Friday, December 16, 2016

Urgent call to action and Updates on the Struggle of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake Struggle Against Mining

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Urgent call to action and Updates on the Struggle of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against Mining 


What's the latest news?
Drilling on the territory has yet to begin. The community is now aware of specific drilling sites, which they are monitoring. A Quebec consultation on logging has delayed drilling, Quebec consults on cutting trees but not the related mining exploration activities like cutting trails for equipment and clearing drill sites. But tree-cutting and trail construction for drilling could begin as early as next week. Permits may be issued by Quebec to remove trees as early as Monday, December 18. 

In the meantime, community members have been winterizing the land defense camp. They are also continuing political efforts targeting the Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
Things you can do
1) URGENT: Ask Quebec to deny permits for drilling and road-building today and Monday: If you are a resident of Quebec, Please call and e-mail  the Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources Natural and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs today or Monday, and ask them to deny permits for [removal of trees, trail-making and drilling] in Copper One’s Riviere Dore claim on the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. These permits are being issued without the free, prior and informed consent of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and stand in direct violation of the community’s wishes for no mining on their traditional territories. Barriere Lake has expressed their opposition to mining on their territories in a September 2016 band council resolution and September 2012 letter to the Quebec government. The extraction of non-renewable resources from ABL territory violates the 1991 Trilateral Agreement with Quebec and Canada; the 1998 Bilateral agreement with Quebec and the 2001 Lincoln-Ciaccia joint recommendations. Tell Quebec to honor its word and deny these permits.
MERN: – Mines///418 627-62781 800 363-7233(Toll-free in Canada and United States)/service.mines@mern.gouv.qc.ca 
MERN Director of Aboriginal Affairs// 418 627-6254// 5700, 4e Avenue Ouest, C-422// Québec (Québec) G1H 6R
 MFFP Haute-Gatineau-et-du-Cabonga //266, rue Notre-Dame, RC 100///Maniwaki (Québec) J9E 2J8
Phone: 819 449-3333 // Fax : 819 449-6865. Email : outaouais@mffp.gouv.qc.ca
Bureau of the sub-Minister of Forests// 5700, 4e Avenue Ouest, bureau A-405// Québec (Québec) G1H 6R1// Phone: 418 627-8652
2) Watch the movie Honour your Word : You can now stream the movie on your computer for $4.99. Even better, watch it with friends or organize a screening with a group. Be part of a growing network of supporting individuals and groups.
3) 

Donate : Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. Donations from people like you have covered basic costs of the land defense camp and monitoring of the territory. These costs are ongoing, and there are likely to be other needs in the months ahead. Donations continue to be very welcome and helpful. You can donate through Paypal or by cheque
4) Sign and share the petition: You can sign it online, or print this paper copy: printable English version

5) Print the PDF brochure (1pg doublesided, folded in three) on Barriere Lake's struggle against Mining to make copies and distribute
6) Spread the word and stay tuned : Soon there will be other ways to support the community. By email or through our Facebook page, stay tuned for upcoming events to be announced in the coming weeks or months in Montreal, Ottawa or Toronto.
6) Watch these two short videos that you can stream online on the struggle of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake against mining

What is at stake?
For the community, a huge mine in the heart of their territory would have devastating effects. The community has invited other users of the territory and supporters to join them in protecting this area, which includes part of the largest wildlife reserve in Quebec. Communities downstream also have reasons to oppose the proposed mine, which threatens to contaminate the headwaters of the Ottawa river

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Petition: Moratorium on all Mining Activities in the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake


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Petition: Moratorium on all Mining Activities Within the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake






Please sign and share widely. 

English:

 https://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-6379/index.html

CONSIDERING THAT the majestic La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve of Québec and neighbouring lands are under threat from mining;

CONSIDERING THAT in 1991, a Trilateral Agreement was signed by Canada, Québec and the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to develop a land management plan for the sustainable development of renewable resources and the continuation of the traditional activities by the Algonquins of Barriere Lake;

CONSIDERING THAT mining could pose a threat to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake's culture and way of life and to this draft land management plan;

CONSIDERING THAT the Québec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources has given the green light for mining staking and exploration, particularly an 80-kilometre claim from a junior mining company Copper One Inc. without the consent or consultation with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake who have lived there for millennia;

CONSIDERING THAT any mine in the region would contaminate water, affect wildlife, and negatively impact the health and way of life of the Algonquin peoples living there;

CONSIDERING THAT we are in solidarity with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, environmental groups and wildlife users;
We, the undersigned, call on the Québec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources to completely ban all mining activity (staking, exploration, development) within the 1991 Trilateral Agreement Territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve Region).

Signing deadline : February 10, 2017


Ottawa: Indigenous Land Defence: An Evening with Speakers and Multimedia

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Indigenous Land Defence: An Evening with Speakers and Multimedia

Wednesday, December 7
7:00pm - 9:30pm
Bronson Centre (Mac Hall) 
211 Bronson Ave 
Ottawa & livestream online

Standing Rock #NoDAPL
Chaudière Falls sacred site
Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion
... and (as a fundraiser - all levels of donations welcome - for):
Algonquins of Barriere Lake - No Mining! Land Defenders Camp

Childcare is planned to be available on site.

Event contact: org4justice@gmail.com

Event web post & livestream info:
http://ipsmo.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/indigenous-land-defence-dec7-event/

Background info & email sign-up: www.BarriereLakeSolidarity.org

** Support Barriere Lake via paypal even if you don't attend in person:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JU3W8CQVB5Y2A

Special event this Wednesday evening to celebrate and support Indigenous land defence - and a fundraiser for Algonquins of Barriere Lake land defenders camp. *Timed to coincide with AFN chiefs meetings in Gatineau Dec 6-8.
Also please share; and here are print PDFs for offline distro:
- Poster https://t.co/3qxCO1MFx8 -&- Flyers https://t.co/9rokj1NFbX
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

No Mining on Barriere Lake Algonquin Lands
Please Support the Land Protection Camp!


The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have set-up a land protection camp at a proposed mining site in the heart of their territory, where core sample drilling is scheduled to begin at any time.The drilling would require construction of access roads and tree cutting, as well as the disposal of drilling debris and waste water. The mining claim covers over 300 square kilometers of Barriere Lake’s land base (see map), which contains the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve. The staked area is abundant with lakes, wetlands and waterways and is an important hunting and fishing area for Barriere Lake families.
The mineral claims were staked under the “fee mining” system without the free prior informed consent of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. While a number of companies hold mining claims in the territory, it is junior mining company Copper One that holds the largest number of claims and which is planning to do exploration work this fall and winter. This development comes after the company’s claims were suspended by Quebec following Barriere Lakes stating their opposition to mining in the territory. Neither Quebec nor the company gave Barriere Lake any notification of the change in status of the claims.
Please donate at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JU3W8CQVB5Y2A to support the ongoing costs of the community's land protection camp. This camp is the most direct and effective way to support the protection of this ecosystem!
This proposed mining project perpetuates the colonial relationship where Canada, Quebec and private corporations collaborate to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands, means of subsistence and culture.. In the words of elder Michel Thusky, Copper One’s mining project is an attempt “to bury our cultural identity alive under the debris of mining tailings.” By saying no to mining, Barriere Lake is asserting care for Algonquin people, the land, and future generations. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have consistently opposed mining activity on their ancestral and current-use territory. They assert their rights and jurisdiction in the spirit of co-existence embodied in the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, the 1998 Bilateral Agreement, and subsequent proposals for resource co-management with the federal and provincial governments that have largely been ignored so that our lands can remain “open for business” to unsustainable development. Despite Barriere Lake’s persistent opposition to this work and insistence that this mine cannot go forward, in August 2016 Copper One raised $2.4 million dollars for exploration work.
“We will take all necessary but peaceful measures to protect our waters, lands and wildlife” says Councillor Norman Matchewan. At the request of the community, Barriere Lake Solidarity is fundraising to cover the ongoing expenses of the land protection camp and monitoring of the territory, as well as for any future legal fees, which may be necessary to stop mining exploration and activity on the land. Please give generously at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JU3W8CQVB5Y2A and share our fundraising call widely. All funds raised will go directly to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, to use towards their efforts to protect the land.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Algonquins Hold an Information Toll on Highway 117 to Inform Travelers About Quebec Lifting a Mining Moratorium Threatening Waters, Lands & Wildlife

Press release

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/October 10, 2016) As part of the National Indigenous Day of Action the Algonquins of Barriere Lake are placing an Information Toll on Highway 117, which runs through their ancestral territory, recognized in 1991 by a Trilateral Land Management Agreement with Canada and Quebec.

A junior mining company, Copper One, intends to begin drilling on the territory within days and within the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve. The Ministry of Natural Resources is allowing them to proceed, without any consultation or transparency.

In June 2016, while the Council was negotiating a Draft Implementation Agreement with Quebec to implement the 1991 and 1998 Agreements the Quebec government stealthily lifted the moratorium on mining on their ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory, which had been in force since 2011.

The moratorium on mining activities was lifted unilaterally by the Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources without any prior advice to, or consultation with, the Algonquin Peoples’ as directed by the Supreme Court of Canada in recent case-law.

In August, 2016, representatives of the Algonquin Peoples’ had specifically asked for confirmation from the Special Representative of Quebec, Mr. Mario Gibeault, that no mining activities were contemplated on the Seaman forestry sector located on their ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory, and had obtained written confirmation on August 6, 2016, that no mining activities were contemplated;

As a result of the lifting of the moratorium, the mining company Copper One announced immediately after that it was preparing to start mining activities on their ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory;

Mining activities are completely incompatible with both the terms and intent of the Trilateral Agreement of 1991, the Bilateral Agreement with Quebec of 1998, and the 2006 Joint Recommendations from Special Representatives of Quebec and Barriere Lake, which is to ensure the continuation of our Algonquin Peoples’ traditional activities and the sustainable use of renewable resources, the very reason the moratorium was imposed five years ago, paradoxically the mining activities contemplated are to take place within Quebec’s largest Wildlife Reserve.

The Algonquin Peoples’ have forcefully and consistently voiced their opposition to mining activities on their ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory. As such, no mining activity (staking, exploration or development) will be accepted on their ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory.

Barriere Lake Councillor and Spokesperson, Norman Matchewan stated “We are urging all those who use and appreciate the land, waters, fish and wildlife of this area – those with whom we share our territory – to join us in opposing a new, and more damaging type of development here. We will be reaching out to like-minded groups across Quebec and beyond to work with us to ensure the exploration activities Copper One has in mind do not happen. We invite everyone to join us in this effort. Rest assured, we will do what we must to protect the land.”

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Quebec Stealthily Lifts Mining Moratorium and Algonquins Respond by Preparing to Defend Their Ancestral Territorial Waters, Lands & Wildlife

Press release

(Kitiganik, Algonquin Territory/September 12, 2016) Last week our Chief and Council adopted the attached resolution opposing any mining activities (staking, exploration, development) within our ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory and demanding the reinstatement of the mining moratorium, which had been in place since 2011.

Since time immemorial, our First Nation has used and occupied our lands for the pursuit of traditional activities, managing the lands and resources, as part of our way of life, on the basis of conservation and harmony with Mother Earth. However, impacts from flooding, logging and wildlife depletion, in the last 125 years have devastated the lands and resources and disrupted our traditional way of life.

To overcome these impacts and to maintain our traditional way of life and to improve the management of the lands and resources for the benefit of all, our First Nation encouraged the Governments of Canada and Quebec to cooperate in a partnership in developing a conservation strategy based on the principles of sustainable development as expressed in the 1987 Report of the U.N. Committee on Environment and Development (Brundtland Report).

In good faith, our First Nation signed a Trilateral Agreement with Canada and Quebec on August 22, 1991 to promote sustainable development of renewable resources and the reconciliation of resource uses by our Algonquin Peoples’ and non-Algonquin people within the territory identified by the Trilateral Agreement, which is our ancestral (and current-use) territory.

Despite some disagreements, our First Nation and Quebec came to an agreement on the Trilateral Agreement approach and process, which led to a Bilateral Agreement on May 22, 1998, for undertaking negotiations on co-management of natural resources and resource revenue sharing among other issues, under the Trilateral Agreement between our First Nation and Quebec.

In 2006, we came very close to a long-term agreement with Quebec, which unfortunately failed because Quebec refused to accept even a very small share of revenue-sharing on our ancestral Territory on behalf of our Algonquin Peoples’. However, negotiations resumed in 2015, and if the current mining problem hadn’t become an issue we had been hopeful of reaching a mutually-beneficial agreement with Quebec.

In June 2016, while our Council was negotiating a Draft Agreement with Quebec to implement the 1991 and 1998 Agreements the Quebec government stealthily lifted the moratorium on mining on our ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory, which had been in force since 2011.

The moratorium on mining activities was lifted unilaterally by the Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources without any prior advice to, or consultation with, our Algonquin Peoples’ as directed by the Supreme Court of Canada in recent case-law.

In August, 2016, representatives of our Algonquin Peoples’ had specifically asked for confirmation from the Special Representative of Quebec, Mr. Mario Gibeault, that no mining activities were contemplated on the Seaman forestry sector located on our ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory, and had obtained written confirmation on August 6, 2016, that no mining activities were contemplated;

As a result of the lifting of the moratorium, the mining company Copper One announced immediately after that it was preparing to start mining activities on our ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory;

Mining activities are completely incompatible with both the terms and intent of the Trilateral Agreement of 1991, the Bilateral Agreement of 1998, and the 2006 Recommendations flowing therefrom, which is to ensure the continuation of our Algonquin Peoples’ traditional activities and the sustainable use of renewable resources, the very reason the moratorium was imposed five years ago, paradoxically the mining activities contemplated would take place within Quebec’s largest Wildlife Reserve.

Our Algonquin Peoples’ have forcefully and consistently voiced our opposition to mining activities on our ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory. As such, no mining activity (staking, exploration or development) will be accepted on our ancestral (and current-use) Trilateral Agreement Territory.

Chief Casey Ratt stated “We have written the Quebec Premier and the relevant Ministers demanding that the lands within our ancestral Territory be withdrawn from staking and other mineral activity by the Minister, and that the existing mining claims be cancelled. We know the Quebec Mining Act provides authority for the Minister to restrict mining activities within our ancestral Territory and to cancel any existing mining claims in the territory.”

Councillor Norman Matchewan added “Our Algonquin Peoples’ are monitoring on the land for any sign of mining activities and if any mining exploration operations are found we will take all necessary but peaceful measures to protect our waters, lands and wildlife.”

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mitchikanabikok Inik (Algonquin's of Barriere Lake) Newsletter from Chief and Council - May 2016

Inside this Issue:
  • Chief's Message 
  • Update on Title Extinguishment
  • ABL to "Bloc Algonquin"
  • Algonquins to UN CERD
  • AFN-ABL Support Resolution
  • ABL Future Vision 
ABL Chief & Council Meeting with INAC, Quebec and Hydro-Quebec in Maniwaki on electrification and land expansion issues on Feb. 23, 2016

"We told INAC, Quebec and Hydro-Quebec that there are outstanding issues with the federal government. Our Council wants clear political commitments from Minister Bennett about honouring the 1991 Trilateral Agreement and the 1997 Memorandum of Mutual Intent.
- Chief Casey Ratt


Full newsletter is available at:

http://montreal.mediacoop.ca/story/mitchikanabikok-inik-algonquins-barriere-lake-news/35446

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Feds Fail on New Relationship with Algongquins of Barriere Lake, Health Canada Response Disappoints Community


PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Rapid Lake/Ottawa) The Algoqnuins of Barriere Lake are deeply disappointed with Health Canada’s response to a recent protest against the department’s medical transportation procedures that put community members’ health at risk (see last Thursday press release here). Barriere Lake is an Algonquin Anishnaabe community located in western Quebec, 3 ½ hours north of Ottawa.

“While we appreciated the opportunity to dialogue with Health Canada, the paternalistic attitude of Health Canada bureaucrats has left the community infuriated” said Chief Ratt. “Health Canada has failed to respect the community’s authority to administer medical transportation services that are culturally appropriate and ensure the health, safety and security of community members.”

Health Canada acted unilaterally once again imposing discriminatory rules that make it difficult for community members on the reserve to follow up their regular medical appointments, which could result in serious consequences for the vulnerable including children. Since December, the imposed rules by Health Canada have resulted in community members missing over 20 medical appointments.

