Sunday, March 23, 2014

HONOUR YOUR WORD: Premiere of Barriere Lake documentary

Standing Ovation of Hundreds for Mitchikanibikok Inik Land Defenders (Montréal)

On February 10th Cinema Politica Concordia screened Martha Stiegman's new doc, HONOUR YOUR WORD (produced by the wonderful folks at Productions Multi-monde), "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."
Stiegman's film provides a very personal look at community and resistance, ultimately confronting mainstream media coverage and challenging settler apathy. The one-hour doc is a must-see for anyone interested in social justice, indigenous culture, and Canada's legacy of genocide, colonization and continued settler oppression. The lensing of this important work always comes across as profoundly patient, and the direction always concerned with the ways in which people embody both oppression and the power to resist.
Documentary by Martha Stiegman


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 material poverty and political injustice they face. 
The title refers to their campaign slogan demanding Canada and Quebec honour a precedent-setting conservation deal signed in 1991. Director, Martha Stiegman, spent four years shooting this poetic, heartfelt documentary that challenges stereotypes of "angry Indians." Honour Your Word juxtaposes starkly contrasting landscapes—the majesty of the bush, a dramatic highway stand-off against a riot squad, daily life within the confines of the reserve—to reveal the spirit of a people for whom blockading has become an unfortunate part of their way of life, a life rooted in the piece of Boreal Forest they are defending.

The film draws us into the lives of two young leaders: Marylynn Poucachice, a mother of five, and Norman Matchewan, the soft-spoken son and grandson of traditional chiefs. Both spent their childhoods on the logging blockades their parents set up to win a sustainable development plan protecting their land. But it turns out signing the agreement was the easy part. Now, 20 years later, Norman and Marylynn are taking up the struggle of their youth, to force Canada and Quebec to honour their word.

Their fight may be an impossible one, but as we spend time with Marylynn, Norman and the community they are so deeply a part of, we grow to identify with the impulse driving a struggle that spans generations. We learn why for people here, standing up is a necessity, not a choice - and what compels them to do so, despite the odds.

The film draws us into the lives of two young leaders: Marylynn Poucachice, a mother of five, and Norman Matchewan, the soft-spoken son and grandson of traditional chiefs. Both spent their childhoods on the logging blockades their parents set up to win a sustainable development plan protecting their land. But it turns out signing the agreement was the easy part. Now, 20 years later, Norman and Marylynn are taking up the struggle of their youth, to force Canada and Quebec to honour their word.

Their fight may be an impossible one, but as we spend time with Marylynn, Norman and the community they are so deeply a part of, we grow to identify with the impulse driving a struggle that spans generations. We learn why for people here, standing up is a necessity, not a choice - and what compels them to do so, despite the odds.


Link with more information on the premiere, as part of the Cinema Politica series. 

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Ottawa Premiere: April 22 2014



















The director and Marylynn Poucachiche, community activist featured in the film 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Canadian premiere of HONOUR YOUR WORD

Monday, Feb.10th, 7pm
Cinema Politica, Concordia University
1455 de Maisoneuve West, D.B.Clarke Theater
https://www.facebook.com/events/394619670674234/

Canadian premiere with filmmaker Martha Stiegman and Barriere Lake Community spokespeople in attendance.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/71470916

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.

The title refers to their campaign slogan demanding Canada and Quebec honour a precedent-setting conservation deal signed in 1991. Director Martha Stiegman spent four years shooting this poetic, heartfelt documentary that challenges stereotypes of "angry Indians." Honour Your Word juxtaposes starkly contrasting landscapes—the majesty of the bush, a dramatic highway stand-off against a riot squad, daily life within the confines of the reserve—to reveal the spirit of a people for whom blockading has become a part of their way of life, a life rooted in the forest they are defending.

