Friday, March 24, 2017

Human Rights Delegates to Barriere Lake Support Community Demands for Immediate End to Third Party Management





March 23 2017

Human Rights Delegates to Barriere Lake Support Community Demands for Immediate End to Third Party Management

Photos by Allan Lissner/Barriere Lake Solidarity.
                        
(Ottawa) We are a group of civil society organizations, concerned citizens, and politicians who visited the Algonquins of Barriere Lake on their Rapid Lake Reserve on Wednesday.

We sat aghast after presentations on the impact of “third party management” on the community. We learned that Indigenous Affairs hired external accounts to manage the band’s finances in 2006 while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Despite paying astronomical fees, Barriere Lake’s deficit of a measly $83,000 has not been paid off to this day.

In the midst of plenty for Third Party Manager Lemieux-Nolet a community member is living in the basement of a burned out home with his family because not a single new house has been built in the community in 11 years.

We heard stories of money running dry for basic programs for the community. Stories about youth attending colleges in Sudbury and Ottawa texting band councilor Norman Matchewan about going hungry day after day and being unable to pay their fees. Stories about medical transport being offered only once a day to and from the communities, forcing sick elders to go to the hospital at 6am and return at 9pm, despite having only a check-up mid-day.

The stories of third party management were only matched in their kafka-esque nature by stories of how the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs imposed a “Section 74” order on the community in 2010, abolishing recognition of the community’s customary government.

Since then, Barriere Lake has been fighting to restore recognition for their customary government – a land-based, direct democracy of the people – that was arbitrarily and coercively replaced with band council elections. “Section 74” is an archaic section of the Indian Act that is only rarely exercised.

“We just want control back over our lives,” Chief Casey Ratt said, addressing the group.

We believe that the community is suffering from the collateral damage of a federal and provincial system that seeks to terminate the unceded jurisdiction of the Algonquions of Barriere Lake in order to remove impediments to access their rich lands for resource extraction and development. As the survival of Barriere Lake community members is put


at stake daily by bureaucratic violence, Barriere Lake’s ability to sustain connection to their land is under attack by Toronto-based Copper One. We stand with Barriere Lake as they say no to mining on their territories.

Some delegates on our trip come from places around the world that are escaping civil war, but civil war is exactly what the treatment of Barriere Lake looked like to them.

Signed,

Zoe Todd, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Carleton University
Hayden King, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Representatives from the following organizations endorsed this letter:

NYC Stands with Standing Rock
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Immigrant Workers Centre
Right Relations Network
Council of Canadians
Ottawa Riverkeepers
International League of Peoples Struggles
Climate Justice Montreal
Ecojustice
Justice for Adbirahman
Quebec Solidaire
No One Is Illegal
Mexicans United for Regularization
Barriere Lake Solidarity
Barriere Lake Defense













Quebec Solidaire Statement of Support:


Media Coverage:



 Jorge Barrera asks the Minister of Indigenous Affairs about Barriere
Lake's TPM situation at 22 minutes:


Visit to Barriere Lake First Nation, March 22, 2017. Hayden King, compiled by Deborah Huron

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Press Release: Algonquins of Barriere Lake Call to End Third Party Management: Paying Government-Imposed Accountants 40 Time Initial Deficit


Algonquins of Barriere Lake Call to End Third Party Management: Paying Government-Imposed Accountants 40 Time Initial Deficit

(Ottawa, Algonquin Territory/March 23, 2017) Today, representatives of the Algonquins of Barriere denounced the federal government for imposing financial management on their band by accountants who earned millions of dollars over the last 10 years paid out of meager band funds.

NDP, M.P. Charlie Angus obtained documents that show that Barriere Lake pays much more than other bands under a federal policy of imposed “third party management” of the bands financial management for essential programs and services.

In 2006, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs imposed third party management (TPM) to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake due to a $83,000 deficit, which has since been paid many times over in government-imposed accountant fees.

While the Third Party Manager Lemieux-Nolet is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars from band funds, a community member is living in the basement of a burned out home with his family because not a single new house has been built in the community in 11 years.

Because 10% of the bands funds are diverted into Third Party Management fees money runs dry for basic programs for the community annually. Youth attending colleges in Sudbury and Ottawa are texting band Councillor Norman Matchewan about going hungry day after day and being unable to pay their fees. Medical transportation services are being offered only once a day to and from the isolated community, forcing sick Elders to go to the hospital at 6 AM and return at 9 PM, despite having only a check-up mid-day.

On top of being forced into Third Party Management over 10 years ago with no exit plan, six years ago the federal Minister of Indian Affairs violated the internal autonomy and leadership customs of the band by imposing a “Section 74” order on the community.

Since then, Barriere Lake has been fighting to restore recognition for their customary government – an egalitarian, direct democracy of the people that existed for hundreds of years – that was arbitrarily and coercively replaced with a band council elective system. “Section 74” is a section of the Indian Act that has been rarely used since it was coercively exercised in 1924 over the Six Nations of the Grand River.

“We just want control back over our lives, the Third Party Manager continues to mismanage the programs meant for the benefit of our People by making financial transactions without our involvement or consent, or knowing anything about how our community is organized through our customs,” Chief Casey Ratt said.

Tony Wawatie, Barriere Lake’s Interim Director-General added “The Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs is doing a study on Third Party Management, which will likely be sent to the INAC-AFN Fiscal Relations consultation process and that will take another year. After 10 years our community services are in a mess and People want Third Party Management ended now as the new fiscal year is starting in a week.”

