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.

 

Hundreds to do casseroles protest against forestry company as Algonquins attempt to blockade logging

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release

Hundreds to do casseroles protest against forestry company as Algonquins attempt to blockade logging

Supporters, including spokespeople of CLASSE, to demonstrate against Resolute Forest Products and Charest government

July 18, Montreal, QC / – Today, a casseroles demonstration will take place at 11:30 am in front of the downtown Montreal offices of Resolute Forest Products (111 Duke street, between Wellington and Ottawa), as members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake continue to try to blockade logging allowed by the Charest government.

Hundreds of protestors, including CLASSE co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau Dubois, will then march to the Premier Charest’s office at Mcgill and Sherbrooke.

During a two-week stand-off with Resolute Forest Products (formerly known as Abitibi-Bowater) on their traditional territory four hours north of Montreal, the Algonquin community has created a protest camp site close to logging operations to prevent the further destruction of the community’s sacred sites and moose habitat. 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 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.

“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. “The overwhelming majority of community members are opposed to what is happening. 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 their agreements.”

“Indigenous communities like Barriere Lake who are courageously protecting their lands from ecological destruction by multinational companies are fighting on behalf of us all,” said Beatriz Muñoz, a representative of the social struggle committee of CLASSE. “Support for Indigenous rights is central to our broader struggle for the common good.”

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.

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Contact: Community spokesperson, Norman Matchewan: 819-435-2171, 819-527-0414

(Montreal) Molly Churchill – 514-692-8220

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
 

Fundraising Raffle for BARRIER LAKE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, Supporting the Algonquins of Barriere Lake 
who are keeping a way of life alive!

size: 48 x 24 inches 
with white background

Barriere Lake Solidarity Collective presents
Fundraising Raffle for BARRIER LAKE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

Spread the word and join the raffle!

Grand Prize: Dakhlawedi 
(Eagle: High Honour), art work by Brad Henry
Raffle ticket: $5.00 each or 3 for $10.00
Draw on Oct. 27, 2011

at the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ (CUPW) National Convention held in Toronto. You need not be present to win.
If you wish to purchase raffle tickets, 
please contact Dave Bleakney at dbleakney@cupw-sttp.org.

About The Algonquins of Barriere Lake:

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have 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. They cannot succeed without your support!

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.

For more information about Barriere Lake, please visit 
http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

About the artist, Brad Henry:

Brad was born in Whitehorse, Yukon and raised in Vancouver and has had a lifetime of exposure to, and experience with, Northwest Coast Aboriginal art. His artwork strives to bring positive energy into the world and pass on the legends and beliefs of his Tlingit and Vuntut Gwitch’in ancestors. On various occasions, he has lectured at the University of Ottawa on present day Tlingit culture and art. In addition, his artworks can be found in collections worldwide. Check out his web:  http://www.peoplesofthelonghouse.com/

For more info on Barriere Lake Legal Defense Fund: https://ipsmo.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/barriere-lake-legal-defense-fund/

and watch this video:

BARRIERE LAKE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

[français ci-dessous]

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 :

 

Information & Resources on Barriere Lake

WHO ARE THE ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE?

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL) are a First Nation who hunt, fish, trap, and harvest on more than 10,000 square kilometers of territory north of Ottawa in what is now called Quebec. They are one of the few First Nations in Canada who still speak their traditional language and have a traditional government that is tied to their land-based existence. (Most First Nations in Canada had their traditional government replaced by the Government of Canada’s “band council” system). The community attributes the strength of their Algonquin language, their culture, and their protection of the land to the endurance of their own governance system, the Mitchikanibikok Anishinabe Onakinakewin.

The ABL, like many indigenous people world-over, have been long been embroiled in a land struggle against their colonizers (the Canadian Government). Since 1991 this dispute hinges on a Trilateral Agreement, which both the Federal and Provincial governments have signed, but have failed to honor.

WHAT’S THE STRUGGLE ABOUT?

