Thursday, June 1, 2017

Algonquins of Barriere Lake Take Mining Fight to Company's AGM: “No Means Never”

Press release

Algonquins of Barriere Lake Take Mining Fight to Company's AGM: “No Means Never”

TORONTO, June 1st 2017 - At the annual general meeting of mining company Copper One this afternoon, representatives of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL) will assert their opposition to mining on their unceded territory. A youth drum group from the 500-person First Nation will lead community members and supporters in a rally outside the meeting.

Copper One has been attempting to conduct preliminary drilling and exploration work for an open pit Copper Mine in the Algonquins’ territory, three hours north of Ottawa in Quebec. The company’s mineral claims were staked without the free prior informed consent of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. Since September 2016, Barriere Lake have maintained a land protection camp near the proposed mining site.

Community spokesperson and band councilor Norman Matchewan stated: “The claim is right in the Ottawa River watershed, and we don’t want it to contaminate our land and water.”

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have steadfastly opposed mining activity on their territory for years. At Copper One’s 2012 AGM, community representatives asserted a clear ‘no’ to the proposed mining project. The company’s claims were suspended by Quebec in 2011 and again in 2017. In February, Copper One sued the Quebec government in an effort to re-activate their claims.

UNDRIP emphasizes the need for the consent of Indigenous communities to activities affecting them on their lands. Quebec's Mining Act fails to require consultation or consent from Indigenous nations. On February 1, 2017, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador adopted a unanimous resolution proposed by Barriere Lake condemning the Mining Act of Quebec as “unconstitutional” in regard to Indigenous rights.

Barriere Lake Chief Casey Ratt reminds Copper One: “Our community will always be against any type of mining activity within our traditional territory. We will protect our territory for future generation to come.”

- 30 -

For more information :
Chief Casey Ratt, Cell: 819-441-8002
Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General, Cell: 819-355-3662

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Flash-mob draws attention to unconstitutional mining exploration in the face of Algonquin opposition, in and around the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve

(Kitiganik and Montreal, May 4th 2017) On Thursday, May 4th, at 8:30am, a noisy flash-mob gathered in front of Copper One's offices at 2000, McGill College Avenue, to protest the company's attempts to advance a mining claim on the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, without consultation or consent. The company's claim covers a large area of the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve and a neighbouring area including the headwaters of the Ottawa River.

In spite of a government decision to suspend the company's mining claims earlier in 2017, Copper One has repeatedly stated its intention to begin exploratory drilling on the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, and has a court date tomorrow, on Friday May 5th, as part of their most recent attempt to advance their mining exploration.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have consistently refused mining exploration on the territory claimed by Copper One. This traditional and current-use territory of the community has been subject to agreements between the community and the governments of Quebec and Canada concerning the joint management of renewable resources, namely the Trilateral Agreement of 1991 and the Bilateral aggreement of 1998. The community has accepted some forms of development on this territory, but has repeatedly stated that mining is not acceptable.  

The community objects to the Quebec's Mining Act’s failure to require consultation with indigenous nations. The Mining Act also fails to allow integrated land use planning in respect of indigenous peoples’ rights and aspirations, including the possibility of saying "no" to mining claims located in culturally or ecologically sensitive areas.

At a recent press conference, Professors Jean-Paul Lacasse and Sophie Thériault of the Faculty of Law of University of Ottawa were categorical : the current Mines Act would not pass a constitutional legal test, if it were to be challenged by an Aborigoinal nations in Quebec. On February 1, 2017, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador adopted a unanimous resolution condemning the Mining Act of Quebec as being "unconstitutional" in regard to indigenous rights.
"We face, even today, mining claims and mining projects for which we were never informed, consulted and never gave our consent," denounced the Chief Casey Ratt of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake First Nation.


- 30 -

For more information :
Chief Casey Ratt, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-441-8002
Interim Director General Tony Wawatie, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-355-3662
Councilor Norman Matchewan, Algonquins of Barriere Lake, 819-441-8006

Monday, May 1, 2017

Montreal : No mining without consent! Flash Mob Thursday, May 4th, at 8:30am


Come out and support an Algonquin struggle for land, water and wildlife!

In recent months, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake pushed back against Copper One's attempt to develop an eventual open-pit mine in the heart of their territory. The community accepts some forms of responsible development on their territory, but has decided that mining is unacceptable. Copper One is now attempting to advance their faltering mining claim through judicial proceedings. The day before their first court date, join us to send them a clear message: respect indigenous rights! No means no! 

What : A flash-mob / morning rally with music
When: Thursday May 4th 2017, 8:30am 
Where: 2000 McGill College Avenue (Metro McGill)

A community spokesperson will be present, accompanied by supporters including the Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble. Please come out and show your support!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Third-Party Management as a Weapon against Indigenous Protest

The most recent episode of the weekly indigenous current affairs podcast Media Indigena introduces the problems with the "Kafkaesque" government tactic of imposing third-party management on indigenous communities.

Host Rick Harp introduces the discussion by referring to an article in Ricochet last Friday on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake being kept in the dark about their own finances. Pam Palmater and Paul Seesequasis then describe how the third-party system is used as a political tool to undercut indigenous sovereignty, with the example of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake referred to throughout as a paradigmatic example.

You can listen to the entire episode here, and can get to the start of the third-party discussion by skipping to the 16 minutes and 44 second mark.