“Honour Your Word”

 
honour your word posterThoughts from Albert “South Wind” Dumont, who attended our Earth Day screening of Honour Your Word, the new documentary about the Algonquins of Barriere Lake:

 

The documentary “Honour Your Word” to me, is a call for Canada’s citizens to go on the march in defence of the sacredness Canadians claim to place on the threads which connect the hearts and souls of all the good people who populate this great land. Watch the film and if, after doing so, you are not motivated to help make things right in La Verendrye Park where justice has been drawn, quartered and burned at the stake, then you are as spiritless as the perpetrators of the human rights violations taking place there today. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are standing alone against tyranny and oppression. They are a brave resourceful people living in Third World poverty whose plight is documented in a film produced and directed by Martha Stiegman.

Where is the mirror that would show Canadians what really is looking back at them when they peer into it? It does exist, but most of us (Canadians) will have to wait until death carries them to a new world to see it. The ugliness of their ways will be revealed and an accounting of some kind will surely come to pass at that time.

We, the First Peoples, live in a world where only the human rights violations directly impacting settlers or injustices being perpetrated against people in far off countries like China or the Middle East are worthy of Canadians’ support and sympathy. When human rights violations are occurring against the Aboriginal People of this land, Canadians turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. Canadians need to ask themselves why this is so. To me, the answer begins and ends with ‘greed’.

“Honour”, the real definition of that word does not exist in our Parliaments only because Canadians do not demand it as a trait alive and strong, in the men and women we send to the Red Chamber to represent us before the world and before God. We must ask ourselves how our children and their children will be impacted by our negligence of duty to them when we do such a thing. Surely we doom them (our children) to a world where dog eats dog, where the weak are spat upon and where peaceful protest is laughed at and ignored.

The film is interesting throughout but several powerful scenes stand out to me as highlights. One scene is particularly moving, it shows a young Barriere Lake Algonquin man standing before the camera telling about what is being lost of his beloved land when clear-cutting occurs. His words are strong and heartfelt, he is overcome with emotion and though weeping almost uncontrollably, he finishes his statement. I wept with him while sitting in the darkness of the theatre and cannot banish the scene from my mind. It will be my inspiration and motivation to get involved and help with this cause in whatever way the Algonquins ask of me.

One thing the film makes clear to me at least, is that the peaceful protest of the Algonquins up to this point, is nothing more than an exercise in pointless frustration. They protest peacefully to protect the trees and their way of life. Their leaders are thrown in jail when they do so. “Next time you will not be jailed for short periods of time but for years,” they are warned by the courts. Knowledge of such injustices and oppression makes my heart sick.

What is happening in La Verendrye Park is proof positive of just how racist a country Canada is. Only a people who are capable of raw, unadulterated hatred against a segment of the community not their own would allow what is happening to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to occur in a country like Canada. God help us.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

 

Albert Dumont, “South Wind”, is a Poet, Storyteller, Speaker, and an Algonquin Traditional Teacher. He was born and raised in traditional Algonquin territory (Kitigan Zibi). He has been walking the “Red Road” since commencing his sobriety in 1988. He has published four books of poetry and short stories and one children’s book, written in three languages. His website is www.albertdumont.com

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More on the film and the struggle of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake:

 

Action items:

HYW-poster-jpg
 
Resources for Barriere Lake:

 

More about the film:


 

 

 

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/109267862562163/

“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: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2008/03/resources.html and https://ipsmo.wordpress.com/barriere-lake-posts/.

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, ramsey@miningwatch.ca / 613-298-4745.

 

Algonquin Union hand-delivers urgent letter of appeal to stop clear-cutting of South March Highlands in Ottawa

Update:

Open Message to Ottawa Mayor Watson and City Council
The letter being hand-delivered to Minister Chan today (Feb. 24, 2010)

Information on the archaeological artifacts found on South March Highlands

Note: Algonquin Firekeeper Daniel Bernard has been invited by NDP leader Andrea Horwath to speak in the Ontario legislature today.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 24, 2011

Algonquin Union hand-delivers urgent letter of appeal to stop clear-cutting of South March Highlands in Ottawa

(Toronto) Despite several respectful but failed attempts to schedule a meeting with Ontario’s Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan, representatives of the Algonquin Union are hand-delivering a letter today to his office. The letter, to be delivered by Algonquin Firekeeper Daniel Bernard (Amikwabe), contains new archeological information that provides Minister Chan grounds to stop the clear-cutting of South March Highlands in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.

Tree cutting and heavy construction equipment continue to devastate this urban forest, which has been repeatedly identified as a site of significant archeological heritage, in addition to being of major environmental and ceremonial importance. The entire area has the potential to be recognized as Provincially Significant Cultural Heritage in accordance with Ontario Regulation 10/06.

“It is very disturbing that during the United Nations’ Year of the Forest the city of Ottawa is permitting one of the most amazing old growth forests located in an urban setting anywhere in the world to be destroyed,” Bernard says.

Algonquin people from across the Ottawa River Watershed in both Ontario and Quebec have called for an immediate halt to the KNL housing project at the site, while an independent archeological review is carried out to determine the cultural significance of the land. KNL’s own archeological study was accepted by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in 2004, despite being described as ‘fatally flawed’ by Dr. Robert McGhee, past president of the Canadian Archeological Association. Many other reviews and studies have concluded that the site is of high importance from a cultural standpoint.

South March Highlands is an old growth forest and one of the most bio-diverse areas remaining in urban Canada. It offers critical habitat to more than 675 species of life, including 240 species of wildlife, more than 135 nesting birds and 20 species at risk.

Contact:
Daniel Bernard, on behalf of the Algonquin Union: Cell: 416-876-3051   Email: dan_bernard@rogers.com
Paul Renaud  Cell: 613-277-5898    Email: paul@renaud.ca
Algonquin Union: http://www.union-algonquin-union.com

Algonquin Union seeks urgent action from Tourism and Culture Minister Michael Chan

Media Advisory for Thursday, February 24, 2011

STOP DESTRUCTION OF SOUTH MARCH HIGHLANDS
>> Algonquin Union seeks urgent action from Tourism and Culture Minister Michael Chan
Firekeeper Daniel Bernard (Amikwabe), on behalf of the Algonquin Union, will hand-deliver an urgent letter of request to the Honourable Michael Chan, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism and Culture on Thursday morning, seeking an immediate halt to the clear-cutting of South March Highlands (SMH) in Ottawa.

Despite numerous appeals to the Minister, Mr. Chan has yet to respond to the Algonquin request for a meeting to share new archeological information about the SMH site. This new information will provide grounds for Mr. Chan to stop the further devastation of land now being developed and considered sacred by First Nations people.

A sacred ceremony will be performed prior to delivery of the letter at 11 a.m. outside the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park “in the hope that the Minister and his officials will open their hearts and minds to preserve what remains of this sacred place,” Daniel Bernard states.

From: The Algonquin Union
When: 11 am, THURSDAY, February 24, 2011
Where: Main entrance, Ontario Legislature
Queen’s Park, Toronto

Contact:

Daniel Bernard, on behalf of the Algonquin Union
Cell: 416-876-3051
Email: dan_bernard@rogers.com

Paul Renaud
Cell: 613-277-5898
Email: paul@renaud.ca

For more information:
• Algonquin Union: www.union-algonquin-union.com