Friday, March 24, 2017

Human Rights Delegates to Barriere Lake Support Community Demands for Immediate End to Third Party Management

March 23 2017

Human Rights Delegates to Barriere Lake Support Community Demands for Immediate End to Third Party Management

Photos by Allan Lissner/Barriere Lake Solidarity.
(Ottawa) We are a group of civil society organizations, concerned citizens, and politicians who visited the Algonquins of Barriere Lake on their Rapid Lake Reserve on Wednesday.

We sat aghast after presentations on the impact of “third party management” on the community. We learned that Indigenous Affairs hired external accounts to manage the band’s finances in 2006 while being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Despite paying astronomical fees, Barriere Lake’s deficit of a measly $83,000 has not been paid off to this day.

In the midst of plenty for Third Party Manager Lemieux-Nolet a community member is living in the basement of a burned out home with his family because not a single new house has been built in the community in 11 years.

We heard stories of money running dry for basic programs for the community. Stories about youth attending colleges in Sudbury and Ottawa texting band councilor Norman Matchewan about going hungry day after day and being unable to pay their fees. Stories about medical transport being offered only once a day to and from the communities, forcing sick elders to go to the hospital at 6am and return at 9pm, despite having only a check-up mid-day.

The stories of third party management were only matched in their kafka-esque nature by stories of how the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs imposed a “Section 74” order on the community in 2010, abolishing recognition of the community’s customary government.

Since then, Barriere Lake has been fighting to restore recognition for their customary government – a land-based, direct democracy of the people – that was arbitrarily and coercively replaced with band council elections. “Section 74” is an archaic section of the Indian Act that is only rarely exercised.

“We just want control back over our lives,” Chief Casey Ratt said, addressing the group.

We believe that the community is suffering from the collateral damage of a federal and provincial system that seeks to terminate the unceded jurisdiction of the Algonquions of Barriere Lake in order to remove impediments to access their rich lands for resource extraction and development. As the survival of Barriere Lake community members is put

at stake daily by bureaucratic violence, Barriere Lake’s ability to sustain connection to their land is under attack by Toronto-based Copper One. We stand with Barriere Lake as they say no to mining on their territories.

Some delegates on our trip come from places around the world that are escaping civil war, but civil war is exactly what the treatment of Barriere Lake looked like to them.


Zoe Todd, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Carleton University
Hayden King, Assistant Professor, Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Representatives from the following organizations endorsed this letter:

NYC Stands with Standing Rock
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Immigrant Workers Centre
Right Relations Network
Council of Canadians
Ottawa Riverkeepers
International League of Peoples Struggles
Climate Justice Montreal
Justice for Adbirahman
Quebec Solidaire
No One Is Illegal
Mexicans United for Regularization
Barriere Lake Solidarity
Barriere Lake Defense

Quebec Solidaire Statement of Support:

Media Coverage:

 Jorge Barrera asks the Minister of Indigenous Affairs about Barriere
Lake's TPM situation at 22 minutes:

Visit to Barriere Lake First Nation, March 22, 2017. Hayden King, compiled by Deborah Huron