In short, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake are struggling to survive, and preserve their customs and way of life. This involves defending the land on which they live. Since 1991, they have been trying to get the Federal and Provincial Governments to honour the Trilateral Agreement (See below for more detail).

From an outside perspective, it can seem like a very complicated struggle. The struggle has taken many twists and turns, as the ABL have had to respond to a wide array of tactics used by the Canadian Government to try to weaken them. The ABL have written letters, blockaded the highway that runs through their land, fought for their rights in court, marched in Toronto, participated in days of action, and so on. The details of many of these actions can be learned about on this website, as they’ve been documented and archived.

CURRENTLY, the ABL is running a campaign against Section 74 of the Indian Act, because the most recent tactic of the Canadian Government to take control has been to impose band council elections on the community. The ABL have always had their customary government. You can read our primer about that HERE.

WHAT IS THE TRILATERAL AGREEMENT?

The Trilateral Agreement is a contract between the Federal Government (Canada), the Provincial Government (Quebec) and the ABL that deals with land use of 10 000 km2 of land traditionally inhabited and used by the ABL. It is an alternative to Canada’s preferred negotiation policy, called the “Comprehensive Land Claims.” This negotiating process forces First Nations to extinguish their Aboriginal rights and title upon settlement, to give up communal land rights for private property ownership, and to shoulder expensive legal and land use mapping costs that eventually get docked from meager settlements.

The ABL rejected this Comprehensive land claims approach, and chose instead to sign a conservation plan called the Trilateral Agreement. In summary, the Trilateral agreement would see the ABL included in decision making about the land, and gain a financial return from any resource extraction or commerce on their land (logging, hydro-electric, tourism). It would see traditional Algonquin knowledge of the land integrated into how the territory might be used and conserved.

Both the provincial and federal governments have dragged their heels in implementing this agreement, going so far as to deny its legitimacy as a contract and orchestrating coups of the customary government in the ABL community, sowing internal foment. Instead, Canada has hired expensive diplomats to help strategize on how to break their own commitments. Proof of this has been made clear by a report penned by one of these diplomats, Marc Perron, in Dec 2007, in which he outlined strategies to disrupt the community and take them off course from pursuing the Trilateral Agreement. The imposition of Section 74 is but another tactic to try to divide and weaken this community that has shown such strength in its struggle to defend the land.

For a timeline of the recent history of ABL: https://ipsmo.wordpress.com/barriere-lake/

Coverage of Algonquins of Barriere Lake logging protest in the summer of 2012

Video: Algonquins of Barriere Lake VS Section 74 of the Indian Act

Dec 13: Barriere Lake Algonquins and supporters rally for sovereignty
OTTAWA: Day of Action to Support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake

Barricading INAC: Barriere Lake unites in opposition to the federal government’s imposition of Indian Act elections By Amy German on August 13, 2010
‘This looks like tyranny’ Canada imposes chief and council on Algonquin community By Gale Courey Toensing on Aug 26, 2010
Canada’s stealth democracy
: Federal operatives infiltrate Barriere Lake to arrange secret “elections” for their pre-selected leaders By Amy German on August 27, 2010
Indian Affairs imposes new Chief and Council on Barriere Lake with the consent of only a half dozen people

Supportive Letter from AFN to Minister of Indian Affairs

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

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

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

SAY NO to Indian Act Section 74

Barriere Lake Algonquins protest Conservative government’s assimilation of their traditional political governance system: Political parties, major unions, Indigenous groups call for respect for community’s Inherent rights

A CAMPAIGN TO SUPPORT THE ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE OPPOSE SECTION 74 of the INDIAN ACT

Press release: Barriere Lake governance

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

Local activists to face Quebec judge over Barriere Lake Algonquin highway blockades

Blockade on the 117 (Oct. 2008)

Barriere Lake: Blockade Round II (Nov. 2008)

NFB film: Blockade – Algonquins Defend The Forest directed by Boyce Richardson

About BARRIERE LAKE SOLIDARITY (BLS) Collective

BLS Collective is a network of people from outside of Barriere Lake who are working with the community to support their struggle. IPSMO is part of the collective in Ottawa.

