Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Press Release: Re-Elected Chief and Council to Negotiate with Quebec on Implementation of Landmark Co-Management/Revenue Sharing Agreements


(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/August 14, 2014) Following an election which took place on August 9, 2014, Chief Casey Ratt of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake made this statement: "On my behalf and on behalf of the Council of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, I would like to express our thanks to all those who took part in the election. l would like to also express our appreciation for the vote of confidence shown in the renewed mandate given to the members of the Council and myself. This vote of confidence will prove an important help in the resumption of our Trilateral negotiations with the Quebec and Federal Governments."

The Quebec Government has committed itself to restart negotiations on the seven Ciaccia/Lincoln Recommendations of the 1991 Trilateral and 1998 Bilateral Agreements as soon as possible following the August 9th election. Chief Ratt added: ’’I had a recent conversation with the Quebec Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, in which he confirmed his intention to proceed with meaningful negotiations on the seven outstanding Recommendations. This is most important to us, as it is essential for our future that a permanent regime of sustainable development be implemented in the spirit and according to the provisions of the 1991 Trilateral Agreement’’.

This would include, in the key forestry sector, a permanent regime of previously discussed of green, yellow and red zones, to replace the present unsatisfactory, contentious and time-consuming interim system of Measures to Harmonize forestry operations with our traditional way of life.

Chief Ratt concluded by saying "our intention has always been to work in cooperation and harmony with stakeholders on our ancestral Territory, as recognized in the 1991 Trilateral Agreement. However, it is essential that our interests and the integrity of our Territory be protected into the long term, and that we get our rightful share in the sustainable co-management of our resources and the economic and other benefits that come from it."

The Barriere Lake Chief and Council will be meeting with community members who are currently protesting forestry operations within the Trilateral Agreement Territory, to address their concerns within the framework of the Trilateral Agreement and the measures to harmonize process.

The Chief and Council will also be meeting with representatives of the affected forestry companies and the government of Quebec in an effort to peacefully resolve the dispute.



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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) 355-3662, Telephone: (819) 435-2181

Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson Telephone: (819) 435-2171

Monday, July 28, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Algonquins View Tsilhquot’in Decision as Confirmation of Aboriginal Title Over Lands Covered by Territorial Management Agreements with Canada and Quebec



PRESS RELEASE

Algonquins View Tsilhquot’in Decision as Confirmation of Aboriginal Title Over Lands Covered by Territorial Management Agreements with Canada and Quebec

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/July 28, 2014) On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada issued the Tsilhqot’in decision recognizing the Aboriginal Title of the Tsilhqot’in Nation over a large part of their traditional territory. In that decision Canada’s highest court also set out a framework for the establishment of Aboriginal Title in Canada. 

Former Barriere Lake Customary Chief Jean Maurice Matchewan stated “I negotiated and signed the 1991 Trilateral Agreement on behalf of our community to ensure our traditional territory—where we have lived for thousands of years—was managed in a sustainable way based upon conservation of natural resources and protection of our way of life. We did not agree, and still do not agree with Canada’s current Comprehensive Land Claims Policy, which would require us to extinguish our Aboriginal Title and Rights. The Trilateral Agreement, was an alternative to Canada’s unjust land claims policy. We now know our community meets the legal tests in the Tsilhqot’in decision for proof of Aboriginal Title and that the territorial management agreements we signed with Canada and Quebec in 1991 and 1998, as well as, the studies conducted under these agreements are now part of the proof of our Aboriginal Title and Rights over the Trilateral Agreement Territory.”

Chief Casey Ratt of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake stated “The Tsilhqot’in case confirms our community’s decision to enter into Territorial Management Agreements with Canada and Quebec were part of their duty to consult and accommodate our community regarding our Aboriginal Rights and Title. We fully expect Canada and Quebec to display this ‘honour of the Crown’ we hear about but never see, by these governments honouring the spirit and terms of the 1991 and 1998 Agreements by negotiating an Agreement with our community to implement the Joint Recommendations of former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, John Ciaccia and Clifford Lincoln.”

Mr. Clifford Lincoln, Special Representative and negotiator for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake concluded by stating “it has been over eight years since Mr. Ciaccia and I submitted our joint recommendations to the Quebec Cabinet and I attribute much of the community’s inner turmoil over leadership to the delays in negotiating an Agreement to implement our joint recommendations. Quebec has continued to authorize logging and other development activities within the Trilateral Agreement Territory that negatively impact on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and their way of life yet the Algonquins receive no benefits and are not involved in resource management decision-making as contemplated by the Agreements they signed with the federal and Quebec governments. In light of the Tsilhqot’in decision the Quebec government should move quickly to concretely signal their intention to negotiate an agreement to implement the joint recommendations Mr. Ciaccia and I submitted over eight years ago.”

Last year, 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 subsequently clear-cut vast tracts of the forest last summer and fall, up to when the Algonquins stopped the unauthorized logging, which has been taking place in violation of the 1991 and 1998 signed Agreements with the First Nation. 

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. 

The Algonquins along with Quebec have re-established a measures to harmonize process to identify and protect cultural and ecological sites. The Quebec Government has now committed itself to restart negotiations with the ABL with the objective of implementing the seven recommendations of the Ciaccia-Lincoln report. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake intend to ensure these negotiations are started without delay after the elections of August 9, 2014. 


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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) 355-3662
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson Telephone: (819) 435-2171

For Background information on 1991 Trilateral and 1998 Bilateral Agreementshttp://bit.ly/1tRhZ9z

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