“We are part of a mass movement now”: Algonquins of Barriere Lake Traffic Slowdown on Highway 117 – Jan 16

As part of Idle No More movement, Algonquins of Barriere Lake slow down traffic on Highway 117

Kitganik / Rapid Lake – January 16, 2013

Barriere Lake youth with Banner in Ottawa January 11th, 2013.
Barriere Lake youth with banner in Ottawa January 11th, 2013.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake will be slowing down traffic on Highway 117 today to draw attention to forestry operations that they oppose on their lands. Joining the chorus of First Nations across the country who are demanding the government honour their agreements with Indigenous peoples, and consult with them on development affecting their lands, Barriere Lake is demanding the implementation of a resource co-management agreement signed in 1991 with Canada and Quebec that continues to be neglected.

Barriere Lake is taking action today to protect the land and watershed for their future generations and for the future of Canadians. Resolute Forestry Products has already clear-cut several ecological sensitive areas of Barriere Lake’s traditional, unceded territory, such as bear dens and moose yards, that the community is trying to protect.

Barriere Lake has never been idle. But today marks the first day of coordinated Indigenous action and unrest until First Nations’ demands in this country are finally met.

Media Contacts:
Norman Matchewan, band councilor: 819-441-8006

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Cutting taking place now at Beaver Pond Forest

CUTTING HAS BEGUN AT BEAVER POND FOREST
(please click here for background info – or read this article published Jan 31 at MediaINDIGENA – or twitter updates #BeaverPond)

MASS RALLY on Tues,  noon-1pm, at City Hall (Human Rights Monument, Elgin& Lisgar) please arrive early – We demand immediate halt to cutting and an Emergency Open Council Meeting including ALL Stakeholders by noon Wednesday Feb 2nd – invite people to the rally via Facebook

UPDATE – This morning (Tues Feb 1st), at sunrise, warriors from the Algonquin Nations chained themselves to the trees of the Beaverpond Forest in the South March Highlands to prevent further destruction of this important woodland. Media contact: Paul Renaud,613-277-5898 – update: read this story

UPDATE #2 – At 11:45 am (Tues) , concerned community members began a sit-in at Mayor Jim Watson’s office, demanding he take responsibility by immediately stopping cutting at Beaver Pond and calling for an emergency council meeting, open to all residents of Ottawa. Link to press release. Media contacts: Pei-Ju Wang (in mayor’s office) 613-276-8941, Ramsey Hart (offsite) 613-612-1768.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW:

  • Consider getting out to the Goulbourn Forced Road Parking lot to bear witness (approx map: http://bit.ly/eQ1e3i)
  • Print off pamphlets to hand out to friends, random people (print single-sided, or double sided and then cut in half to get two flyers)
  • CALL & email the following, demand they stop this

ASK him to put his foot down:  Robert J. Potts Principal Negotiator and Senior Legal Counsel Algonquin Treaty Negotiations (Algonquins of Ontario)
Telephone: 1-877-593-7221 x3952 email: bpotts@blaney.com

Mayor Watson: 613-580-2496, Jim Watson <jim.watson@ottawa.ca>;
Watson’s Community Liason Director, Adam DeCaire 613-580-2424 x22700

Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture – Markham-Unionville, Liberal
– Suggestion of what to say to Minister Chan:
“All of the Algonquin First Nations have invoked their constitutional right to consultation and accommodation regarding the imminent destruction of provincially significant cultural resources in the South March Highlands.  The Honour of the Crown is attached and it is your duty under the emergency powers of the Ontario Heritage Act to issue a Ministerial Order requiring a new archaeological study be done by an independent agency such as  the National Capital Commission.  This matter is URGENT and in the interests of the 14,500 citizens of Ontario who support the Algonquin and who, in addition to me, demand that you protect all heritage in Ontario.”

Ministry of Tourism and Culture
9th Floor, Hearst Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto ON M7A 2E1
Tel: 416-326-9326
Fax: 416-326-9338
mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org

450 Alden Rd., Unit 5
Markham ON L3R 5H4
Tel: 905-305-1935
Fax: 905-305-1938
mchan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Premier Dalton McGuinty
Tel: (416) 325-1941
Fax: (416) 325-3745
dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Constituency Office (Ottawa South):
Tel: (613) 736-9573
Fax: (613) 736-7374

Norm Sterling, MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills
Phone: 416-314-7900
Fax: 416-314-7966
norm.sterling@pc.ola.org

Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre
Phone: 613-722-6414
Fax: 613-722-6703
ynaqvi.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Urbandale (the developers)
613-731-6331 – mjarvis@urbandale.com

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RELEVANT WEBSITES:

Union of BC Indian Chiefs support Algonquins of Barriere Lake / Mitchikanibikok Inik

Open Letter to Minister John Duncan August 11, 2010

Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

SENT VIA FAX: 819-953-4941
613-996-3306

Attention: Minister John Duncan

Dear Sir:

Union of BC Indian Chiefs support Algonquins of Barriere Lake/Mitchikanibikok Inik

We would like to take a moment to congratulate you on your recent appointment as Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. We look forward to working with you as we jointly undertake the myriad of challenges that confront First Nations of this country.

We are writing to convey our strong and unwavering support for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in their ongoing struggle to protect and defend the integrity of their customary leadership selection code known as the Barriere Lake Governance Code (BLGC) . As you may or may not be aware, the BLGC was adopted by the community in 1997.

We are shocked, alarmed and deeply angered to hear that the Government of Canada, through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and the Government of Quebec, through the Surete du Quebec, are openly collaborating to forcefully impose the Section 74 Election provisions of the Indian Act on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. We understand that Surete du Quebec police officers shall be deployed into Algonquin territory for the purposes of overseeing the establishment of polling stations and have been ordered to arrest anyone who opposes the imposition of the Indian Act Election system.

Needless to say, this flies-in-the-face of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Canadian Constitution and most importantly, the Inherent Indigenous and Treaty Rights of the Algonquin Peoples.

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs publicly condemns the aggressive, bullying tactics of the governments of Canada and Quebec. Shame on Prime Minister Harper and Premier Jean Charest!

We would like to point out that the Union of BC Indian Chiefs is not alone in its condemnation of the thuggish actions of Canada and Quebec. Recently, at the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly in Winnipeg an AFN Resolution was unanimously supported by the Chiefs-in-Assembly which called for the following:

1. Condemnation of the Federal Minister of Indian Affairs, Chuck Strahl for his disregard for the customary leadership selection code and reconciliation process within the Algonquins of Barriere Lake First Nation by trying to impose the Indian Act Section 74 Election System over the Algonquins of Barriere Lake.

2. Demand that the federal Minister of Indian Affairs, Chuck Strahl, immediately rescind the Section 74 Order imposing the Section 74 elective system over the Algonquins of Barriere Lake First Nation.

3. Demand the governments of Canada and Quebec implement the 1991 Trilateral Agreement and related agreements with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake.

4. Mandate the AFN to work with First Nations, Tribal Councils, PTOs and AFN regional offices on a national framework to support and facilitate First Nations-driven elections and leadership selection processes, including the resolution of community disputes, consistent with the internal sovereignty and customs and traditions of First Nations.

Therefore, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs supports the Algonquins of Barriere Lakes call for your Ministry to immediately rescind its order s to impose the Indian Act Section 74 election system on their community against their wishes. Rather, we support the immediate intervention of our AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo to assist in the facilitation of an internal community reconciliation/leadership selection process under the Barriere Lake Governance Code.

Yours truly,

[Original Signed]

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President

The UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

This page and all other News Releases can be found at:
http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/News_Releases/

Action Alert/Action Urgente! Barriere Lake Algonquins say NO to Canada and Quebec’s armed-imposition of unconstitutional Indian Act election

Spend 5 minutes to support the Barriere Lake Algonquins as they take action to protect their inherent right to govern themselves according to their customs!

On August 12, the Canadian and Quebec Governments are using the Quebec police to impose the Indian Act election process.  The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are boycotting!

Say NO to Canada’s armed-imposition of an unconstitutional regime!

Send an online letter to the new Minister of Indian Affairs John Duncan and Indian Affairs Quebec Regional Director Pierre Nepton here: http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2007/10/blog-post.html

Call Minister of Indian Affairs John Duncan: 1-800-667-280, 613-992-2503,

—> If you can DONATE to or ENDORSE Barriere Lake’s campaign, please contact us: barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

PRESS RELEASE

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Barriere Lake Algonquins mount boycott of government-imposed election poll in face of threats of arrest by Quebec police

Kitiganik, Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / – On August 12, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake will protest and boycott a nomination poll for Indian Act band elections that the Department of Indian Affairs is unilaterally forcing on their community.

The Quebec Police, the Sûreté du Québec, will be guarding the polling stations in the community’s territory and have threatened to arrest anyone who tries to interfere or set up blockades.

After community members peacefully blockaded a federal government electoral officer from entering the reserve on July 22, the Department of Indian Affairs rescheduled the nomination poll for August 12.

“The Canadian and Quebec Governments are shamefully treating our community like criminals for peacefully protecting our inherent right to govern ourselves according to our customs,” says Tony Wawatie community spokesperson. “The Canadian government is attempting to unconstitutionally abolish our traditional leadership selection. They claim imposing this regime is a democratic move, but the overwhelming majority of our community members are opposed and want instead to maintain our own system of government.”

The government officer is seeking nominations for a Chief and Council that would be voted for in an election the Department of Indian Affairs has planned for September 26, 2010. Barriere Lake is one of the few First Nations in the country who have never been under the Indian Act’s electoral system, continuing instead to operate under a Customary Governance Code that they have used for generations.

During the July 22nd nomination meeting only 4 nominations were sent by mail-in-ballot – and all from individuals who have never lived within Barriere Lake’s traditional territory.

“The Canadian government claims they are imposing Indian Act elections because our traditional system doesn’t work, but it’s in fact the government’s interference in our internal affairs that has destabilized our governance,” says Marylynn Poucachiche, another community spokesperson. “The real reason they are imposing band elections is to sever our connection to the land, which is maintained by our traditional political system. They don’t want to deal with a strong leadership and a community that demands the governments honour signed agreements regarding the exploitation of our lands and resources.”

Barriere Lake’s inherent right to customary self-government is protected by section 35 of the Canadian Constitution and is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A May, 2010 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples affirmed that First Nations have the right to maintain control over their internal
affairs and be free to pursue their vision of customary government.

The Assembly of First Nations has passed a unanimously-backed resolution condemning the government and demanding that the Minister of Indian Affairs rescind the band elections, imposed through section 74 of the Indian Act.

Under Barriere Lake’s customary governance code, participation in leadership selections is open only to those band members who live in the traditional territory and have knowledge of and connection to the land.

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Media contacts:
Tony Wawatie, community spokesperson: 819 – 860-4121
Marylynn Poucachiche, community spokesperson: 819-441-4923
To arrange interviews you can also email :
barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

Action Alert!

Updates on July 22:

Media Coverage on Algonquins of Barriere Lake prevented elections officer from entering reserve this morning:

Barriere Lake Algonquins set up peaceful blockade to stop unconstitutional attack on their customary government

Spend 5 minutes to support the Barriere Lake Algonquins as they take action to protect their inherent right to govern themselves according to their customs!

Send an online letter to Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl and Indian Affairs Quebec Regional Director Pierre Nepton here: http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2007/10/blog-post.html

Call Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl:  (604) 847-9711, 1-800-667-2808

—> If you can DONATE to or ENDORSE Barriere Lake’s campaign, please contact us: barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

For more information: www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Barriere Lake Algonquins set up peaceful blockade to stop unconstitutional attack on their customary government; AFN passes emergency resolution condemning Minister Strahl

Kitiganik, Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / – This morning Barriere Lake community members set up a peaceful blockade on the access road to their reserve to prevent an electoral officer from conducting a nomination meeting for Indian Act band elections.

The electoral officer aims to implement the federal government’s plan to abolish Barriere Lake’s traditional leadership selection system by holding nomination meetings in the community for a band election imposed through section 74 of the Indian Act. Barriere Lake is one of the few First Nations in the country who have never been under the Indian Act’s electoral system, continuing instead to operate under a Customary Governance Code that they have used since time immemorial.

At its General Assembly in Winnipeg on Wednesday, the Assembly of First Nations passed an emergency resolution condemning Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl and demanding that he rescind the section 74 order to impose Indian Act band elections.

“We reject the Minister’s unconstitutional attempt to assimilate our leadership selection customs by imposing a foreign regime on us. The community is unanimously in favour of continuing to be governed by our customs,” says Marylynn Poucachiche, a community spokesperson. “Because the government has not heeded its constitutional obligations or our community’s wishes, we are turning to peaceful direct action. We will be preventing the nomination meeting from proceeding and are demanding the federal government immediately cease and desist in their attempt to abolish our customs. The government is breaking the law, but through our actions we are protecting it.”

Barriere Lake’s inherent right to customary self-government is protected by section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. A May, 2010 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples affirmed that First Nations have the right to maintain control over their internal affairs and be free to pursue their vision of customary government.

“The Canadian government is trying to forcibly assimilate our customs so they can sever our connection to the land, which is at the heart of our governance system,” says Tony Wawatie, another community spokesperson. “They don’t want to deal with a strong leadership, selected by community members who live on the land, that demands that the federal and Quebec governments implement the outstanding agreements regarding the exploitation of our lands and resources.”

Under Barriere Lake’s customary governance code, participation in leadership selections is open only to those band members who live in the traditional territory and have knowledge of and connection to the land. This ensures that people who have a stake in the land and it’s health select leaders. But Indian Act band elections would open voting to individuals on the band registry list who do not live in the community’s territory.

The federal government has slightly delayed the date for the Indian Act band elections, announcing they will try to hold them on September 8, 2010.

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Media contacts:

Tony Wawatie, community spokesperson: 819 – 860-4121
Marylynn Poucachiche, community spokesperson: 819-441-4923