For more resources please visit: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2008/03/resources.html

Barriere Lake Algonquin affirm opposition to mine during Montreal company meeting: threat of mining on their land exposes failure of Quebec’s Mining Act

[français ci-dessous]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, May 20, 2011

Barriere Lake Algonquin affirm opposition to mine during Montreal company meeting: threat of mining on their land exposes failure of Quebec’s Mining Act

Montreal /– Today, community members from the Algonquin First Nation of Barriere Lake traveled to Montreal to attend the annual general meeting of Val-D’Or-based Cartier Resources Inc., where they affirmed that the overwhelming majority of their First Nation is opposed to the company’s Rivière Doré copper mining project moving forward on their traditional territory. A solidarity demonstration will happen outside of the shareholders meeting at 11:30 am at Dorchester Square, the corner of Peel and Rene-Levesque.

“The Charest government’s planned amendments to Quebec’s Mining Act do nothing to address the basic human rights violation at its core: the fact that no communities, including First Nations, have the right to give their free, prior and informed consent to a mining project,” said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson for Barriere Lake.

The right to free, prior and informed consent to any development is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which has been endorsed by the Canadian government.

In March, Barriere Lake community members discovered copper exploration activities on their traditional territory, south-east of Val D’Or, Quebec. The land has never been ceded by the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, who hold constitutionally-protected Aboriginal title and rights at the site of the potential mine.

The land is also already covered by an agreement signed between Quebec and Canada and the First Nation in 1991. This Trilateral Agreement – a sustainable development plan for 10,000 square kilometres of Barriere Lake’s traditional territory – has been praised by the United Nations, but both Quebec and Canada have refused to implement it.

The Elders Council of Barriere Lake issued a letter to the Quebec Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife on May 2 declaring that the community will not allow any resource extraction like mining on their traditional territory until the Trilateral Agreement is implemented.

“Charest’s claim that the Mining Act amendments fit the ‘principles of sustainable development’ is totally hollow,” said Matchewan.”If the Quebec government were concerned about sustainable development, they would not allow a mining company to explore and open a mine against the wishes of a community, to engage in activities that will have negative impacts on the land, water, animals and plants that we depend on. We will not allow this mine to be built.”

The mineral exploration activities have currently stopped, after community members went to the potential mine site to request that the workers leave. The workers respected the community’s wishes.

– 30 –

Media contacts:

Norm Matchewan, community spokesperson: 514-578-7109

For more information: www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Vendredi le 20 mai 2011

La communauté algonquine du Lac Barrière s’oppose à un projet minier lors d’une réunion de cette compagnie à Montréal : la menace minière sur leurs terres expose l’échec de la Loi sur les mines québécoise.

Montréal/ – Aujourd’hui, des membres de la communauté autochtone algonquine du Lac Barrière se déplacent à Montréal afin de prendre part à l’assemblée générale annuelle de Cartier Resources Inc., où ils veulent exprimer l’opposition, par la grande majorité de leur communauté, au projet Rivière Doré, projet d’exploration puis d’exploitation possible de cuivre, sur leur territoire ancestral. Une manifestation de solidarité aura lieu au Carré Dorchester, au coin de Peel et René-Lévesque pendant la réunion des actionnaires de Cartier Resources Inc.

« Le gouvernement Charest planifie des amendements à la Loi sur les mines qui ne changeront en rien la violation des droits humains de base au cœur de cette loi : le fait qu’aucune communauté, incluant les Premières Nations, n’ait le droit de donner leur libre consentement préalable et éclairé à un projet» dit Norman Matchewan, a porte-parole de la communauté du Lac Barrière.

Le droit du libre consentement préalable et éclairé à tout projet de développement est au cœur de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones, qui a été avalisée par le gouvernement du Canada.

