Apr 22: Celebrating the Defence of Mother Earth – A Fundraiser for the Six Nations Land Defenders Legal Defence Fund

Movies, Speakers, Music and Free Food!

Image credit: Jesse Purcell with the Just Seeds collective
Image credit: Jesse Purcell with the Just Seeds collective

Monday, April 22, 6:00 to Midnight
Rideau Curling Club, 715 Cooper Street, Ottawa

Facebook event link

Free – suggested donation $10 – $20
Wheelchair Accessible
Contact us about ASL/LSQ: ipsmo@riseup.net

Food will be provided by Food Not Bombs Ottawa, and there is a bar in the Curling Club

 

The IPSM is organizing a fundraiser for front-line land defenders from Six Nations this Earth Day!

All of the money raised will be going directly to the Six Nations Land Defenders Legal Defence Fund.

 

The night will feature short movies, speakers and live music!

Short films:

  • Day Zero, about the Six Nations Land Reclamation
  • Rough Cut: Toad: Onkwehonwe Land Defender
  • the National Film Board film, Six Miles Deep (subtitled)

Speakers:

  • Francine “Flower” Doxtator
  • Tom Keefer

Live music:

  • True Rez, award winning hip-hop artists from Six Nations
  • Balam Santos

 
—-
 

In 2006, activists from Six Nations reclaimed a part of their territory, “Kanonhstaton” that was going to be developed by several construction companies who had, illegally, invested in Douglas Creek Estates. For most of the summer of 2006, the land reclamation was highly publicized. Since then, although it has not generated the same media attention, Haudenosaunee activists have continued to fight to protect their lands and waters. Due to this fight, the last six years have seen harsh criminalization of Haudenosaunee Land Defenders. Dozens of people have faced criminal charges and several have served substantial time in jail. In Brantford, an injunction was passed making it illegal for anyone from Six Nations to be involved in land claims protest within the city.

Several Six Nations activists have also been arrested and charged of serious criminal offences due to the actions of Gary McHale, a racist right-wing demagogue with ties to overt white supremacists. On February 18th several Six Nations land defenders were arrested for allegedly “obstructing” and “assaulting” OPP officers. That day anti-native rights activist, Gary McHale, marched onto Kanonstaton and succeeded yet again in instigating conflict by unexpectedly marching towards the house at Kanonhstaton and disturbing the Haudenosaunee people living there. Later, on April 28th, the police claimed that by being at Kanonhstaton on April 28th, Flower had breached conditions stemming from the charges on February 18th.

We must continue to build support for Six Nations land defenders and resist the actions of the colonial courts in criminalizing Six Nations land defenders. Flower is still not legally allowed to return to Kanonhstaton and in order to avoid jail she had to agree to live with her surety in Toronto – away from her home, her community and friends, her daughter, and her four grandchildren. All of us living on this land are treaty people, and we as treaty people must overcome such outrageous and heartbreaking violations of treaty and human rights by building support for our friends and allies at Six Nations.

In terms of a legal strategy, money is still urgently needed.

The April 28th Coalition is asking for your help to support Flower in a number of ways:

  • Pass a motion within your union or political organization denouncing this political repression of indigenous land rights activists.
  • Invite Flower and other members of the April 28th Coalition to come and speak to your group about her case and the larger issues of Six Nations land rights and activism in support of treaty rights.
  • Raise money to help cover the legal costs of appealing the court’s decision to ban Flower from Kanonhstaton.
  • Send money to help Flower cover the cost of replacing the glasses the police broke while arresting her and to aid with her living costs while she is in Toronto.
  • Come to Flower’s next court appearance at 2pm on June 26th in Cayuga, Ontario.
  • Get involved in the April 28th Coalition.

Email april28info@gmail.com to get in touch with us and tell us how you can help with any of these matters. Cheques can be made payable to “First Nations Solidarity Working Group” and mailed c/o Laura Lepper to 193 Tansley Rd., Thornhill, ON, L4J 2Y8. You can also donate money via credit card or paypal by clicking on the “donate” button at the http://www.april28.net/ website.

