Thursday, January 15, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Algonquins of Barriere Lake Honour the Legacy of Judge Rejean Paul and Offer Condolences to His Family

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/January 15, 2015) We have sadly just learned of Quebec Superior Court Judge Réjean Paul’s passing.

Our First Nation wants to take this opportunity to acknowledge Judge Paul’s role as a mediator with our First Nation. 

Judge Paul mediated between our First Nation and the governments of Quebec and Canada in order to finalize our 1991 Trilateral Agreement regarding Co-Management of Natural Resources on our Ancestral Territory with Quebec and Canada. In a subsequent 1993 mediation report on the Trilateral Agreement Judge Paul wrote that Trilateral Agreement is a Treaty.

Judge Paul also mediated within our First Nation during periods of leadership disputes in 1996-97 and in 2007.

Chief Casey Ratt stated today “We honour Judge Réjean Paul’s work with our First Nation and we will always remember him and his efforts to help our People find justice and the continuance of our customary system of government. We want to offer our sincerest condolences to Judge Paul’s family, friends and colleagues.”

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For More Information Contact:

Chief Casey Ratt Cell: (819) 441-8002
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson Telephone: (819) 435-2171

Saturday, December 20, 2014

URGENT CALL FOR SUPPORT: Punishment for Failure to Submit to First Nations Financial Transparency Act?


Indian Affairs Push Algonquin Families of Barriere Lake to the Brink of Starvation, Food and Cash Needed 



For the last three months, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has refused to issue social assistance cheques to 15 Algonquin families at Barriere Lake. This has affected between 50-60 people, including 25 children. Aboriginal Affairs is aware of the situation, but has failed to intervene.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake are questioning whether the band’s non-compliance with the First Nations Financial Transparency Act is behind this brutal denial of social assistance funds.

The Chief and Council at Barriere Lake have not submitted the consolidated financial statements required by the Transparency Act in protest of the band’s lack of control over band spending. As punishment for non-compliance, the Chief and a member of Council have not been paid for their work since November 27, 2014.

Barriere Lake has been under “Third Party Management” since 2006, which authorizes external accountants hired by Aboriginal Affairs to take over discretion of band finances and spending.

As winter sets in and the Christmas season is upon us, it is extremely difficult for these families and for the band’s governing body to survive without any other source of income. We are calling communities near and far to provide immediate support for Barriere Lake in this time of need.

What is needed?

Needed: Flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, rice, tomato soup, canned whole tomatoes, salt, pepper, cereals, eggs, porridge, macaroni, pasta, pasta sauce, white bread, chicken and beef broth, white beans, canned beans, margarine, potatoes (at least 200 pounds), pancake mix, syrup, dried peas, mac and cheese. Any other canned goods and dry goods that are common consumables and non-perishable.

If you are in Ottawa, please bring contributions to First United Church at 347 Richmond Road between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM, December 21 - 27. Before delivering any contributions, please call the church at 613-­232­-1016 or if there is no answer call 613­729-­2647 to let them know you are coming. Please take the goods to the back of the Church off Madison Ave (one block north of Richmond).

If you are not in Ottawa, it is best to donate funds for the families to purchase needed items. Please donate generously through PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Q22YF238ACE5N.

You can also send the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Bernard Valcourt, a strong message through his website: http://www.bernardvalcourtmp.ca/contact/

Insist that (1) all social assistance payments – including back payments – are made immediately, and that the Department will work with the Chief and Council to ensure that no further payments are withheld; and (2) that the Federal Government meet Barriere Lake’s following demands, regarding the Transparency Act:

  • Chief and Council must be free to appoint a fully qualified auditor of their own choosing;
  • Chief and Council must have a decisive say over what is included in the audit;
  • A fair and transparent dispute resolution process must be initiated to deal with the transactions that the Third Party Manager and Aboriginal Affairs have undertaken to date without the band’s involvement or approval.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Press Release: Algonquins ready to act to implement co-management plan

We will not be ignored”: Algonquins of Barriere Lake endure 8 years of inaction on Quebec-Algonquin co-management plan, ready to act

Kitiganik (Rapid Lake Reserve), Quebec – Eight years ago, in 2006, two former Quebec Liberal Cabinet Ministers put forth joint recommendations to the Quebec Government that laid out a vision we endorsed of resource revenue sharing and co-management on our unceded Algonquin lands.

The “Ciaccia-Lincoln Recommendations” were designed to resolve the conflict generated between our community, the province, and industry concerning the unsustainable resource exploitation of our traditional territory and to deal with outstanding concerns regarding basic infrastructure on our reserve.

These Recommendations are the culmination of a research and negotiation process established by a Trilateral Agreement, signed in 1991, between our band, Quebec, and Canada. The Trilateral Agreement was meant to give us a decisive say over land and resource use on 10,000 square kilometers of our ancestral lands. Canada pulled funding from the groundbreaking resource co-management project and it stalled before the measures we developed to harmonize land use with industry and governments could be successfully implemented. A Bilateral Agreement was signed in 1998 between Barriere Lake and Quebec to move forward with the resource co-management plan and address other urgent infrastructure needs. It also failed to deliver promised results.

The “Ciaccia-Lincoln Recommendations” were developed by two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers and they can restore relations and lead to the implementation of our cutting-edge co-management plans, which are based on hundreds of hours of Algonquin cultural and socio-economic research.

Four weeks ago Barriere Lake Chief Casey Ratt sent a letter to Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard and Quebec Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Geoffrey Kelly regarding the failures of Quebec to implement the Ciaccia-Lincoln Recommendations, jeopardizing the status of forestry operations within the Trilateral Agreement Territory. We have been met with a stony silence.

“We see these Agreements as the framework for negotiating improvements to the current poor socio-economic conditions within our community, as well as, the future of our Algonquin Peoples. We will not be satisfied until an Agreement to implement the Ciaccia-Lincoln Recommendations is achieved in the interim and our Aboriginal Rights and Title is explicitly recognized by the governments of Canada and Quebec as quickly as possible,” said Chief Casey Ratt.

Band Councillor Norman Matchewan states, “We will not be ignored. The Tsilhqot’in decision affirmed our underlying jurisdiction to these lands. We have never backed down from a fight to protect our rights and we are not about to start doing so now.”

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Contact spokespeople:

Chief Casey Ratt: 819-441-8002

Michel Thusky, Community Elder (French and English Speaking): 819-334-4099 or 819-435-2171

Tony Wawatie, Interim Director-General: 819-355-3662

Norman Matchewan: 819-441-8006 

*** For further background on Barriere Lake’s Aboriginal Rights and Title and the Agreements signed with the federal and provincial governments, see attached brief presented to Douglas Eyford, Special Federal Representative appointed to conduct consultation on the interim Comprehensive Land Claims policy, which Barriere Lake has firmly rejected for reasons stated in the brief.


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