Monday, November 24, 2008

Green Party supports Mitchikanibikok Inik

Green Party of Canada is calling for an investigation into the infringement of the rights of the Mitchikanibikok Inik, also known as the Algonquin of Barriere Lake, particularly their right to peaceful assembly.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Release: SQ riot squad arrest 5 Algonquins, including Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SQ riot squad arrest 5 Algonquins, including Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - SQ officers and a Riot Squad arrested five Barriere Lake Algonquins, including a targeted arrest of Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway, after forcing community members off highway 117, during their fourth in a series of blockades over a period of seven hours.

"Chief Nottaway sent a letter to Premier Charest on Monday requesting that the government resolve political issues through negotiations rather than police violence," said community spokesperson Norman Matchewan."Blockades are a tactic of last resort. For two decades now all we've asked is that Quebec and Canada honour signed agreements but they prefer to play with our lives."

As the community was pushed off the highway for the last time at 2:30 pm, riot police broke out of formation to chase and arrest Acting Chief Nottaway. His was the second targeted arrest of the day. Community youth spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche, mother of five and organizer of the community school, was arrested at one of the morning blockades after being reassured by police that no arrests would be made since protesters had agreed to leave peacefully.

One community member was pushed to the ground and kicked by several SQ officers before being arrested.

"The police dragged him with his head on the ground all the way to the police car," said one community member.

Another woman from the community fell while being pushed back onto the access road leading to the Barriere Lake reserve, and hit her head. She was subsequently arrested.

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Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171, 514 - 831 - 6902

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 514 - 893 - 8283, 819 - 860 - 3860

Norman Young, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819 - 627 - 6869




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - The Barriere Lake Algonquins have blocked highway 117 by gathering in the middle of the road, after Quebec police dismantled their log blockades earlier in the day, and have now been put on notice that the Riot Police will arrive momentarily.

Community spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche has been arrested for obstruction and mischief and is currently detained.

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Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171, 514 - 831 - 6902,

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson:514 - 893 - 8283, 819 - 860 - 3860

Norman Young, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819 - 627 - 6869

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

7AM - Algonquins BLOCKADE HWY 117 for a second time

Brief description: After exhausting all political avenues, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and many non-native supporters have just blockaded highway 117 for a second time. Last time the community, including Elders, youth and children, were met with a brutal police response. Riot cops used tear gas and pain compliance, instead of negotiators. The police response has drawn criticism from international human rights groups, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Christian Peacemaker Team. [ http://blip.tv/file/1391794 ]

They will maintain the peaceful blockade until both the Canadian and Quebec governments honour their signed agreements that would allow co-management of their traditional territory and resource revenue sharing, and until Canada respects their leadership customs by appointing an observer to witness a leadership selection in accordance with their Customary Governance Code, and in good faith recognize the outcome.

*On this page you will find: a link to photos of the action, quotes, media contacts, background resources, and the press release

Up-to-date photos of the blockade are available HERE


Quotes from Barriere Lake Algonquin Spokespeople:

Norman Matchewan, community youth spokesperson: "Instead of doing the dirty work of the federal government, Quebec should implement its agreements and immediately lobby the federal government to deal fairly with our community. Charest's brutal treatment of our community shows his government has absolutely no respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, which should be an urgent matter of debate during the provincial election."

Marylynn Poucachiche, community spokesperson: "The federal government pretends this is simply an internal issue, but we can only resolve the situation if the federal government appoints an observer to witness a new leadership selection that is truly in accordance with our Customary Governance Code, promises to respect the outcome, and then stops interfering in our internal affairs."

Michel Thusky, community spokesperson: "To avoid their obligations, the federal government has deliberately violated our leadership customs by ousting our Customary Chief and Council. In what amounts to a coup d'etat, they are recognizing a Chief and Council rejected by a community majority. The Quebec government is cooperating with the federal government too because they are using the leadership issue as an excuse to bury the 1991 and 1998 Agreements they signed with our First Nation."


Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, a community teacher and part-time police officer who was racially slurred two weeks ago by the assistant of Conservative Minister Lawrence Cannon, the representative in Barriere Lake's riding of Pontiac: 819.435.2171 or 514.831.6902 (c)

Marylynn Poucaciche, community educator and youth representative for Barriere Lake on the Algonquin Tribal Council: 819.860.3860 (c) or 514.893.8283 (c)

Norman Young, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819.627.6869

Barriere Lake Algonquins' Demands

Resources:

Laurier Riel Report, part I - Riel witnessed the alleged leadership selection, whose result was recognized by Indian Affairs on March 10, 2008

Laurier Riel Report, part II

Federal MP, Lawrence Cannon's Message to the Community in Le Droit (22 September 2008)

Norman Matchewan's Response to Lawrence Cannon in Le Droit (26 September 2008)

Trilateral Agreement - discussed in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP)

2007 leadership report by Quebec Superior Court Rhejean Paul

Legal challenge of Federal Government's deposition of Barriere Lake's Customary Chief and Council

