distribution, please contact IPSMO at To make a donation, please visit our PayPal website or send a cheque to ‘Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa’ with ‘HIW-Vol.2’ in the memo line. Cheques can be mailed to: 326 Unicentre, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6.


For more information on the campaign or to find Vol.1 of Honouring Indigenous Women, please visit:

For more information on the book, the campaign or to help with distribution, please contact Pei-Ju, Rachel or Lindsey at (English or French)

Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts by Lynn Gehl

Click the book to order!

Now Available!

Are you Anishinaabeg or a settler ally and would like to learn more about the Anishinaabeg knowledge philosophy, worldview, and culture?

Are you an Algonquin Anishinaabeg and would like to learn from an Algonquin person?

Are you interested in traditional symbolic literacy, want to learn more, or want to learn through it?

Are you a visual learner and a deep thinker? If so, this book is for you.

Short Description:

The stories in this book offer the reader a greater understanding of the Anishinaabeg knowledge philosophy and way of life. To help convey the deep knowledge inherent, and to accommodate vision learners, several ancient symbols and icons have been re-created and incorporated. The stories in this book are organized as 13 short chapters, 3 crossword puzzles, and 14 visuals which include the re-creation of petroglyphs, petrographs, wampum belts, photographs, as well as digital art. A special element is a discussion and visual of the 3 wampum belts exchanged during the 1764 Treaty at Niagara. The chapter organization begins with the creation story and unfolds to include chapters on the tree nation, the sacred pipe, the clan system, debwewin (truth) journey, the treaty process, and uranium mining and nuclear fission. This book has a larger font size and is 100 pages in length. Both community members and people interested in Indigenous knowledge philosophy will find this book a valuable read. It will make a great gift item too.

Author’s Biography: 

Lynn Gehl is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley, Ontario Canada. She holds a Doctorate in Indigenous Studies, a Master of Arts in Canadian and Native Studies, an undergraduate degree in Anthropology, a diploma in Chemical Technology, and has worked in the field of environmental science for 12 years. Lynn is an outspoken critic of the Algonquin land claims and self-government process as it continues to operate through a colonial model, as well as an outspoken critic of the entitlement criteria for Indian status and First Nation citizenship. While living within the many contradictions of colonization, Lynn also advocates for the rights of Indigenous mothers and their babies as it is through Indian status registration that historic treaty rights are obtained. These rights include health care rights and education rights which mothers are in particular need of. While advocating for change in oppressive colonial law and policy is part of what she does,

Lynn is also an artist, and is interested in Indigenous knowledge (IK) systems that guide the Anishinaabeg forward to mino-pimatisiwin (the good life). In offering a contribution to the resurgence of Indigenous knowledge, Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts reflects Lynn’s artwork and this latter IK interest.

To purchase this book: $20.00 plus shipping and handling


Click the image to download the book ad poster in PDF format.

Table of Contents

List of Art Work, Illustrations, and Photographs

CHAPTER 1 The Anishinaabe Creation Story

CHAPTER 2 The Tree Nation

CHAPTER 3 Winonah and Her Four Sons

CHAPTER 4 The Anishinaabe Clan System of Governance

CHAPTER 5 Kinoomaagewaabkong: The Teaching Rock

CHAPTER 6 The Grandmother of Sacred Pipes

CHAPTER 7 Debwewin Journey

CHAPTER 8 Mshkoziwin: The Art of Being Brave

CHAPTER 9 The Treaty Process

CHAPTER 10 Knowledge the Eagle Teaches about our Primary Constitutional Relationship

CHAPTER 11 Anishinaabe Numbers

CHAPTER 12 Anishinaabe Medicine Wheel

CHAPTER 13 Uranium Mining and Nuclear Fission


CROSSWORD PUZZLE 2 Indigenous Place Names

CROSSWORD PUZZLE 3 Trees: The Second Order of Creation

Crossword Puzzle Solutions

A Word on Anishinaabemowin and Glossary

Offering an Algonquin Bibliography

Gathering Knowledge Community Symposium – Oct 27

Gathering Knowledge Community Symposium

October 27, 2012   9am – 5pm
St. James Major Catholic Church Hall
Road 38 – Sharbot Lake, Ontario