For more information about the legal defence fund: http://april28coalition.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/support-flower-stop-the-criminalization-of-six-nations-land-defenders/

For a preview of Six Miles Deep: http://www.nfb.ca/film/six_miles_deep/clip/six_miles_deep_clip_1

 

Harper Targeted First Nations for Increased Surveillance

Harper targeted First Nations for increased surveillance, fears Native “unrest,”
newly released government documents show

Money for housing on reserves slashed, money for surveillance of Natives increased

For immediate release: June 13, 2011

Newly exposed internal documents from Indian Affairs and the RCMP show that shortly after forming government in January of 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had the federal government step up intelligence gathering on First Nations to anticipate and manage First Nations political action across Canada.

Information obtained by the First Nations Strategic Bulletin through Access to Information requests reveals that almost immediately upon Harper’s taking power in 2006, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was given the lead role to spy on First Nations. The goal was to identify the First Nation leaders, participants and outside supporters of First Nation occupations and protests, and to closely monitor their actions.

To accomplish this task, INAC established a “Hot Spot Reporting System.” These weekly reports highlight all those communities across the country that engage in direct action to protect their lands and communities. They include Tsartlip First Nation, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, Six Nations, Grassy Narrows, the Likhts’amsiyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, and many more.

“Rather than listening to the needs of First Nations communities Harper is making plans to use force to stifle the dissent that inevitably arises from chronic poverty and dispossession in Native communities,” said Russell Diabo, Mohawk policy analyst, in response. “First Nations education and housing is chronically under-funded, but policing and surveillance of legitimate Indigenous movements is always a priority.”

The documents reveal that First Nations are a closely monitored population who are causing a panic at the highest levels of the Canadian government.

Says Gord Elliot of Tsartlip First Nation, “Obviously trust and good faith are expected when working with INAC, the RCMP and other agencies of the Government. We are outraged to discover these same Ministries are spying on us. We were identified as a ‘hotspot’ because we had a roadblock demonstration to voice our concerns about the Treaty process and non-acknowledgment of Section 35 Constitutional Rights and Title.
We felt we had no choice because the Canadian Government won’t acknowledge our Constitutionally protected Aboriginal Rights and Title.”

For more information and to obtain original documents, contact:
Shiri Pasternak, media spokesperson: 647-227-6696

Media Spokespeople:

Russell Diabo, editor and publisher, First Nations Strategic Bulletin: 613-296-0110
Gord Elliot, Councillor, Tsartlip First Nation: 250-883-3970
Shawn Brant, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory: 613- 813-2057

– 30 –

SAY NO to Indian Act Section 74

Take a stand today!
Support the Barriere Lake Algonquins and their inherent right to govern themselves according to their customs:

Write/call/fax Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl and Indian Affairs Quebec Regional Director Pierre Nepton: http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2007/10/blog-post.html

—> For more info, or to endorse the campaign: please email barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com, www.barrierelakesolidarity.org, ipsmo.org

The Canadian government is forcibly assimilating Barriere Lake’s customary governance system using an archaic and rarely invoked piece of Indian Act legislation.

Indian Act: Sect 74 (1) (Elected Councils)
Whenever he deems it advisable for the good government of a band, the Minister may declare by order that after a day to be named therein the council of the band, consisting of a chief and councillors, shall be selected by elections to be held in accordance with this Act.

This strategy is a draconian, last ditch attempt to sever the community’s connection to the land, which is at the heart of their governance system. By breaking their connection to the land, the Canadian and Quebec governments hope to get away with violating resource- use agreements and illegally clear-cutting in their traditional territory.

Section 74 hasn’t been forcibly imposed on a community since 1924, when the Canadian government unilaterally deposed the traditional government of Six Nations, padlocking shut the Haudenasaunee Confederacy lodge.

Barriere Lake is one of only two dozen Native communities still operating with their traditional governance system. They attribute the strength of their community, language, knowledge and protection of the land to its endurance. The impacts of losing their customary government would have devastating consequences on their way of life.  There is a broad consensus in Barriere Lake in favour of retaining their customs and against a Section 74 order erasing their Customary government.

“Community members and youth plan to defend our rights for the sake of our generation and the generations to come.” – Tony Wawatie, spokesperson.