For more details: http://www.cinemapolitica.org/screening/concordia/honour-your-word-seeking-netukulimk

For more information: www.barrierelakesolidarity.org


Monday, December 16, 2013

Algonquin’s land protection camps forces Quebec to Agree to a Process to Protect Sensitive Zones from Logging: Next Step Implementation of Landmark Co-Management/Revenue Sharing Agreements

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/December 16, 2013) – After community members of the Barriere Lake First Nation established a land protection camp to protest clear-cut logging on sensitive areas of their land, Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources has agreed to respect a previously negotiated process to harmonize forestry operations with the community’s traditional activities. Called the “measures to harmonize” process it involves field visits by Barriere Lake Algonquins to the proposed cut block areas and identification of buffer zones of various sizes to protect cultural sites and ecological areas.

The Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources had—without meaningfully consulting the Algonquins of Barriere Lake—issued permits for the 2013-14 operating year to Resolute Forest Products and other large logging companies who have subsequently clear-cut vast tracts of the forest this past summer and fall, up to the end of November, when the Algonquins stopped the unauthorized logging, which has been taking place in violation of signed Agreements with the First Nation.

Photo credit: Norman Matchewan
Resolute Forest Products and other logging companies have already damaged many sensitive zones on the Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement Territory.

This recent decision by Quebec’s Minister of Natural Resources to respect a previously negotiated Forestry Protocol and related buffer zone prescriptions provides time for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to conduct field visits to proposed logging sites scheduled for the 2013-14 operating year and identify buffer zones around sites of cultural and ecological importance to the Algonquin Peoples.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake intend to ensure that in early 2014, the commitment made by Quebec’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Elizabeth Larouche, is fulfilled to establish a negotiation table early in 2014 with the active participation of all of the relevant Quebec departments involved in implementing the outstanding 2006 Joint Recommendations of Mr. John Ciaccia and Mr. Clifford Lincoln.

The Ciaccia-Lincoln Joint Recommendations are the result of intensive negotiations between the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and Quebec under a 1991 Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement and a related 1998 Agreement, which includes Co-Management of the territory and Resource Revenue Sharing among other issues.

Photo credit: Norman Matchewan
The Algonquins have removed their Land Protection camp within the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve at the Poigan sector but are monitoring their territory to stop any unauthorized logging from further damaging Algonquin cultural sites and critical wildlife habitat while ensuring the agreed upon Measures to Harmonize Process is completed for the 2013-14 proposed logging sites.


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For More Information Contact:

Chief Casey Ratt Cell: (819) 441-8002
Norman Matchewan, Councillor Cell: (819) 441-8006
Tony Wawatie, Spokesperson Cell: (819) 527-7343
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson Telephone: (819) 435-2171

Monday, December 9, 2013

Algonquins Erect Land Protection Camp to Save Cultural Sites & Critical Wildlife Habitat from Destructive Logging within La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/December 9, 2013) This past Spring, Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources—without meaningfully consulting the Algonquins of Barriere Lake—issued permits for the 2013-14 operating year to Resolute Forest Products and other large logging companies who have subsequently clear-cut vast tracts of the forest this past summer and fall, up to last week, when the Algonquins stopped the unauthorized logging, which has been taking place in violation of signed Agreements with the First Nation.

Photo credit: Norm Matchewan
Resolute Forest Products and other logging companies have already damaged many sensitive area sites on the Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement Territory, including sensitive area sites which the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and the logging companies know to be of particular cultural and ecological importance.

Today the Algonquins have erected a Land Protection camp within the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve at the Poigan sector, to stop unauthorized logging from damaging Algonquin cultural sites and critical wildlife habitat until an already agreed upon Measures to Harmonize Process is re-established on an urgent basis. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are demanding that the Quebec government:

  1. Cooperate in a measures to harmonize process to identify and protect cultural and ecological sites. 
  2. Honour the 1991 landmark Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement and related 1998 Agreement with Quebec on Co-Management and Resource Revenue Sharing among other issues. 

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For More Information Contact:

Chief Casey Ratt Cell: (819) 441-8002
Norman Matchewan, Councillor Cell: (819) 441-8006
Tony Wawatie, Spokesperson Cell: (819) 527-7343
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson Telephone: (819) 435-2171

Photo credit: Rose Nottaway