Assembly of First Nations briefing note - January 2008

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PRESS ADVISORY: Algonquins peacefully blockade highway 117 second time: demand Quebec and Canada respect agreements and Canada stop propping up illegitimate leadership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Barriere Lake Algonquins peacefully blockade highway 117 in Northern Quebec a second time: despite fears of more police violence, community wants Quebec and Canada to respect agreements and Canada to end interference in leadership selection

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - This morning at 7:30am, Barriere Lake community members of all ages and their supporters once again peacefully blockaded highway 117 outside their reserve, demanding that Quebec and Canada send in negotiators rather than resort to police violence. During the Algonquin's first blockade on October 6th, 2008, Quebec police used tear gas and "pain compliance" techniques against a peaceful crowd that included Elders, youth, and children, arrested nine people, and hospitalized a Customary Councillor after hitting him in the chest with a tear-gas canister, drawing criticism from international human rights groups, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Christian Peacemakers Team. [ http://blip.tv/file/1391794 ]


The Algonquins promise to maintain the blockade until Canada and Quebec commit in writing to honour their agreements and Canada appoints an observer to witness and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in Barriere Lake in accordance with their Customary Governance Code.

"Instead of doing the dirty work of the federal government, Quebec should implement its agreements and immediately lobby the federal government to deal fairly with our community," said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson on-site at the blockade. "Charest's brutal treatment of our community shows his government has absolutely no respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, which should be an urgent matter of debate during the provincial election."


Barriere Lake wants Canada and Quebec to uphold signed agreements, dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development and resource co-management agreement praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada has been in breach of the agreement since 2001. Quebec signed a complementary Bilateral agreement in 1998, but has stalled since two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, Quebec special representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake special representative Clifford Lincoln, made recommendations for the agreement's implementation in 2006.

"To avoid their obligations, the federal government has deliberately violated our leadership customs by ousting our Customary Chief and Council," said Matchewan. "In what amounts to a coup d'etat, they are recognizing a Chief and Council rejected by a community majority. The Quebec government is cooperating with the federal government because they are using the leadership issue as an excuse to bury the 1991 and 1998 Agreements they signed with our First Nation."

In November 2007 the legitimate leadership of Barriere Lake had issued a ban on new forestry operations in the Trilateral Territory until Quebec implemented their agreements, but the province and forestry companies have used the leadership change as an opportunity to cut new logging roads [in preparation for logging operations] without permission from the legitimate Barriere Lake representatives.

On March 10th, 2008, for the third time in 12 years, the Government of Canada interfered in Barriere Lake's internal customary governance. They rescinded recognition of the Customary Chief and Council and recognized individuals whom the Barriere Lake Elder's Council says were not selected in accordance with their Customary Governance Code.

"The federal government pretends this is simply an internal issue," says Marylynn Poucachiche, another Barriere Lake spokesperson on-site. "But we can only resolve the situation if the federal government appoints an observer to witness a new leadership selection that is truly in accordance with our Customary Governance Code, promises to respect the outcome, and then stops interfering in our internal affairs."

In 2007, Quebec Superior Court Judge Rejean Paul issued a report that concluded that the current faction recognized by the federal government was a "small minority" that "didn't respect the Customary Governance Code" in an alleged leadership selection in 2006 [2]. The federal government recognized this minority faction after they conducted another alleged leadership selection in January 2008, even though an observer's report the government relied on stated there was no "guarantee" that the Customary Governance Code was respected [3].

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat, the Tribal Council representing three Algonquin communities including Barriere Lake, continues to recognize and work with Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council.

In Montreal at noon, supporters of Barriere Lake will rally in front of the office of Premier Jean Charest's at the southeast corner of McGill College and Sherbrooke.

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Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171 or 514 - 831 - 6902

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 - 860 - 3860 or 514 - 893 - 8283

Norman Young, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819 - 627 - 6869


DEMONSTRATION IN SOLIDARITY WITH BARRIERE LAKE A CALL FOR SOLIDARITY AND SUPPORT!

**************************************
WEDNESDAY, NOV 19, 2008, NOON
In front of Jean Charest's office
corner of McGill College & Sherbrooke
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* bring banners, signs, placards, noise-makers...

Join Barriere Lake Solidarity in a demonstration to call on Premier Charest to STOP using riot police, tear gas and pain compliance and START honouring signed agreements with Barriere Lake Algonquins.

In early October, as a method of last resort, families from the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake blockaded highway 117 in northern Quebec, demanding that the Federal and Quebec governments uphold the agreements they signed with the community, and stop imposing illegitimate leadership on the community in order to avoid their responsibilities.

Norman Matchewan, community youth spokesperson says, "Both the federal and provincial governments have treated us with contempt, refusing to respect the agreements they've signed with us. We've exhausted all our political options, but they've ignored or dismissed our community, leaving us with no choice but to peacefully blockade the highway to force the government to deal fairly with us."