En mars, les membres de la communauté du Lac Barrière se sont rendus compte que des activités d’exploration de cuivre avaient lieu sur leur territoire ancestral, au sud-est de Val D’Or. Cette terre n’a jamais été cédée par les Algonquins du Lac Barrière, qui possèdent le titre aborigène, protégé par la Constitution, du site minier potentiel.

Cette terre fait aussi l’objet d’une entente tripartite signée par la communauté et les gouvernements du Québec et du Canada en 1991. Cette Entente trilatérale – un plan de développement durable couvrant les 10 000 km carrés du territoire ancestral du Lac Barrière – a été louangée par les Nations Unies. Toutefois, tant les gouvernements canadien que québécois ont refusé de la mettre en application.

Le conseil des Aînés du Lac Barrières ont écrit une lettre au Ministre des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune du Québec le 2 mai déclarant que la communauté n’autoriserait aucune exploitation de ressources telle qu’un projet minier sur leur territoire ancestral tant et aussi longtemps que l’Entente trilatérale ne sera pas mise en application.

« L’affirmation de Charest, selon laquelle les amendements à la Loi sur les minutes suivent les ‘principes du développement durable’ est complètement fausse, » dit Matchewan. « Si le gouvernement du Québec était préoccupé par le développement durable, il ne permettrait pas à une compagnie minière d’explorer et d’ouvrir une mine contre la volonté d’une communauté, de se livrer à des activités qui auront un impact négatif sur la terre, l’eau, les animaux et les plantes dont nous dépendons. Nous ne permettrons pas la construction de cette mine. »

Les activités d’exploration minière sont présentement suspendues : les membres de la communauté ont demandé aux employés de quitter le site minier potentiel. Ceux-ci ont respecté la volonté de la communauté.

La manifestation de solidarité se rendra aussi en bas des bureaux de Windermere Capital et de la Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, deux investisseurs importants de Cartier Resources Inc, afin d’encourager le désinvestissement du projet minier.

– 30 –

Contact pour les médias:

Norm Matchewan, porte-parole de la communauté: 514-578-7109

www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com

SOLIDARITY UPDATE ON THE ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE

Dear friends and supporters of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake,

Since the great outpouring of support at the Ottawa demonstration in December (http://bit.ly/f7abMo) against the imposition of the Indian Act on their community, a great many of things have transpired on Barriere Lake’s territory. Stronger than ever, the community is ready to fight back and needs your help.

Please read the update posted below and stay tuned for ways to get involved. Contained herein are:

1. MINING ALERT ON ALGONQUIN TERRITORY
2. REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INDIAN ACT BAND COUNCIL
3. REPORT ON SECTION 74 LETTER-WRITING CAMPAIGN

In sol,
Barriere Lake Solidarity
http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/
https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=30975284378&ref=ts

1. MINING ALERT ON ALGONQUIN TERRITORY

Barriere Lake Algonquins say “No” to mining exploration on their land, Cree workers agree to leave site

RAPID LAKE, QC – Last week, Barriere Lake community members discovered that Val D’ Or based Cartier Resources has begun line-cutting in preparation for mining exploration on their unceded Ab- original lands. According to their website, the mining company claims that their “100% owned” land base of 439 square kilometers boasts rich copper deposits ripe for exploitation.

The so-called “Rivière Doré Project” was undertaken without obtaining the community’s free, prior, and informed consent – the minimum standards set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), which Canada has endorsed in words but not in action. The mining project also violates the community’s own environmental protection regime, the Trilateral Agreement, which was signed in 1991 by Barriere Lake, Quebec, and Canada and has yet to be honoured.

The workers on site, predominantly Crees from the Mistassini and Oujebougamou First Nations, agreed to leave when the Algonquins traveled to the proposed mine location and explained their opposition to the development. The larger battle with the Cartier Resources, however, looms ahead.

Barriere Lake community members will return to maintain a presence at the proposed mining site and stop all further developments. Please stay tuned for further developments and action call-outs.

2. REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INDIAN ACT BAND COUNCIL

The community remains largely in the dark concerning the activities of the band council. Illegitimate in the eyes of most people in the community, this band council rose to power through the imposition of an Indian Act provision (Section 74) that gives the Minister of Indian Affairs discretion to overthrow Indigenous customary government systems.

One thing is clear, though: Barriere Lake is open for business now. Mining companies, logging companies, and costly Hydro electrification and reserve housing development have all been green-lighted by the band council.

While investments in reserve infrastructure are badly needed, they are coming at the price of burying the larger issue of land management of the whole territory.

3. REPORT ON SECTION 74 LETTER-WRITING CAMPAIGN
BARRIERE LAKE SOLIDARITY FORENSIC DECODER OF THE GOVERNMENT’S OFFICIAL STORY

Hundreds of letters have been sent through the Barriere Lake Solidarity website to Minister of Indian Affairs John Duncan in protest of the forced imposition of Section 74 on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (see http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/2008/03/donations.html). The Department has recently sent out replies to these letters which are telling of Canada’s communications strategy to contain the threat of public awareness on the issue.

Responding to these letters is Pierre Nepton, the Director General of the Quebec Region of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Nepton outlines the “official” story in his response letter: INAC had no choice but to reluctantly impose Section 74 due to internal conflicts over governance, which the community failed to resolve themselves.

But it’s cool. Barriere Lake Solidarity has prepared a forensic decoder of the government’s official story. We’ve drawn up a chart for easy comparison.

DEC 13, OTTAWA: Day of Action to Support the Algonquins of Barriere Lake

DEMAND THAT CANADA RESPECT BARRIERE LAKE’S TRADITIONAL GOVERNMENT AND TRAILBLAZING ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS

Monday December 13, noon, Parliament Hill

MARCH STARTS AT NOON, PARLIAMENT HILL, ENDS AT THE OFFICE OF THE MINISTER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, CONFEDERATION BUILDING (BANK AND WELLINGTON)

Supported by: Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Council of Canadians, KAIROS, the New Democratic Party, Green Party, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Mining Watch, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement-Ottawa, Barriere Lake Solidarity-Toronto, Barriere Lake Solidarity-Montreal

Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168050586559745&num_event_invites=0#!/event.php?eid=168050586559745

For more info and to download flyers: www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

What if a foreign regime was destroying your system of government, so it could then steal your resources and prevent you from environmentally protecting your homeland? This is what the Harper Government and federal bureaucrats are doing to the First Nation of Barriere Lake.

For more than two decades, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake have been demonstrating environmental leadership to the rest of Canada, campaigning to stop destructive clear-cut logging and to implement a sustainable development plan in their homeland in north-western Quebec.

But multi-national forestry corporations and government bureaucrats have refused to honour any of the agreements signed with Barriere Lake. They have tried at every turn to undermine the small community, one of the poorest in the country, and prevent them from implementing and realizing their vision for the protection and stewardship of the forests.

The David-vs-Goliath story now has a dark new twist: the Conservative government and bureaucrats in Indian and Northern Affairs Canada are interfering in Barriere Lake’s internal affairs, using section 74 of the Indian Act to forcibly assimilate and destroy the community’s traditional government — a traditional government the community has used for countless generations and which maintains their hunting way of life and respect for the environment.

Led by Barriere Lake youth, the overwhelming majority of the community are struggling to preserve their traditional government, so they can continue protecting the watersheds, forests, wildlife and lands for all future generations, Native and non-Native.

The Harper government is violating the Canadian Constitution, which protects the Aboriginal right to self-government. They are violating the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, even though they have now endorsed it.

Join the Algonquins of Barriere Lake on Parliament Hill as they demand the Harper government and federal bureaucrats reject the use of section 74 and respect the community’s traditional government and  vision for environmental protection!

Background: How is the Government Destroying Barriere Lake’s Traditional Government? and Why?

The government has used an archaic section of the Indian Act – section 74 – to unilaterally impose a different system of government on Barriere Lake.

