“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:

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Resources for Barriere Lake:

 

More about the film:


 

 

 

April 22 – HONOUR YOUR WORD: Celebrating the Defense of Mother Earth!

 

Click image to print poster
Click image to print poster
Movie Screening and Fund Raiser for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake

With special guests: Barriere Lake community members including Norm Matchewan and Elder Michel Thusky, and (via Skype) filmmaker Martha Stiegman

Tuesday, April 22 at 6:30pm (doors 6pm)
at the Mayfair Theatre
1074 Bank St. (near Sunnyside)
Buses # 1 & 7 (Bank) or # 5 (Riverdale)

$5-15 suggested donation
(no one turned away for lack of funds)
Fundraiser for Barriere Lake: Click to donate

 

Honour Your Word is a new documentary film – an intimate portrait of life behind the barricades for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, an inspiring First Nation whose dignity and courage contrast sharply with the political injustice they face.
 

Presented in Ottawa by the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa, with Diffusion Multi-Monde and co-sponsors MiningWatch Canada, OPIRG-Carleton, OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa and OSSTF District-25 Human Rights / Status of Women Committee.

 

Honour Your Word – trailer
 

 

9-minute interview with filmmaker Martha Stiegman, from CHUO 89.1FM radio show Click Here with host Mitchell Caplan:
 

 

Accessibility Notes:

  • The Mayfair Theatre has side entrances that are wheelchair accessible.
    The washrooms are not, but Shoppers Drug Mart (located next door) does have accessible washrooms.
  • Please refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes or other scented products
  • Please contact us if you require ASL/LSQ
  • Please contact us if you require bus tickets

Contact: ipsmo@riseup.net – www.ipsmo.org
 

Please help us promote this event!

 
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Celebrating the Defense of Mother Earth!

This movie screening of Honour Your Word is the IPSM Ottawa’s 3rd “Earth Day” event Celebrating the Defense of Mother Earth!

Last year we were honoured to work with Defenders of the Land and Land Defenders from Six Nations and we raised $1405 for the legal defense of activists from Six Nations, and in 2009 we organized our 1st event with Minwaashin Lodge, the Tungasuvvingat Inuit, and others.

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More about the movie – Honour Your Word (2013, 59min):

New Algonquin leaders are followed as their community fights to protect their land, their way of life and their language.

The title refers to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’s campaign slogan demanding Canada and Quebec honour a precedent-setting conservation deal signed in 1991. Director Martha Stiegman spent four years shooting this poetic, heartfelt documentary that challenges stereotypes of “angry Indians.” Honour Your Word juxtaposes starkly contrasting landscapes—the majesty of the bush, a dramatic highway stand-off against a riot squad, daily life within the confines of the reserve—to reveal the spirit of a people for whom blockading has become a part of their way of life, a life rooted in the forest they are defending.

For more information:

 
 

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.

 

Algonquins threaten blockade while Montreal riot cops stand on alert

Charest allows logging by Resolute Forest Products in violation of Agreement, as supporters prepare casserole demo in Montreal on Wednesday
 
July 16, Poigan Bay, QC – Tension is escalating between the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake, QC, and Resolute Forest Products (formerly known as Abitibi-Bowater) as their standoff enters its thirteenth day, and as members of the Algonquin community move their protest camp site closer to logging operations to prevent further cutting.
 
Algonquin families have camped alongside the road where logging has been destroying the community’s sacred sites and moose habitat, and have succeeded in periodically stopping the cutting.  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 Montreal-based 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.
 
“I was not properly consulted nor did I provide consent to this logging within our territory,” said Algonquin elder Gabriel Wawatie, whose family territory is being clear-cut, in a letter last week to Premier Charest and the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources that has not been responded to by the Liberal government.
 
“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.  “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 it.”
 
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.
 
A casserole demonstration in support of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake has been called for this Wednesday (July 18th) at 11:30am, at the Resolute headquarters in Montreal.
 