UPDATES: Indian Affairs announces election date; SQ harassment escalates; Canadian spies visit Barriere Lake solidarity activist

a) The Department of Indian Affairs has circulated a notice in Barriere Lake announcing they intend to hold section 74 Indian Action band elections on August 19, 2010, and nomination meetings for a Chief and six Counselors on July 8th. The community has every intention of resisting Indian Affairs’ attempts to abolish their traditional governance system.                      

b) There has been an escalation in harassment by the Quebec Police, known as the Surete du Quebec (SQ), who have been policing Barriere Lake’s reserve since April 1, 2010. Community members have been regularly pulled over on the highway and on the access road to their reserve. Some women have recounted being pulled over by an SQ officer and being made the subject of sexist remarks. “What have you got there in back seat? Got something for me?” they were asked. The officer then followed them home in his cruiser after telling them, “I’m going to come over and sleep with you guys.”

The escalation is an indication that the Canadian and Quebec governments may attempt to use the Quebec police to impose their political dictates, as they’ve done in the past. Barriere Lake’s supporters will need to be vigilant and hold their governments to account, lest they attempt to push through section 74 Indian Act elections with brute force.

c) Read a description of how CSIS agents visited and harassed a member of the Barriere Lake solidarity collective in Montreal, an indication of the lengths the federal government is willing to go to to undermine the community’s struggle for their rights: http://www.mediacoop.ca/blog/martin-lukacs/3622

d) The Green Party of Canada issued a press release on June 9th endorsing Barriere Lake’s struggle to protect their traditional governance system: http://greenparty.ca/media-release/2010-06-09/algonquins-barriere-lake-trying-protect-governance-system

e) The Assembly of First Nations put out a supportive if vaguely worded press release (they also didn’t send it out on the press wire, but only posted it online):  http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=32735

f) APTN coverage of the demo on June 15, the segment is about 10min in:  http://www.aptn.ca/pages/news/index.php?wmv=tuesday/six

:::: BACKGROUND ::::

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake live on their unceded territory 300 kilometers north of Ottawa, in Quebec. They govern themselves by a customary system, the Mitchikanibikok Anishinabe Onakinakewin. Unlike most First Nations, they have never had band elections imposed on them by the federal government through the Indian Act.

Section 74 of the Indian Act states that the Minister of Indian Affairs can impose an electoral system on First Nations with customary leadership selection processes:

“Whenever he deems it advisable for the good government of a band, the Minister may declare by order that after a day to be named therein the council of the band, consisting of a chief and councillors, shall be selected by elections to be held in accordance with this Act.”

On April 8, 2010, Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl signed off an order to invoke section 74, initiating the process to impose Indian Act band elections on Barriere Lake. The federal government has already hired an electoral officer to oversee this process, meaning the federal government aims to hold elections within a matter of months.

Despite its inclusion in the Indian Act, section 74-imposed band elections would be a violation of Barriere Lake’s Indigenous customs, a draconian interference in their internal affairs, a breach of their constitutionally-protected Aboriginal right to a customary system of government, and a violation of the minimum standards included in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is an attempt to politically weaken the community, by destroying the way they have governed themselves since time immemorial.

The affirmation of Aboriginal and Treaty rights in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution in 1982 guarantees Barriere Lake’s right to maintain their customary system of government. There has been absolutely no case-law since 1982 that would indicate that the Minister has the power to infringe on Barriere Lake’s rights.

The Government move also contradicts a recent Federal Court decision concerning Barriere Lake’s leadership. On February 17, 2010, Federal Court Judge Robert Mainville concluded in the case of Ratt v. Matchewan that Barriere Lake can “select their leadership in accordance with their customs unimpeded by any conditions or requirements which the Minister may deem appropriate.”

But the Canadian government, even if they had Canadian law on their side, would have no authority to interfere with Barriere Lake’s inherent jurisdiction over their lands, which precedes Canadian sovereignty claims by thousands of years. Barriere Lake has never ceded their lands by treaty or agreement and continue to exercise their jurisdiction over their lands by responsibly managing the territory.

