Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Situation urgent; Event tuesday; Petition

Once again, the Quebec government is allowing large logging companies to clear-cut sensitive sites on the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, including sites which they know to be of particular cultural and ecological importance. They are also trying to enable a mining company to open a copper-nickel mine.

In a november 24th letter to the Quebec government, Barriere Lake's leadership writes: "We will use all our means, limited as they are, to protect our territory and our cultural sites. If it again means the [Quebec police's] strong arm tactics, so be it, and we are ready to once again face the consequences."

Event :
When : Tuesday, December 3rd, 6pm.
Where : 2149, rue Mackay (between Sherbrooke and de Maisonneuve), Montreal. Also, check out our Facebook event
Who : Michel Thusky, a respected elder of the community, will be here to speak about the community's struggle and the current sitaution. We will also be joined by Russel Diabo, a Mohawk policy analyst who worked for years with the community. Very short videos will also be shown. Please come and find out how you can support the community in their struggle. Michel's presentation will be in French, Russel and the videos will be in English. Whisper translation will be available.

Childcare can will be available. Please let us know 24h in advance, at

Petition :
Tell the Quebec government to honour their word. Support the community's demand for an immediate halt to all logging until agreements with the community are honoured and sensitive sites are protected :

Background :
In the face of government disrespect and corporate greed, the small Algonquin First Nation of Barriere Lake in northern Quebec has been fighting for decades to bring to life their vision of coexistance and environmental stewardship for future generations of natives and non-natives.

They signed the historic Trilateral Agreement with Quebec and Canada in 1991 to establish an unprecedented system of sustainable development, covering 10,000 square kilometres of their traditional territory. Barriere Lake has never ceded their territory, over which they assert Aboriginal Title and Rights.

But Canada and Quebec are refusing to honour the Trilateral Agreement. They know that other First Nations could look to it as a model for the protection of their lands and waters.

The fight against logging :
Several giant forestry corporations – including Eacom (formally Domtar,) Louisiana Pacific, and Resolute Forest Products (formerly AbitbiBowater) – have been been working with the Quebec government to undermine the Trilateral Agreement and devastate Barriere Lake's territory. A permanent injunction, granted to Resolute Forest Products by the Quebec courts last year, threatens Barriere Lake community members with imprisonment if they block the desctruction of any sites.

The Quebec government has now granted logging permits to Eacom and Louisiana Pacific, which have been logging through the fall and will soon carry out winter logging very close to Barriere Lake's reserve at Rapid Lake.

For many years, some areas of concern to Barriere Lake would be exempt from logging through measures that were part of the Trilateral Agreement. These measures, which are not currently being respected, would allow some logging to continue but would protect animal habitat, hunting cabins, sacred sites and other important areas.

The Quebec police (Sureté du Quebec) paid a visit to Barriere Lake Chief Casey Ratt at his home on a morning two Saturdays ago to investigate what the community's response would be. This sort of police harassment has been standard procedure for the Quebec and Canadian governments, who have regularly dispatched riot police to act as the private security force of logging companies and who jailed a former Barriere Lake Chief for two months for participating in peaceful blockades.

Barriere Lake is demanding that logging cease until the Trilateral Agreement is fully honoured.

The fight against mining :
Copper One is a company that is attempting to open a copper-nickel mine in the heart of the hunting and fishing territory of several Barriere Lake families. The community is opposed to the mine.

In 2011, the company that was previously doing exploration gave up their mining claims, after Barriere Lake conducted peaceful blockades and a campaign that undermined support among the company's shareholders.

The latest company to try to open the mine is backed by Forbes & Manhattan, a global merchant bank that invests in dirty energy and extraction projects throughout the world, inlcuding in countries in conflict. They tried, for instance, to buy up Iraq's oil while the country was under US control.

Forbes & Manhatten has attempted to get the community's support for the mine with promises of 50 percent shares in the company Copper One, seats on its board of directors, and hiring community members as management of the company. Recently, a representative of the mining company offered $50,000 to arrange a meeting between the company and Barriere Lake.

The promises made by the company go beyond anything ever seen in an agreement with a First Nation. But Barriere Lake cannot be bought off and absolutely rejects a mine.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Michikanibikok Inik Issue Statement Against Illegal Logging - Petition and Lecture

 Chief and council of the Michikanibikok Inik release statement condemning illegal logging. 

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are once again preparing to resist the illegal clear-cutting of their territory. The Chief and Council of the Michikanibikok Inik have sent a statement the government of Quebec condemning illegal logging in their traditional territory, with permits issued by Québec's Ministry of Natural Resources. 

 New logging clearcuts have been discovered in the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, with permits issued by Québec's Ministry of Natural Resources. Loggers from Resolute Forest Products have been photographed collecting wood cut in the past 2 years by Pompon Road in the Lucie area. Cory, an Algonquin of Barriere Lake, main harvester in this area was never consulted. 

A number of forestry corporations - Eacom (formerly Domtar), Louisiana Pacific and Resolute Forest Products (formerly AbitibiBowater) have all been issued permits to log in Barriere Lake's territory, failing to consult with the Michikanibikok Inik Algonquins, in direct contravention of the 1991 Trilateral Agreement. Quebec is refusing to honour this landmark agreement which is intended to establish an unprecedented system of sustainable development and eco-management over 10,000 square kilometres of their unceded traditional territory.

A permanent injunction granted by Québec courts to Resolute Forest Products last year threatens Barriere Lake Algonquins with imprisonment if they blockade the logging. A protest camp established in the path of the logging last summer had briefly halted the destruction of sacred and environmentally sensitive sites in the Poigan region. It has now been discovered that Resolute went over their limits from last years cut plans they were initially bound to by the MNR and Algonquin emergency negotiations, taking advantage of the injunction against the community. Moose yards, bear dens, sacred sites, offering sites and historical sites that elder Gabriel had identified have been completely destroyed.


Read the Statement from Chief Casey Ratt and Council to Ministry of Natural Resources (Nov. 24 2013)

Sign the petition now to tell the Quebec Premier: STOP CLEAR-CUTTING BARRIERE LAKE'S LANDS WITHOUT CONSENT!

Attend a talk by Barriere Lake elder in Montreal. [TBA]

Photos: Norm Matchewan

Norm Matchewan (English Media) – 918-441-8006
Michel Thusky (French Media) – 819-435-2171


Barriere Lake Highway Action for Idle No More's Global Day of Action - October 7 2013

On the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which is the basis of legal recognition of Aboriginal Title in North America, Idle No More declared a Global Day of Action for Indigenous Sovereignty.

The Michikanibikok Inik, the Barriere Lake Anishinabek, took to the highway to raise awareness of their demands:

ABL Community's Current Demands

1. No forestry without the community’s voices
2. No mining without consent
3. No electrical hookup without a community plan
Revendications Actuelles des Algonquins de Lac Barrière
1. Pas de coupe forestière sans les voix de la
2. Pas d’exploration minière sans consentement
3. Pas de raccordement au réseau électrique sans un
plan communautaire
     Indigenous people have seen the wealth taken from our lands in the form of minerals and clear-cut logging, we have felt first hand the environmental, social, and spiritual costs that corporations and the Quebec and national governments have externalised onto us and our way of life. We are answering Idle No More's call for action today and slowing traffic on hwy 117 to educate people about this historic Indigenous-led global day of action.
                  - Norman Matchewan, Michikanibikok Inik,

Keep up with Barriere Lake's latest action: Barriere Lake Solidarity Facebook Page