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Contact: Community spokesperson Norman Matchewan, 819-435-2171, 819-527-0414
 
 
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Escalade de conflit concernant la coupe à blanc sur un territoire algonquin
 
Le gouvernement Charest autorise la société Resolute Forest Products à déboiser un territoire, enfreingnant l’Accord, lorsque les sympathisants et sympathisantes se préparent pour une manifestation de casseroles à Montréal mercredi prochain
 
Le 16 juillet, Baie Poigan, QC – Alors que l’impasse entre la communauté algonquine du Lac Barrière, QC, et la société Produits forestiers Résolu/Resolute Forest Products (anciennement connue sous le nom d’Abitibi Bowater) en est à son 13ième jour, les membres de la communauté déplacent leur campement de  manifestation plus près des opérations d’abbatage afin d’empêcher la continuation de la coupe.
 
Des familles algonquines ont campé le long du chemin où le déboisement est en train de détruire non seulement l’habitat des lieux sacrés de la communauté, mais aussi celui  des orignaux. Ces familles ont vécu des petites victoires en mettant fin au déboisement pendant des périodes de temps. La police, dont certain de l’escouade anti-émeute de Montréal, a accompagné des bûcherons sur le territoire, et y maintient une présence importante. Elle a déjà menacé d’arrêter des membres de la communauté.
 
Les opérations de la société multi-nationale, dont le siège-social se trouve à Montréal, ont été autorisées par le gouvernement Charest sans le consentement de la communauté et sans l’avoir consultée. Cette autorisation enfreind l’Accord Trilatéral que le gouvernement du Québec a signé avec la communauté du Lac Barrière en 1991.
 
“On ne m’a pas consulté et je n’ai donné aucun consentement pour autoriser le déboisement sur notre territoire,” a dit Gabriel Wawaite, aîné de la communauté, dans une lettre envoyée la semaine derniére au premier ministre Jean Charest et au ministre des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune. Bien que la coupe ait lieu sur son territoire et celui de sa famille, il n’a toujours pas reçu de réponse de la part du gouvernement libéral.
 
“Le gouvernement Charest a agi de mauvaise foi en autorisant cette société a déboisé le territoire en dépit des accords signés avec notre communauté,” dit Norman Matchewan, porte-parole de la communauté. “Par conséquence, nous n’avons pas d’autres options que de tenter d’empêcher la continuation des opérations forestières. Ça fait 20 ans que nous attendons que le gouvernement québécois respecte l’Accord.”
 
La communauté du Lac Barrière veut que le Québec respecte l’Accord Trilatéral. Il s’agit d’un accord de dévéloppement durable avant-gardiste, qui a reçu l’éloge des Nations Unies.  Le gouvernement Charest a aussi ignoré les recommendations de deux anciens ministres du cabinet libéral, soit le représentant de Québec John Ciaccia et celui du Lac Barrière Clifford Lincon. Ceux-ci recommendaient que l’Accord soit mis en application. L’Accord vise à permettre l’abbatage tout en protégeant la mode de vie des AlgonquinEs, et il leur offrirait 1,5 million de dollars des 100 million de dollars de revenus issus de l’extraction des ressources sur leur territoire chaque année.
 
Une manifestation de casseroles en soutient aux AlgonquinEs du Lac Barrière aura lieu mercredi prochain (le 18 juillet) à 11h30, au siège-social de Résolu/Resolute à Montréal.
 
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Contact: Porte-parole de la communauté, Norman Matchewan: 819-435-2171, 819-527-0414
 

Coverage of Algonquins of Barriere Lake logging protest

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SQ (Sûreté du Québec) threatening Barriere Lake community members with arrest

This page will continue to be updated with media from the protest of illegal logging near Poigan Bay on the traditional territory of the Barriere Lake Algonquins. Action items, press releases, media coverage, photo albums, and videos.

Further clarification – August 21

Clarification – August 2nd

Facebook post by Tony Wawatie, Gabriel Wawatie’s (Gabriel Wawatie is one of the main harvesters in the Poigan bay area) son.

Update – July 31

WIN! Resistance by Barriere Lake and supporters results in Quebec concession over logging

Update – July 24

From Barriere Lake Algonquin Community Spokesperson, Norman Matchewan:

Hello People,

I want to thank everybody for their support, on Friday we met with MNR and the family agreed to do a harmonization measures, to protect the moose yards, bear dens, sacred sites, medicinal sites and other sites. MNR and Resolute had over 70 cut blocks and 15 priority cuts, and the main harvesters agreed for the 7 cut blocks that was already started to be completed, and the harmonization to be carried out by community members.

Press releases:

Selected media coverage:

Photo albums:

Videos:

Background videos: