“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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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.