Hosted by Ardoch Algonquin First Nation

Keynote Speaker– Bonita Lawrence
Author of : Fractured Homeland – Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario 

Books will be available for purchase

Programme Details:

9:00am Welcome – Mireille LaPointe, Robert Lovelace and Opening prayer by Elder Irene Lindsay

9:20am Panel 1: Setting the Stage for Community Well-being

  • Regina Hartwick – Am I Omamawinini Enough?
  • Susan Delisle – Education For and About Indigenous People that Works
  • Marcie Webster- Aboriginal Early Learning Programs – A Community Approach

10:45pm Break

11:00 – Tom Pawlick, Author of The War in the Country – How the Fight to Save Rural Life Will Shape our Future

12:00 Lunch

1:00 pm – Keynote Speaker: Bonita Lawrence, Author of Fractured Homeland – Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario.

2:00pm Break

2:15pm Panel 2: Certain Futures

  • David Welch – Protecting the Land, Uranium exploration in the Frontenacs and the lessons learned.
  • Paul McCarney – Understanding land and resource decision-making on Indigenous territories as an issue of original jurisdiction
  • Robert Lovelace – Re-indigenizing the Commons

3:45pm Closing Comments and Closing Prayer

SPECIAL EVENT AND FUNDRAISER – Our Land Our Identity: the Algonquins of Barriere Lake

Our Land Our Identity:

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Fight for Survival 

October 10, 2012 6 to 8 pm
Odawa Native Friendship Centre, 12 Stirling Ave. Ottawa Unceded Algonquin Territory

With Michel Thusky (Elder) and Norman Matchewan (Councilor and Youth Spokesperson)

and Music by David and Aurora Finkle and Andy Mason.

A light meal will be shared.

Sliding scale suggested donation $10 – $20


“I am a survivor of a residential school. I don’t want that kind of life experience for my children. I want my grandchildren to have a face and a mouth that they will be proud of, not an empty face. I want them to have an identity. This is what we are fighting for.”
– Michel Thusky (from CounterPunch: Sustainable Colonialism® in the Boreal Forest)

Just a few hours up the Gatineau River from Ottawa is the Algonquin Community of Barriere Lake. Access to the forests lakes and rivers of their territory is a vital to this Algonquin community’s identity and for generations they have fought to protect it from destructive resource projects, while also finding ways to co-exist with Quebec and Canadian society. Though there have been many challenges, the language and traditions in Barriere Lake remain strong.

In 1991 the community signed a landmark and historic agreement with Canada and Quebec that should have created a process for co-management of their territory and modest revenue sharing with the community. As with many other agreements made with Indigenous peoples in Canada, Barriere Lake’s tri-lateral agreement has not been respected.

This summer, Resolute Forest Products, a logging company based in Montreal, has been clear cutting in an environmentally and culturally important area of the Barriere Lake’s territory without consultation and consent of the community. After 3 weeks of protest against the clear-cutting the community is going to court to assert their rights and jurisdiction to protect their land. They are asking for your moral and financial support! It is a difficult situation for the community since they have few financial resources.

“You know, this land is important to us, especially the people who harvest off this territory. Because right now they’re destroying a huge moose habitat, bear dens, sacred sites. They don’t care about the stuff that is out there, our medicine. And when the land is destroyed, we’re destroyed.
– Norman Matchewan (from Dominon Paper Issue #84: September/October 2012)

For background information about the Algonquins of Barriere Lake: and

SPONSORED BY: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement of Ottawa, MiningWatch Canada and the Friends Service Committee of Ottawa.

More info contact Ramsey Hart, / 613-298-4745.


Canadian Mining and Indigenous Self-Determination: Perspectives from Panama and Ontario

Canadian Mining and Indigenous Self-Determination:
Perspectives from Panama and Ontario

Tuesday September 25th, 7pm to 9:30pm

University of Ottawa, Desmarais Building, Room 1110
55 Laurier Ave E.