Barriere Lake’s traditional government – open to community members who have connection to the land, and in which Elders guide potential leaders and safeguard their customs – ensures that community members maintain their connection to the land and their hunting way of life. The band council electoral system the Harper government has imposed destroys the sacred governance bond the community has with the land. By breaking Barriere Lake’s connection to the land, the Canadian and Quebec governments hope to get away with violating trailblazing environmental agreements and with illegally clear-cutting in Barriere Lake’s traditional territory.

The overwhelming majority of community members want to protect their traditional governance system, but the bureaucrats in Indian and Northern Affairs Canada are spreading the misinformation that they are only a small group.

Through the summer, the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada bureaucracy ran an illegal process, imposed by the Quebec police, to bring the new system into the community. Fewer than a dozen ballots were sent in to nominate candidates for an Indian Act Chief and Council, who where then seated by acclamation. Meanwhile, almost 200 community members had signed a resolution rejecting this process! That represents a majority of community members who are eligible to participate in their political process.

Even the acclaimed Chief resigned in protest, refusing to break ranks with the community’s majority. But four rogue band councillors with no community support have been illegally making decisions on behalf of Barriere Lake ever since. Shuttled to secret meetings with forestry companies and government officials, these councilors are being used by the government to derail Barriere Lake’s precedent-setting environmental agreements and to facilitate illegal clear-cut logging.

Youth in the community are leading the movement to protect their traditional government and to heal and overcome the community divisions created by the internal meddling of government bureaucrats.

They are demanding the Harper Government cancel the imposition on Barriere Lake of the section 74 Indian Act band council system and respect their right to select leaders according to their traditional system of government.

Barriere Lake Algonquins protest Conservative government’s assimilation of their traditional political governance system: Political parties, major unions, Indigenous groups call for respect for community’s Inherent rights

OTTAWA, traditional Algonquin territory, June 15 /CNW Telbec/ – A broad network of political parties, unions, human rights and Indigenous organizations are rallying today with the Barriere Lake Algonquins in Ottawa at 11:30 am, in front of Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl’s office at Bank and Wellington, demanding that the Government of Canada stop attempting to assimilate the community’s traditional political governance system.

Barriere Lake is one of the few First Nations in the country that have never been under the Indian Act’s electoral system, continuing to operate under a traditional political governance system that is connected to their use of the land. Despite there being a broad community consensus opposing Indian Act elections, Indian Affairs has announced they will try to impose them on August 19, 2010.

“Community members refuse to accept this unilateral and draconian attempt to wipe out the way we govern ourselves. The government is attacking our governance system because it is intimately tied to our continuing use and protection of the land. We will defend our rights and customs for the sake of our generation and the generations to come,” says Tony Wawatie, a Barriere Lake community spokesperson.

“The federal government has consistently tried to violate agreements and interfere with the internal affairs of this First Nation, all in an effort to access the natural resources of their traditional territory. Obviously, they hope to weaken this community to the point where the logging companies can take over. It is shameful,” says Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Canada and Quebec are refusing to implement binding agreements dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development agreement praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada has been in breach of the Agreement since 2001. Quebec is violating the agreement by refusing to implement the 2006 joint recommendations of two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, Quebec special representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake special representative Clifford Lincoln. The 2006 recommendations include giving Barriere Lake a $1.5 million share of the $100 million in resource revenue that comes out of their territory annually, and forest plans to harmonize logging operations with the Algonquin’s land use. Quebec has just issued cutting permits to logging companies in Barriere Lake’s traditional territory, while refusing to respect the terms of the Trilateral Agreement.

“We’re joining the community in demanding that the Harper government respect the inherent right of First Nations to self-determination and customary self-government,” says Denis Lemelin, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Representatives from the New Democratic Party and the Indigenous Environmental Network will be attending, and the demonstration is endorsed by KAIROS, Polaris, and the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement of Ottawa.

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat has also issued a press release supporting the community.

For further information: Media contacts: Norman Matchewan, community spokesperson: 514-893-8283; Tony Wawatie, community spokesperson: 819-860-4121