Monday, December 16, 2013

Algonquin’s land protection camps forces Quebec to Agree to a Process to Protect Sensitive Zones from Logging: Next Step Implementation of Landmark Co-Management/Revenue Sharing Agreements

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/December 16, 2013) – After community members of the Barriere Lake First Nation established a land protection camp to protest clear-cut logging on sensitive areas of their land, Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources has agreed to respect a previously negotiated process to harmonize forestry operations with the community’s traditional activities. Called the “measures to harmonize” process it involves field visits by Barriere Lake Algonquins to the proposed cut block areas and identification of buffer zones of various sizes to protect cultural sites and ecological areas.

The Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources had—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 have subsequently clear-cut vast tracts of the forest this past summer and fall, up to the end of November, when the Algonquins stopped the unauthorized logging, which has been taking place in violation of signed Agreements with the First Nation.

Photo credit: Norman Matchewan
Resolute Forest Products and other logging companies have already damaged many sensitive zones on the Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement Territory.

This recent decision by Quebec’s Minister of Natural Resources to respect a previously negotiated Forestry Protocol and related buffer zone prescriptions provides time for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to conduct field visits to proposed logging sites scheduled for the 2013-14 operating year and identify buffer zones around sites of cultural and ecological importance to the Algonquin Peoples.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake intend to ensure that in early 2014, the commitment made by Quebec’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Elizabeth Larouche, is fulfilled to establish a negotiation table early in 2014 with the active participation of all of the relevant Quebec departments involved in implementing the outstanding 2006 Joint Recommendations of Mr. John Ciaccia and Mr. Clifford Lincoln.

The Ciaccia-Lincoln Joint Recommendations are the result of intensive negotiations between the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and Quebec under a 1991 Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement and a related 1998 Agreement, which includes Co-Management of the territory and Resource Revenue Sharing among other issues.

Photo credit: Norman Matchewan
The Algonquins have removed their Land Protection camp within the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve at the Poigan sector but are monitoring their territory to stop any unauthorized logging from further damaging Algonquin cultural sites and critical wildlife habitat while ensuring the agreed upon Measures to Harmonize Process is completed for the 2013-14 proposed logging sites.


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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) 527-7343
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson Telephone: (819) 435-2171

Monday, December 9, 2013

Algonquins Erect Land Protection Camp to Save Cultural Sites & Critical Wildlife Habitat from Destructive Logging within La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/December 9, 2013) This past Spring, 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 have subsequently clear-cut vast tracts of the forest this past summer and fall, up to last week, when the Algonquins stopped the unauthorized logging, which has been taking place in violation of signed Agreements with the First Nation.

Photo credit: Norm Matchewan
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.

Today the Algonquins have erected a Land Protection camp within the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve at the Poigan sector, to stop unauthorized logging from damaging Algonquin cultural sites and critical wildlife habitat until an already agreed upon Measures to Harmonize Process is re-established on an urgent basis. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are demanding that the Quebec government:

  1. Cooperate in a measures to harmonize process to identify and protect cultural and ecological sites. 
  2. Honour the 1991 landmark Barriere Lake Trilateral Agreement and related 1998 Agreement with Quebec on Co-Management and Resource Revenue Sharing among other issues. 

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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) 527-7343
Michel Thusky (French) Spokesperson Telephone: (819) 435-2171

Photo credit: Rose Nottaway

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Algonquins of Barriere Lake stop unauthorized forestry operations on their territory until Agreements respected

Barriere Lake, Quebec / - Today the Algonquins of Barriere Lake non-violently stopped forestry operations that are devastating their lands in Western Quebec.

On November 24 the Chief and Council of the community sent a letter to the Quebec government demanding they respect a signed agreements with Barriere Lake that are supposed to prevent logging on ecological and culturally sensitive areas.

"We are trying to protect and steward the land and water for future generations of native and non-native society, " says Norman Matchewan, a Barriere Lake councilor.

In 1991, Barriere Lake signed a historic Trilateral agreement with Quebec and Canada. Its aim was to establish an unprecedented system of sustainable development and eco-management over 10,000 square kilometres of their unceded traditional territory.

In 1998, Barriere Lake and Quebec signed a related Agreement to negotiate co-management of the territory and resource revenue sharing among other issues.

The Quebec and Canadian governments have refused to honour the 1991 and 1998 Agreements, allowing Eacom (formally Domtar,) Louisiana Pacific, and Resolute Forest Products (formerly AbitbiBowater) to clear-cut huge areas without consultation of the community.

Three weekends ago, Quebec police visited Barriere Lake's Chief Casey Ratt at home on a Saturday morning.

In a letter to the Quebec government, Barriere Lake's Chief and Council writes: "While we try with our very modest means to protect our resources from unfair exploitation, you make sure the Surete du Quebec are there to intimidate us, which means court appearances and often jail."

"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," the letter adds.


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Media Contact: 

Norman Matchewan 819-441-8006