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First Day of Protests by Barriere Lake Algonquins

July 17, 2008

First Day of Protests by Barriere Lake Algonquins

OTTAWA- The Barriere Lake Algonquins are once again back in Ottawa for a three day protest. Camping out on Victoria Island, the community, alongside Montreal and Ottawa activists, has organized a panel discussion, a series of protests, marches, and events including a panel discussion, film screening, and poetry show.

Last time the Algonquins came to Ottawa, they peacefully occupied MP Lawrence Cannon's office, demanding the end of a March coup d'etat the government enacted on their reserve.

Press Release

Friday, July 16, 2008

Algonquins to demonstrate in front of Department of Indian Affairs and march through downtown Ottawa: demand Government of Canada end illegal interference in community governance and oversee new leadership selection

Ottawa, ON / – Algonquins from the Barriere Lake First Nation will end three days of demonstrations in Ottawa by picketing in front of the Department of Indian Affairs in Gatineau at 11:00am and marching through the downtown core at 1:30pm, demanding that the Government oversee a leadership re-selection in accordance with Barriere Lake's customs, and honour its signed agreements with the community.

"Once again, the federal government has interfered in the internal affairs of Barriere Lake, by recognizing a leadership that didn't follow our traditions and customs," says Marylynn Poucachiche, a Barriere Lake spokesperson. "Indian Affairs registered the outcome and recognized a minority faction to get out of agreements they've signed with the community."

In 1991 the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, a community three hours north of Ottawa, signed a Trilateral Agreement with the governments of Canada and Quebec, establishing a landmark sustainable development, conservation, and resource co-management process praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. However, the Government of Canada has regularly tried to evade their obligations under the agreement. On March 10th, 2008, for the third time in 12 years, the government of Canada interfered in the internal governance of Barriere Lake, ousting the Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council and recognizing a Chief and Council whom the Barriere Lake Elder's Council say were not selected in accordance with the community's customs and whom the majority of the community does not support.

"I don't think it's right for any government to interfere this way," says Poucachiche. "The government should respect our traditions and customs and continue with the negotiation of the signed agreements."

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat (ANS), the Tribal Council representing the Algonquin First Nations of Barriere Lake, Wolf Lake, and Timiskaming, continues to recognize and work with deposed Chief Nottaway and his Council. ANS Grand Chief Norman Young recently issued a letter to Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl, encouraging him to support a leadership reselection process in the community.

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Media Contacts:

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: (613) 263-9330

Michel Thusky, Barriere Lake spokesperson (available 12-1pm, 4pm–onward): (819) 435-2171

Norman Young, Algonquin Nation Secretariat Grand Chief: (819) 627 -6869

For more information: www.barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com

Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière

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