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For More Information Contact:

Chief Casey Ratt                                                     Cell: (819) 441-8002
Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General             Cell: (819) 355-3662
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson             Telephone: (819) 215-0591

ALGONQUINS CALL TO END THIRD PARTY MANAGEMENT


MEDIA ADVISORY

FEDERAL BUDGET: ALGONQUINS CALL TO END THIRD PARTY MANAGEMENT
PAYING GOVERNMENT-IMPOSED ACCOUNTANTS 40 TIMES INITIAL DEFICIT

Ottawa, 22 March 2017. Barriere Lake First Nation will be holding a press conference today, March 23rd, 1h00pm, on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, to denounce the federal government for imposing financial management on their band by accountants who earned millions of dollars over the last 10 years paid out of meager band funds. Representatives from the Algonquin Nation will be joined by NDP Leadership Candidate Charlie Angus and human rights delegates from civil society groups who visited the community yesterday to show support for Barriere Lake’s struggle to restore financial control to their community.

When: March 23, 2017: 1h00pm
Where: Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa
What: Algonquins of Barriere Lake Calling To End Third Party Management
Who: Barriere Lake Algonquins and NDP leadership candidate Charlie Angus

MP Charlie Angus obtained documents that show that Barriere Lake pays much more than other bands under “third party management.” In 2006, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs imposed third party management (TPM) to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake due to a $83,000 deficit, which has since been paid many times over in government-imposed accountant fees.

For more information:
- Chief Casey Ratt: Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-441-8002
- Tony Wawatie, Interim Director General, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-355-3662
- Norman Matchewan, Band Councillor, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-441-8006
- Michel Thusky, community member (French speaking), 819-215-0591
- Charlie Angus, MP and NDP leadership candidate, 613-992-2919

Friday, March 3, 2017

Upcoming events in Ottawa and Montreal, March 11th and 12th

Ottawa event :

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are Asking for Your Help and Solidarity.

Circle the evening of Saturday March 11 to meet, share a chili meal, and find out more about the Algonquins’ struggle to resist mining exploration and build a sustainable way of life.
Saturday March 11
5:00 PM at First United Church
347 Richmond Road in Westboro.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1650484101923739/
Poster: https://organizingforjustice.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ABL-March11-Ottawa-poster.jpg

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL) are our regional neighbours living in the Ottawa and Gatineau River watershed in Quebec.  They have never ceded their land nor do they wish to leave their traditional, land-based way of living.  Already, resource grabbing has caused them serious loss of forests.

Now, Copper One, a company financed and directed by the Forbes Manhatten Group, has staked claims on some of ABL’s lands (the Riviere Dore mining prospect) for copper mining.  The company is pressing for permission from the Quebec government to clear access roads and do exploratory drilling.  The drilling is polluting and if enough copper and other minerals are found for a mine, there would be devastating disruption of the land and water in a large area.

The Barriere Lake Defense team is hosting an evening of a chili supper, entertainment and, most important, a “teach in” about the history and current situation at ABL.  We are asking leaders from the ABL community, legal advisors, representatives from Mining Watch and other informed supporters to tell the story and explain the urgency.  We invite you to come and listen, discuss and ask questions of the community.

We hope to fill the hall with encouragement from you as well as help with the legal fees through a suggested donation of $20 (or more) for the evening.

Please come on Saturday, March 11 at 5:00, at First United Church, 347 Richmond Rd. in Westboro.

For more information, contact Joyce Hardman at jhardman@rogers.com or Joan Kuyek at joankuyek@sympatico.ca

To donate online now in support of Barriere Lake's efforts, please use paypal:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JU3W8CQVB5Y2A

For the latest updates, please visit the website:
http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

Sign up for the email announcement list, and 'like' the Facebook page, via the website

Montreal event :

Brunch and Blockades : A screening over brunch of two short movies about the Algonquins of Barriere Lake

For months, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake have been maintaining a land protection camp on their territory, located a few hours North-West of Montreal.  In September 2016, the community learned that junior mining company Copper One planned to begin exploratory drilling in the heart of their territory, without consultation or consent. They responded by setting-up an indefinite land-defence camp. In recent weeks, the company's claim has been suspended due to "public safety concerns," however, Copper One is bringing the government to court to contest the suspension and to continue their mining project.  The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have insisted that no mining projects will happen on their territory, especially Copper One's proposed project because it will have a direct impact on the community's culture and drinking water.

To learn about the community and their history of struggle, come see the 1989 documentary Blockade : Algonquins Defend the Forest (27 minutes), and the 2014 documentary Honour Your Word (one hour).

When? : Sunday, March 12th, 2pm
Where?
: L'Auditoire, 5214 Saint Laurent Blvd
Admission? : Free.

Childcare will be offered on site.  The space in accessible to wheelchairs and the toilets are gender-neutral.  The films are in English with French subtitles and whispered translation to Spanish will be available.

This even is part of Israeli Apartheid Week. We encourage you to check out the week's programming.

About the films :

Honour Your Word is an intimate portrait of life behind the barricades for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, an inspiring First Nation whose dignity and courage contrast sharply with the political injustice they face. (2014, 60 minutes)

Blockade follows the Barriere Lake Algonquins as they take on the government and the logging industry in a struggle to save their hunting grounds and way of life. (1989, 27 minutes)