Instead of sending in negotiators, honouring signed agreements and sending an observer for their leadership re-selection, dozens of riot cops overran the families who were peacefully demonstrating. Riot cops surrounded the area, and launched tear gas canisters, one of which hit a disabled community member in the chest. Nine people, including an elder, a pregnant woman, and two minors, were arrested. Eight demonstrators remained locked down to concrete-filled barrels, but police used "pain compliance"--roughly, torture--to force them to let go, and be arrested.

There have been many outcries against the actions taken by Charest's government. Angus Toulouse, Ontario Regional Chief, in a letter to Charest on October 10th wrote, "the leadership of the First Nations of Ontario are very concerned regarding the approach taken by the SQ against the ABL…Resorting to aggressive police action is clearly regrettable and further does not address the root causes of this situation." Several European human rights organizations recently supported Barriere Lake's demands and condemned police actions taken against the community.


Barriere Lake's List of Demands:

1. That the Government of Canada agree to respect the outcome of a new leadership re-selection process, with outside observers, recognize the resulting Customary Chief and Council, and cease all interference in the internal governance of Barriere Lake.

2. That the Government of Canada agree to the immediate incorporation of an Algonquin language and culture program into the primary school curriculum.

3. That the Government of Canada honour signed agreements with Barriere Lake, including the Trilateral, the Memorandum of Mutual Intent, and the Special Provisions, all of which it has illegally terminated.

4. That the Government of Canada revoke Third Party Management, which was imposed unjustly on Barriere Lake.

5. That the Province of Quebec honour signed agreements with Barriere Lake, including the 1991 Trilateral and 1998 Bilateral agreements, and adopt for implementation the Lincoln-Ciaccia joint recommendations, including $1.5 million in resource-revenue sharing.

6. That the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec initiate a judicial inquiry into the Quebec Regional Office of the Department of Indian Affairs' treatment of Barriere Lake and other First Nations who may request to be included.

7. That the Government of Quebec, in consultation with First Nations, conduct a review of the recommendations of the Ontario Ipperwash Commission for guidance towards improving Quebec-First Nation relations and the SQ's procedures during policing of First Nation communities.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Upcoming Events!

Taking Back the Airwaves: Support Community Radio!

*WHEN: Saturday, November 29th
*WHERE: Centre for Media Alternatives - 2033 St. Laurent
*COST: $5-10 or bring a RADIO

7pm - Film Screening: A Little Bit of So Much Truth (93 minutes, 2006)

9pm - Dance Party: featuring DJ Aaron Maiden & DJ Medja

Click HERE for more info.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DEFENDERS OF THE LAND GATHERING

For Immediate Release: November 12, 2008


MEDIA ADVISORY


WINNIPEG— Spokespeople from Indigenous communities involved in land struggles across Canada will issue a national challenge to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative government's policies when Harper attends the Conservative Convention in Winnipeg this week, delivering a letter to Harper on Thursday at 6pm, and following up with a press conference on Friday at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.



Indigenous organizers, leaders and membership will be meeting in Winnipeg for the Defenders of the Land Gathering from November 12-14th, 2008 to share strategies and solutions for achieving land rights and self-determination.


The Defenders of the Land Gathering will feature special presentations by members from the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, Six Nations, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Secwepemc First Nation, while many others will be in attendance.


The Defenders of the Land Gathering will focus on several key principles including recognition and respect for Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights; opposition to arbitrary, one-sided federal and provincial legislation, policies and practices that negatively affect Indigenous Peoples; stopping the environmental degradation of Indigenous lands; a fair and just interpretation of section 35 of Canada's constitution, including the elimination of the racist, outdated concepts of the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius; and the application of the Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.


The Press Conference will be held:
Date: Friday November 14, 2008
Location: Winnipeg Convention Centre
Time: TBA

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For more information, please contact:
Courtney Kirkby 514.893.8283 (c)
Harmony Rice: 204.510.9899 (c)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Click here to listen to Canada: A Pariah State?, a lecture by Arthur Manuel at McGill University, November 3rd, 2008.


At the Defenders of the Land, on November 4th, community spokespeople, Marylynn Poucachiche and Norman Matchewan, Russell Diabo, policy advisor for Barriere Lake for the past two decades, and Arthur Manuel all spoke at the Native Friendship Centre in Montreal. Along with the presentation, a 12 minute film of the recent October blockade of highway 117, made by Martha Stiegman, was screened. It was an informative and emotional event for everyone, bringing both Marylynn and audience members to tears.

The speeches from the event are available here -- just click on the name of the speaker and download the file.

Russell Diabo (35 minutes)
Marylynn Poucachiche and Norman Matchewan (20 minutes)

Martha Stiegman's film:
Click HERE to view

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Barriere Lake T-Shirts

Barriere Lake Radio T-Shirts
Cost: $15-25
*Proceeds support Barriere Lake.

The image on the t-shirt is the sound wave file produced by someone saying: "Mitchikinabiko'inik Nodaktcigen", which translates roughly into "Radio Barriere Lake".


To order a shirt, email: barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com