URGENT CALL FOR SUPPORT: Punishment for Failure to Submit to First Nations Financial Transparency Act?

 

Indian Affairs Push Algonquin Families of Barriere Lake to the Brink of Starvation; Food and Cash Needed

 

Photo of forest with sunlight
The Barriere Lake Algonquins live on approximately 17,000 square kms of unceded territory 4 hours north of Ottawa in Quebec.

For the last three months, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has refused to issue social assistance cheques to 15 Algonquin families at Barriere Lake. This has affected between 50-60 people, including 25 children. Aboriginal Affairs is aware of the situation, but has failed to intervene.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake are questioning whether the band’s non-compliance with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act is behind this brutal denial of social assistance funds.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake have not submitted the consolidated financial statements required by the Transparency Act in protest of the band’s lack of control over band spending. As punishment for non-compliance, the Chief and a member of Council have not been paid for their work since November 27, 2014.

Barriere Lake has been under “Third Party Management” since 2006, which authorizes external accountants hired by Aboriginal Affairs to take over discretion of band finances and spending.

As winter sets in and the Christmas season is upon us, it is extremely difficult for these families and for the band’s governing body to survive without any other source of income. We are calling communities near and far to provide immediate support for Barriere Lake in this time of need.

 

What is needed?

Needed: Flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, rice, tomato soup, canned whole tomatoes, salt, pepper, cereals, eggs, porridge, macaroni, pasta, pasta sauce, white bread, chicken and beef broth, white beans, canned beans, margarine, potatoes (at least 200 pounds), pancake mix, syrup, dried peas, mac and cheese. Any other canned goods and dry goods that are common consumables and non-perishable.

If you are in Ottawa, please bring contributions to First United Church at 347 Richmond Road between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM, December 21 – 27. Before delivering any contributions, please call the church at 613-­232­-1016 or if there is no answer call 613­729-­2647 to let them know you are coming. Please take the goods to the back of the Church off Madison Ave (one block north of Richmond).

You may still donate funds to the general Barriere Lake Solidarity fund, through PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q22YF238ACE5N

You can also send the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Bernard Valcourt, a strong message through his website: http://www.bernardvalcourtmp.ca/contact/

Insist that (1) all social assistance payments – including back payments – are made immediately, and that the Department will work with the Chief and Council to ensure that no further payments are withheld; and (2) that the Federal Government meet Barriere Lake’s following demands, regarding the Transparency Act:

– Chief and Council must be free to appoint a fully qualified auditor of their own choosing;

– Chief and Council must have a decisive say over what is included in the audit;

– A fair and transparent dispute resolution process must be initiated to deal with the transactions that the Third Party Manager and Aboriginal Affairs have undertaken to date without the band’s involvement or approval.

 

Thank you / Migwetch

 

BARRIERE LAKE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

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The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have been forced into a costly legal battle with Canada to protect their land rights.

They cannot succeed without your support.

The community has been fighting for years to ensure Canada and Quebec honour the Trilateral Agreement, a landmark resource co-management agreement signed in 1991.

The governments are determined to quash the agreement and are now trying to seize sensitive community documents supporting the fight for the Trilateral Agreement. These documents include research on traditional land use & occupancy, wildlife habitat studies, and land claims research.

Barriere Lake is being forced to take costly legal action to protect themselves against the actions of the Canadian government, and its proxy, an illegitimate band council that doesn’t represent the community. The band council was put in place last summer by INAC with only a dozen nominations; most community members boycotted the process, defending their customary government system.

Monthly legal costs that the Algonquins of Barriere Lake must incur will rise into the tens of thousands of dollars by the end of the year, amounting to approximately $30,000 by December 2011. The community’s next legal bill – due at the end of August – will total over $6,000 alone.

If the community loses their case to keep possession of the Trilateral documents, they will launch a constitutional challenge against Canada and the imposition of SECTION 74 of the INDIAN ACT. Section 74 allows the Minister of Indian Affairs to impose band council elections on a customary government, which is a violation of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, protected in Section 35 of the Constitution. This legal challenge will cost more than $100,000 dollars over time.