Celestino Mariano Gallardo Gallardo is Chief of the Nidrini region of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé comarca, or special admininstrative area, in Panama. In 2011, in the wake of violent repression and after years of struggle, the Ngäbe-Buglé won a law to protect their comarca and Cerro Colorado in Western Panama from mining development. Celestino will talk about their struggle and Canadian industry involvement as a catalyst of conflict.

Robert Lovelace is an adjunct lecturer at Queen’s University in the Department of Global Development Studies, an activist in anti-colonial struggles and a retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. He lives in the Algonquin highlands at Eel Lake in the traditional Ardoch territory, has travelled to Ecuador and Bolivia, and speaks widely about the impacts of Canadian mining on Indigenous peoples.

Event presented by MiningWatch Canada, Territorio Libre, the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO) and the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA) and the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa

Facebook event link

“An Open Appeal to Everyone I know” from Lee Maracle

“If you provide time, space, safety, and consistency, whoever your participants are, be they young or old, they will move into expressing authentic self. Once you can do that you can express stories about yourselves and about others.” (Columpa Bobb, Artistic Director, Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program)

Aboriginal Arts Program (photo credit: AAMTP)

An open appeal to everyone I know

There is a program in Winnipeg, Manitoba called the Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program [AAMTP] that serves the most underprivileged demographic in Winnipeg – Aboriginal children. I have witnessed AAMTP’s work with these children. Under the direction of Columpa Bobb, Artistic Director, they alongside veteran writers developed the play for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Launch in Winnipeg, Manitoba. [for a clip from the Moving Gallery follow this link:]  At AATMP these young children acquire writing skills, performance arts skills, video and film making skills and are transformed from being underprivileged victims into children and youth who are confident and powerful good citizens. Unlike many programs for children, this one is free. The children of the North End in Winnipeg cannot afford tuition or even bus fares. Cultural Connection for Aboriginal Youth funds about half the cost of the program. These funds connected to Cultural Connection for Aboriginal Youth are in jeopardy. This means Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship is at risk of closing its doors, unless we can raise enough bridge funding. Manitoba Theatre for Young People cannot bridge the gap while the funds are up in the air.  [For CBC interview with Columpa Bobb regarding the freeze, follow this link:]

Desperate for their program two of the children tried to help save it: “There was a beautiful little moment when two young girls from a grade 5 and 6 class held a little bake sale and raised $130.00 to try and save their program.” [Columpa Bobb, Artistic Director, AATMP] If our kids can do that, surely we can do something too.

I know some people. Some of you are close friends, some are family, some are colleagues, some I barely know, some have money, most don’t, but all of you have heart and so I am asking each of you to send $25.00 to Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program and send this appeal to two friends to keep the doors to the program open in the fall. I want my readership, those who have told me “they feel so inspired, empowered by my work”, to contribute as well. Our children need the empowerment and inspiration of Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentoring Program. Please send a note of well-wishing for our children to Columpa C. Bobb, Artistic Director, and send your cheque or money order to:

Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program
195 Young St.
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 3S8

Lee Maracle speaking at First Voices! First Women Speak! gathering in Ottawa, unceded Algonquin Territory on August 24, 2012

Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle is a writer, activist and performer from the Stó:lō nation located in the area now known as British Columbia. She is currently the Aboriginal Writer-in-Residence for First Nations House, and an instructor in the Aboriginal Studies Department at the University of Toronto. Lee is one of the founders of the En’owkin International School of Writing in Penticton, BC, and Cultural Director of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto. She mentors young people on personal and cultural healing and reclamation. (from CBC 8th Fire)

For more info about Lee Maracle and her books:

About the Aboriginal Arts Training and Mentorship Program:

Original Appeal Letter by Lee Maracle:

Hundreds to do casseroles protest against forestry company as Algonquins attempt to blockade logging

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release

Hundreds to do casseroles protest against forestry company as Algonquins attempt to blockade logging

Supporters, including spokespeople of CLASSE, to demonstrate against Resolute Forest Products and Charest government

July 18, Montreal, QC / – Today, a casseroles demonstration will take place at 11:30 am in front of the downtown Montreal offices of Resolute Forest Products (111 Duke street, between Wellington and Ottawa), as members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake continue to try to blockade logging allowed by the Charest government.