Currently, Health Canada gives their nurses working in the community the liberty of calling taxis for emergencies and dialysis patients. As for other community members to access transportation services to meet their medical needs there is still a 48-hour pre-authorization required by the regional Health Canada bureaucrats. Continuing with the use of taxis for medical transportation would cost Health Canada approximately $15,000-$20,000 for a two-week period whereas, community drivers would receive a fraction of that amount for the month to provide essential services to eligible beneficiaries under the funding agreement signed between Third Party Managers (TPM) and Health Canada.

“Health Canada makes up rules as they go which clearly confirms that both TPM and the regional office have not implemented the national medical transportation framework policy since 2006. We have not heard from other First Nations complaining about medical transportation services. Why is our community being treated this way as we are the most vulnerable from all other nine Algonquin First Nation communities? The nearest health facilities are located 160km north, in Val-D'or, or 150km south, in Mont Laurier and Maniwaki.” stated Jessica Thusky, Health Coordinator at Barriere Lake.

Given violence against Native women in the region, women in the community are uneasy taking a taxi a long distance on a fairly isolated highway with a stranger. The community-contracted drivers ensure those traveling to appointments feel comfortable as the drivers are known, speak Algonquin and are respectful of their passengers’ needs. By exclusively relying on taxis from neighbouring towns rather than drivers from the community, Health Canada’s imposition is contrary to the goal of the Liberal government for a new relationship with First Nations particularly through reconciliation and the national inquiry on the missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Barriere Lake demands that authorization for all medical transportation be returned to the community and that the services from the community-contracted drivers is immediately restored.

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Media Contacts:

Casey Ratt, Chief: 819-441-8002
Tony Wawatie, Interim Director General, English & French Spokesperson: 819-355-3662
Jessica Thusky, Health Coordinator: 819-651-2904
Michel Thusky, French Spokesperson: 819-215-0591

For background on the Algonquins of Barriere Lake: www.barrierelakesolidartiy.org.

Members of Algonquins of Barriere Lake hold signs in protest in front of a Health Canada building in Ottawa (Photo Credit: iPolitics.ca)



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Health Canada Red Tape Puts Community Members’ Health at Risk: Algonquins of Barriere Lake

For Immediate Release

(Ottawa/January 14, 2016) Representatives from the Algonquins of Barriere Lake are in Ottawa today, protesting bureaucratic and obstructionist practices of Health Canada. Recent changes to the administration of medical transportation services in the community are leading to delays, loss of access to transportation and gross inefficiencies in the use of funds. The community is angered and frustrated that the Ministry’s red tape is putting some of their most vulnerable community members at risk and are demanding they be given back the authority to manage their own transportation budget.

As part of the health services provided to this and other Indigenous communities across Canada, Health Canada pays for transportation to medical appointments outside of the community, which is 3 hours north of Ottawa and which is serviced with a basic health clinic staffed by Health Canada nurses. Until recently, the travel expenses were efficiently managed by community-level health centre staff using drivers contracted from the community.

Starting in the New Year, Health Canada is requiring pre-authorizations by federal bureaucrats for transportation to medical appointments, and is withholding payments to the contractual drivers. These unilateral changes are creating unnecessary delays, leading to people missing appointments, and putting their health at risk. In one case a newborn requiring urgent attention in Maniwaki, QC was delayed departure from the community by over 4 hours while waiting for approval for the trip. Fortunately the baby was fine on this instance, but the waits, delays and missed appointments are creating a tremendous amount of stress for the community.

Casey Ratt, Chief of the Alognquins of Barriere Lake, insists that the community can manage the medical transportation funds. “We can handle this issue locally, do it more efficiently, be more responsive and have it cost a lot less than the current mess created by Health Canada” stated Chief Ratt.

Health Canada’s approval requirements include 48 hours’ notice, and disclosure of personal medical information, information that the community’s nursing staff do not want to provide, fearing a breach of their obligations to protect privacy.

“This issue has led to a real loss of trust between us and Health Canada” said Chief Ratt “We have heard some encouraging words from Prime Minister Trudeau these last few months, and appreciate his statement that for his government there is no relationship more important than the one with Indigenous peoples. Well it’s time for the Prime Minister and Ministers Philpott and Bennet to live up to these commitments”

Time and Location of Rally:
12 PM, January 14, 2016
70 Columbine Drive, Ottawa ON