VIDEOS: Our Land, Our Identity – Algonquins of Barriere Lake Fight For Survival

Michel Thusky and Jacob Wawatie speaking at the event Oct 10, 2012 at the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, Ottawa on unceded Algonquin territory.

Michel Thusky:

Jacob Wawatie:

Event hosted by: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement of Ottawa (IPSMO), MiningWatch Canada and the Friends Service Committee of Ottawa.

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.

 

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:

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.

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Contact: Norman Matchewan, 819-435-2171