Hundreds of protestors, including CLASSE co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau Dubois, will then march to the Premier Charest’s office at Mcgill and Sherbrooke.

During a two-week stand-off with Resolute Forest Products (formerly known as Abitibi-Bowater) on their traditional territory four hours north of Montreal, the Algonquin community has created a protest camp site close to logging operations to prevent the further destruction of the community’s sacred sites and moose habitat. Quebec police, including a riot squad from Montreal, have escorted the loggers and maintained a large presence, issuing threats of arrest to community members.

The multi-national company’s operations have been licensed by the Charest government without the Algonquin community’s consent or consultation, and in violation of the Trilateral Agreement the Quebec government signed with Barriere Lake in 1991.

“The Charest government has acted in bad faith, giving this company the go-ahead to log while they ignore their signed agreements with our community,” said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson. “The overwhelming majority of community members are opposed to what is happening. It has left us with no choice but to try to stop forestry operations. We have been waiting 20 years for the Quebec government to honour their agreements.”

“Indigenous communities like Barriere Lake who are courageously protecting their lands from ecological destruction by multinational companies are fighting on behalf of us all,” said Beatriz Muñoz, a representative of the social struggle committee of CLASSE. “Support for Indigenous rights is central to our broader struggle for the common good.”

Barriere Lake wants Quebec to honour the Trilateral agreement, a landmark sustainable development agreement praised by the United Nations. The Charest government has also ignored the formal recommendations of two former Quebec Liberal Cabinet Ministers, Quebec representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake representative Clifford Lincoln, that the agreement be implemented. The agreement is intended to allow logging to continue while protecting the Algonquins’ way of life and giving them a $1.5 million share of the $100 million in resource revenue that comes out of their territory every year.


Contact: Community spokesperson, Norman Matchewan: 819-435-2171, 819-527-0414

(Montreal) Molly Churchill – 514-692-8220

Logging proceeds without consent on territory of Algonquins of Barriere Lake

NOTE: please click here for updated coverage of the protest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Logging proceeds without consent on territory of Algonquins of Barriere Lake.

Resolute Forest Products, formerly Abitibi Bowater, logging land that includes sacred grounds.

July 9, Poigan Bay, QC – Resolute Forest Products, formerly known as Abitibi Bowater, began cutting last Tuesday on land of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake without proper community consultation or consent. The logging is taking place near Poigan Bay, Quebec, on land that includes sacred grounds and important moose habitat, according to community spokesperson Norman Matchewan.

In a letter sent to Premier Charest on July 4, elder Gabriel Wawatie states: “As one of the main harvesters, I was not properly consulted nor provided a written consent to this logging within our territory.”

Despite the lack of consultation, the Ministry of Natural Resources office in Maniwaki issued permits for the logging to take place.

Wawatie’s letter continues: “This clearly demonstrates your ministry’s lack of respect of the highest court ruling on the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations,” referring to the Supreme Court ruling on Haida Nation vs. British Columbia Ministry of Forests. “Therefore we are requesting that you cease logging operations in our territory.”

Last month, in a recent provincial court case, the same forestry company (Resolute Forest Products, formerly known as Abitibi Bowater) attempted to sue one of the youth leaders of Barriere Lake, Norman Matchewan. Vincent Larin, from the Maniwaki Ministry of Natural Resources office, issued two cutting permits for the same logging site (cutting block) in Barriere Lake territory that also included sacred sites. Fortunately, the forestry company lost their court case when the foreman contradicted his original statement and got caught lying on the stand.

In recent years, the community of Barriere Lake has resisted numerous resource extraction projects slated for their land. Most recently, members of the community confronted mining company Copper One at the company’s AGM in Montreal, opposing their mining exploration on Barriere Lake territory.


Contact: Norman Matchewan, 819-435-2171