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Highway Blockade set up by Barriere Lake Algonquins

October 6, 2008

Highway Blockade set up by Barriere Lake Algonquins

Barriere Lake Algonquins.jpg

Barriere Lake Algonquins peacefully blockade highway 117:
Community loses patience with broken agreements and coup d'etat on Algonquin territory

Brief description: After exhausting all political avenues, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and many non-native supporters have just blockaded highway 117. They will maintain the peaceful blockade until both the Canadian and Quebec governments honour their signed agreements that would allow co-management of their traditional territory and resource revenue sharing, and until Canada respects their leadership customs by appointing an observer to witness a leadership selection in accordance with their Customary Governance, and in good faith recognize the outcome.

Click here for the Algonquins' full list of demands

Quotes from Barriere Lake Algonquin Spokespeople:

Michel Thusky, community spokesperson: "To avoid their obligations, the federal government has deliberately violated our leadership customs by ousting our Customary Chief and Council. In what amounts to a coup d'etat, they are recognizing a Chief and Council rejected by a community majority. The Quebec government is cooperating with the federal government too because they are using the leadership issue as an excuse to bury the 1991 and 1998 Agreements they signed with our First Nation."

Norman Matchewan, community youth spokesperson: "The Conservative government, like the Liberal government before it, has treated us with contempt, refusing to respect the agreements they've signed with us. We've exhausted all our political options, but they've ignored or dismissed our community, leaving us with no choice but to peacefully blockade the highway to force the government to deal fairly with us."

Marylynn Poucachiche, community spokesperson: "The federal government pretends this is simply an internal issue. But we can only resolve the situation if the federal government appoints an observer to witness a new leadership selection that is truly in accordance with our Customary Governance Code, promises to respect the outcome, and then stops interfering in our internal affairs."

Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, a community teacher and part-time police officer who was racially slurred two weeks ago by the assistant of Conservative Minister Lawrence Cannon, the representative in Barriere Lake's riding of Pontiac: 647 - 227 - 6699

Marylynn Poucaciche, community educator and youth representative for Barriere Lake on the Algonquin Tribal Council: 438 - 868 - 3957

Michel Thusky, residential school survivor and elder: 819 - 435-2171

For More Information Please See the Barriere Lake Solidarity Collective.

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