Sunday, July 13, 2008

Justice for Barriere Lake! July 16-18

1. 3-Day Ottawa/Gatineau Picket
2. Barriere Lake Film Screening and Panel
3. Benefit Poetry Slam


For twenty difficult years, the small Algonquin community of Barriere Lake, 3 hours north of Ottawa, has been struggling to hold the government to their word. In 1991, they signed a landmark resource co-management and sustainable development agreement with Canada and Quebec to protect Algonquin land uses, conserve the forest and wildlife, and give them a share in the resource revenue from the logging and hydro projects on their traditional territories. Corporations extract $100 million a year -- Barriere Lake receives nothing.

The Canadian government walked away from the agreement in 2001. To avoid fulfilling their obligations, the Federal Department of Indian Affairs has ousted the Customary Chief and Council and illegally appointed a minority faction as the leadership, in an attempt to scrap the agreement. Despite knowledge of his government's illegal actions, Minister of Transport Lawrence Cannon, Harper's Quebec lieutenant and MP in Barriere Lake's riding of Pontiac, has not ensured the federal government complies with the law.

  • Despite several Quebec Hydro dams on their territory, the community is forced to use aging diesel generators to provide power.

  • The housing crisis in the community has reached tragic proportions, with most living in moldy, often condemned houses. As many as 18 people live in one house.

  • The Surete du Quebec has been used to forcibly impose and maintain the authority of the government-backed Chief and Council, supported by a community minority.

  • Children have been prevented from speaking Algonquin in school by teachers hired by Third Party Management — a grim throwback to residential schools.

Join us in Ottawa and Gatineau, and support the community as it demands that the government respect the law and uphold their agreements.

More Background

Arthur Manuel's Submission to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 7th Session, New York, April 21 – May 2, 2008:

A message from the community of Barriere Lake:

Photo-essay, Occupying Cannon's office:


3 DAY OTTAWA/GATINEAU PICKET in Solidarity with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake


WHERE: Lawrence Cannon's office at the Ministry of Transport
330 Sparks Street, OTTAWA, near the corner of Wellington and Kent
WHEN: Wednesday July 16 12:30pm-5pm and Thursday July 17 10:00am-5pm

WHERE: Department of Indian Affairs, Corner of Wellington and Montcalm in GATINEAU
WHEN: Friday, July 18 11:00am-5pm

* This is a peaceful demonstration in support of Barriere Lake community members who are in Ottawa to demand a meeting with their riding MP Lawrence Cannon, a leadership re-selection in accordance with their Customary Governance Code, which has been blatantly violated by the Federal Government, and that the Federal Government respect all signed agreements with the community.

* Bring banners, signs, placards, noise-makers...


*** A Film Screening and Panel Discussion *** Fund-raiser for Barriere Lake ***

Wednesday July 16, 7pm
Club SAW, 67 Nicholas Street, Ottawa
Between Daly Ave and Laurier, in the basement of the Arts Court building
Pay What You Can/Suggested Donation: $5-10

A Panel Discussion with:

Marylynn Poucachiche: Barriere Lake's Youth Representative to the Algonquin Nation Secretariat, she is involved in community education, as a teaching assistant and member of Barriere Lake's Educational Authority. A mother of five, she acts as a community spokesperson.

Michel Thusky: Band Manager from 1980 to 1996, he assists community members in their dealings with government agencies. He has been heavily involved with the Trilateral Agreement, coordinating land-use consultations and assisting with cultural aspects of the research. He
is a residential school survivor, and a community spokesperson.

Boyce Richardson: journalist, author and filmmaker. Since a visit to a reservation forty years ago, he has traveled through dozens of indigenous communities, written four books – including People of Terra Nullius: Betrayal and Rebirth in Aboriginal Canada and Strangers Devour the Land – and directed a half dozen films on indigenous affairs. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Film Screening: Blockade! Algonquins Defend the Forest (1990, 25 min)

Boyce Richardson's film offers a portrait of the Barriere Lake community as they launch a campaign to halt the industrial clear-cut logging that threatens their way of life, and gain a decisive say in the management of their traditional territories.

Competitive spoken word in support of Barriere Lake Algonquins

WHERE: Umi Cafe. 610 Somerset Street W at Percy
When: Friday, July 18, 7pm
Entrance: by donation

For more information, closer to the date: