Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Algonquins of Barriere Lake: Taking a Sovereign Stand

Call for Support from the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to Defenders of the Land

By Barriere Lake Defenders of the Land

In the upcoming week, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake will be taking action on our traditional territory. We realize that many of you have consensus decision making processes that may take time, but we are urgently requesting your community's support in the form of endorsements and a letter sent to key government officials on the day-of or in the days following our actions.
We are demanding that Canada and Quebec honour our signed resource co-management deal, the Trilateral and Bilateral agreements, and that Canada appoints an observer to witness and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in Barriere Lake in accordance with our Customary Governance Code in order to normalize our leadership situation and our relations with the government.
The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec have replaced our Chief and Council because our leaders were continuing to demand that they honour the agreements they entered into with our First Nation. This is a repeat of what they tried to do to us in 1996-1997, when the Canadian government recognized and tried to impose a minority faction on us. To prevent future interference in our customary governance, we codified our customs at the time into Mitchikanibikok Anishinabe Onakinakewin (the Barriere Lake Customary Code), but this has proved little deterrent to more government meddling. But our Customary Chief and Council continue to be recognized by our Tribal Council, the Algonquin Nation Secretariat.

Despite the government's best efforts, divide and rule tactics have not dissuaded the majority of the community from fighting for our rights. The Trilateral Agreement is a sustainable development agreement with Canada and Quebec to protect Algonquin ways of life and practices on the land, to conserve the forest and wildlife, and to improve our dire economic situation. By demanding these agreements be honoured, we are taking responsibility to protect our land, our waters, our wildlife, so that our teachings continue to exist for our children, our grandchildren and the coming generations, along with our language and beliefs.
For a more detailed history of the Barriere Lake struggle, visit: http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/
We feel that each community should speak in their own voice, but we respectfully ask that your community consider some things that could be included in the letter to good effect:
Endorse Barriere Lake's specific demands, listed below, and call on the government to act honourably by implementing these agreements.
Speak to the commonality of struggle between your First Nations community and our own. For example, if your community has been subject to Third Party Management, or if your community is also fighting for the implementation of the Canadian government's broken promises and agreements, or if your community has been criminalized for standing up for your rights, then write about how our struggles are united against these common fronts.
Speak out against police brutality exercised by Quebec security forces (the SQ) against our community on October 6th 2008 during our peaceful blockade of Highway 117, when 20 of our children, in addition to our elders and other community members were teargassed and beaten back by riot squads for demanding implementation of signed agreements and an end to federal interference in our customary governance
Let the government know that Indigenous peoples will defend their land, not only for themselves, but for the good health of all Canadians; that our willingness to fight for the sustainable development of land and resources should not be punished with police violence, but should be recognized as foundational to the environmental protection of waterbeds, clean air, forests, soil, and wildlife across the country.

Please cc lettters to: Algonquin Nation Secretariat Grand Chief: grandchief@algonquinnation.ca
Our email: barrierelakealgonquins@gmail.com
Barriere Lake solidarity collective: barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com
Barriere Lake's Specific Demands:
1. That the Government of Canada agree to respect the outcome of a new leadership re-selection process, with outside observers, recognize the resulting Customary Chief and Council, and cease all interference in the internal governance of Barriere Lake.
2. That the Government of Canada agree to the immediate incorporation of an Algonquin language and culture program into the primary school curriculum.
3. That the Government of Canada honour signed agreements with Barriere Lake, including the Trilateral, the Memorandum of Mutual Intent, and the Special Provisions, all of which it has illegally terminated.
4. That the Government of Canada revoke Third Party Management, which was imposed unjustly on Barriere Lake.
5. That the Province of Quebec honour signed agreements with Barriere Lake, including the 1991 Trilateral and 1998 Bilateral agreements, and adopt for implementation the Lincoln-Ciaccia joint recommendations, including $1.5 million in resource-revenue sharing.
6. That the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec initiate a judicial inquiry into the Quebec Regional Office of the Department of Indian Affairs' treatment of Barriere Lake and other First Nations who may request to be included.
7. The Government of Quebec, in consultation with First Nations, conduct a review of the recommendations of the Ontario Ipperwash Commission for guidance towards improving Quebec-First Nation relations and improving the policing procedures of the SQ when policing First Nation communities.
Send Letters to these Political Representatives:
* Stephan Harper, Prime Minister
Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
E-Mail: pm@pm.gc.ca
* Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development Canada
Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Terrasses de la Chaudière, North Tower, Suite 2100
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H4
Phone: (819) 997-0002/Fax: (819) 953-4941
E-Mail: ottawa@chuckstrahl.com, Strahl.C@parl.gc.ca
*Lawrence Cannon, Local Member of Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 992-5516/Fax: (613) 992-6802
E-Mail: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca
*Jean Charest, Premier minister, Quebec
Téléphone: 418 643-5321/Télécopieur: 418 643-3924
Email: www.premier.gouv.qc.ca/premier-ministre/nous-joindre/courriel-formulaire-en.asp
* These four are the most important
Benoit Pelletier, Ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones
Phone : 418 646-5950/Fax : 418 643-8730
Email: ministre.saic@mce.gouv.qc.ca
Claude Béchard, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune
Téléphone : 418 643-7295/Télécopieur : 418 643-4318
Email: ministre@mrnf.gouv.qc.ca
Line Beauchamp, Ministre du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs
Téléphone : 418 521-3911/Télécopieur : 418 643-4143
Email: line.beauchamp@mddep.gouv.qc.ca
Defending the land,
Marylynn Poucachiche
Community Spokesperson, Barriere Lake

Norman Matchewan,
Youth Community Spokesperson, Barriere Lake

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