Barriere Lake’s customary government is tied to their use of the land – their hunting, fishing, trapping, harvesting over their vast traditional territories. Only those band members who live within their territories and have knowledge and connection to the land can participate in their customary system of government. The position of Chief is based on hereditary entitlement, but other factors are equally or more important, including leadership abilities, knowledge of the land, and community support. Elders have a key role in the leadership selection process, ensuring the customs are respected. They oversee a blazing ceremony, nominating potential leadership candidates who are then approved or rejected by community members in public assemblies. Leadership requires the consent of the governed, meaning leaders can be removed at any time. Such a directly democratic form of government accords well with the community’s decentralized organization.

For the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, their governance system is one of the sources of their political strength and assertiveness: eligible community members have a stake in the land, and they will select leaders who ensure its protection and responsible management.

But if the Canadian government can impose section 74 Indian Act band elections, this will change. Elders will lose customary responsibility for cultivating leaders and for shepherding leadership selections. Voting by secret ballot would undermine the consensus-based, directly democratic process. Fixed terms for elections would destroy the hereditary elements of their system. Indian Act elections would open eligibility for selecting leaders to people on the band registry list, not just those who live and use the traditional territory. As in many First Nations across the country, off-reserve band members who have no stake in the land’s protection but a say in elections or referendums concerning agreements or modern treaties will likely vote for cash deals that may extinguish Inherent, Aboriginal, or Treaty rights to the land.

The federal government’s attack on the community’s inherent right to a customary governance system has served the ends of the Quebec government, which has been allowing forestry companies to illegally log in Barriere Lake’s traditional territory, without consulting and in areas that are supposed to be off-bounds under the terms of the 1991 Trilateral agreement. Quebec has just issued cutting permits for a new period of logging.

—->Please take a moment to support a community that has protected their territory from extractive industries for decades at great expense and sacrifice to their lives.

DEMAND THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESPECT BARRIERE LAKE’S CUSTOMARY GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

SEND AN EMAIL VIA THE BARRIERE LAKE SOLIDARITY WEBSITE: http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2007/10/blog-post.html

Three-Figure Wampum, an agreement between the Barriere Lake Algonquine, the Church and the settlers
Three-Figure Wampum belt, dated back to around 1760, is an agreement between the Barriere Lake Algonquine, the Church and the settlers. The belt depicts an acknowledgement whereby, under the sign of the cross, no interference would be made into the local native ways of life.

Harper Erasing Algonquin Traditional Government with Indian Act, Sect 74

ANNOUNCING A CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT THE ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE
OPPOSE SECTION 74 of the INDIAN ACT:
HARPER, STRAHL TO WIPE OUT BARRIERE LAKE ALGONQUINS’ CUSTOMARY GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Join the campaign to prevent Canada’s Department of Indian Affairs attempts to eliminate Barriere Lake Algonquin Traditional Governance System

Feast and Celebration of Customary Governance

6:30PM, Monday, June 14, 2010
Mac Hall, Bronson Centre at 211 Bronson Avenue Ottawa, ALGONQUIN TERRITORY

Demonstration: Stop Harper’s Elimination of Algonquin Traditional Government

11:30AM, Tuesday, June 15, 2010
In front of Indian Affair’s Minister Chuck Strahl’s office
Bank St and Wellington St, ALGONQUIN TERRITORY

Everyone is Welcome!

The Canadian government is preparing to forcibly assimilate Barriere Lake’s customary governance system using an archaic and rarely invoked piece of Indian Act legislation – Section 74. This strategy is a draconian, last ditch attempt to sever the community’s connection to the land, which is at the heart of their governance system.  By breaking their connection to the land, the Canadian and Quebec governments hope to get away with violating resource-use agreements and illegally clear-cutting in their traditional territory.

Section 74 hasn’t been forcibly imposed on a community since 1924, when the Canadian government unilaterally deposed the traditional government of Six Nations, padlocking shut the Haudenosaunee Confederacy lodge.

Barriere Lake is one of only two dozen Native communities still operating with a recognized traditional governance system. They attribute the strength of their community, language, knowledge and protection of the land to its endurance. The impacts of losing their customary governance system would have devastating consequences on their way of life.

There is a broad consensus in Barriere Lake in favour of retaining their customs and against a Section 74 order erasing their Customary government.

Take a stand today!
Support the Barriere Lake Algonquins and their inherent right to govern themselves according to their customs:

EVERYWHERE: Write/call/fax Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl and Indian Affairs Quebec Regional Director Pierre Nepton: http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2007/10/blog-post.html

OTTAWA: JOIN Barriere Lake community members in Ottawa on June 14 and 15 2010

June 14: Feast and Celebration of Customary Government: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125575680806297
June 15: Demonstration: Stop Harper and Strahl’s Elimination of Algonquin Customary Government: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128467113839884

TORONTO: Come MARCH with community members at the Indigenous Day of Action Against the G8/G20 on June 24th in Toronto: http://www.defendersoftheland.org/story/179

June 24: Day of Action for Indigenous Rights!
11:00AM, March start point: Queen’s Park, South Lawn
To arrange a bus ride from Ottawa to Toronto for June 24, please send your request at http://g20.torontomobilize.org/ottawatranspo

—> For more info, to donate, or to endorse the campaign: please email barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

www.barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com, www.ipsmo.org

:::: BACKGROUND ::::

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake live on their unceded territory 300 kilometers north of Ottawa, in Quebec. They govern themselves by a customary system, the Mitchikanibikok Anishinabe Onakinakewin. Unlike most First Nations, they have never had band elections imposed on them by the federal government through the Indian Act.

Section 74 of the Indian Act states that the Minister of Indian Affairs can impose an electoral system on First Nations with customary leadership selection processes:

“Whenever he deems it advisable for the good government of a band, the Minister may declare by order that after a day to be named therein the council of the band, consisting of a chief and councillors, shall be selected by elections to be held in accordance with this Act.”

Continue reading “Harper Erasing Algonquin Traditional Government with Indian Act, Sect 74”

Akwesasne welcomes the Peace Caravan

On 1 July 2009, 15 of us from Ottawa went to Akwesasne in a trip organized by IPSMO to show solidarity with the indigenous people of that territory. We were joined by about a dozen people from Montréal, organized by No One Is Illegal. The previous couple of days, a Six Nations Peace Caravan had arrived.

Despite some controversy surrounding the caravan that dissuaded many people from coming on these trips, the Peace Caravan and settler solidarity visits were warmly welcomed by Akwesasne residents. We enjoyed plentiful food and traditional songs, and listened to speeches of representatives from Six Nations, Kahnewake, Grassy Narrows, Mapuche, and the Akwesasne Womens Fire which organized hosting for the event and support for the occupation of the CBSA posts.

The new Grand Chief, who had just had been elected, updated those assembled on the situation. He emphasized that the arming of CBSA agents was only one of many grievances (at least 12) they had with government departments. He told us that a process had started for negotiation, beginning with (relatively) senior representatives of the Canadian government meeting chiefs half way. Notably, he observed that local Cornwall business leaders were not angry with the Akwesasne Mohawks at all and sympathized with them.

Pictures:
* http://picasaweb.google.com/peiju.wang/Akwesasne?feat=directlink
* http://picasaweb.google.com/warren.mcbride/AkwesasneJuly12009PeaceCaravan?feat=directlink

May 30: The Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire Speaking in Ottawa

The Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire Speaking in Ottawa

Saturday, May 30th
2:00pm in Room 202
Jack Purcell Community Centre
320 Jack Purcell Lane (near corner of Elgin & Gilmour)
Pay What You Can
ipsmo@riseup.net
https://ipsmo.wordpress.com

The Hosgenegehta [Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire] Speaking in Ottawa
Phillip Skye will be speaking for the men’s fire

Ever since the level of activity at the reclamation site at Caledonia diminished about a year ago, many non-native supporters have been unclear about how to build ongoing links in solidarity with the Six Nations struggle.

Unfortunately, while many non-native supporters were quite familiar with the reclamation, very few people in our community – including those who are more politically active – seem to know anything about the dozens of developments that have been blocked in Brantford, or how to support those people facing legal charges from their activity in defending Six Nations land and the environment that we all share.

The event will be used as a way to raise awareness and funds for the work by the Men’s Fire to halt development on the Haldimand tract and to support the legal costs of the more than 100 people who have been criminally charged for defending their land rights.