To read about the 3 MAJOR CONSEQUENCES to this legal case, please see our website: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2011/08/barriere-lake-legal-defense-fund.html

You can also find a PayPal link on our website for direct financial donations to the community: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q22YF238ACE5N.   Everything counts. Please give what you can.

Checks can be mailed to:
OPIRG-GRIPO Ottawa

631 King Edward Ave. (3rd floor / 3ieme étage)
Ottawa, ON
K1N 7N8

** Please make checks out to “Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa”  with “Barriere Lake Legal Defense Fund” in the memo line **

For more information on Section 74 or to find out how you can reach the community directly for support, please contact at ipsmo@riseup.net or barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com.

For a good background video on Section 74 and the Barriere Lake struggle, please see this short 3-minute film:

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Barriere Lake Solidarity has produced this video to help bring attention to the current struggle by the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL) against the Canadian Government’s imposition of Section 74 of the Indian Act. By enacting this obscure piece of the Act, the Canadian Government is attempting to take control of the community by imposing band council elections on the community. The ABL have always had their own customary government.

For more information, visit:
http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

LAC BARRIERE FONDS DE DEFENSE LEGALE

Les Algonquins de Lac Barrière ont été entraînés de force dans une bataille juridique avec le gouvernement du Canada pour protéger leurs droits territoriaux.

Ils n’y parviendront pas san votre appui.

La communauté se bat depuis des années pour s’assurer que le Canada et le Québec honorent l’entente trilatérale, plan de gestion intégrée des ressources signée en 1991.

Les gouvernements sont déterminés à faire annuler l’accord et tentent maintenant de saisir des documents névralgiques de la communauté appuyant leur lutte en faveur de l’accord trilatéral. Ces documents comprennent de la recherche sur l’utilisation et l’occupation traditionnelle du territoire, des études sur l’habitat faunique et de la recherche en lien avec leurs revendications territoriales.

Lac Barrière est forcé de prendre des couteuses mesures judiciaires pour se protéger des actions du gouvernement Canadien et ses représentants, un conseil de bande illégitime qui ne représente pas la communauté. Le conseil de bande a été mis en place l’été dernier par AINC avec à peine une douzaine de nominations; la plupart des membres de la communauté ont boycotté le processus, défendant leur système de gouvernance traditionnel.

Les frais juridiques qu’encourent mensuellement les Algonquins de Lac Barrière totaliseront des dizaines de milliers de dollars à la fin de l’année, soit approximativement 30 000 $ en Décembre 2011. La prochaine facture de frais juridiques de la communauté, dues à la fin d’aout, coutera plus de 6000 $ à elle seule.

Si la communauté perd le droit de garder en sa possession les documents de l’entente trilatéreale, elle lancera une contestation constitutionnelle contre le Canada et l’imposition de l’article 74 de la Loi sur les Indiens. L’article 74 permet au Ministre des Affaires Autochtones d’imposer un Conseil de bande plutôt qu’un gouvernement traditionnel, ce qui est une violation des Droits et Traités Autochtones, protégés à l’article 35 de la Constitution. Cette contestation judiciaire couteras plus de 100 000 $ dollars à long terme.

Pour en savoir davantage sur les 3 CONSÉQUENCES MAJEURS de cette affaire, veuillez visiter notre site web : http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2011/08/barriere-lake-legal-defense-fund.html [Anglais seulement pour l’instant]

Vous trouverez également un lien PayPal sur notre site pour faire une contribution financière directement à la communauté: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q22YF238ACE5NChaque montant compte. SVP. Donnez ce que vous pouvez.

Les chèques peuvent etre postés à :
OPIRG-GRIPO Ottawa
631 King Edward Ave. (3e Étage)
Ottawa, ON
K1N 7N8

** SVP libeller les chèques au nom de “Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa
et inscrire “Barriere Lake Legal Defense Fund” au bas du chèque **

Pour plus d’informations sur l’article 74 ou pour savoir comment joindre la communauté pour l’appuyer directement, svp contactez nous. Pour une introduction sur l’article 74 et la lutte de Lac Barrière, veuillez visionner cette courte vidéo de 3 minutes :