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Lia Tarachansky's blog

July 17, 2008 Weblog:

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.

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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.

» continue reading "First Day of Protests by Barriere Lake Algonquins"

July 9, 2008 Weblog:

Indigenous Peoples' Declaration on G8 Summit

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Prior the G8 Summit in Japan this year indigenous peoples from around the world gathered in Ainu Mosir. This is the official declaration they have prepared.

INTRODUCTION

» continue reading "Indigenous Peoples' Declaration on G8 Summit"

July 7, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake Algonquins Interviews

GATINEAU- on June 26th, 2008 Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake reserve in Quebec came to Gatineau. A protest was called outside the Northern and Indian Affairs building to demand the governemnt reverse the recent coup d'etat it imposed on the reserve. The protest turned out to be a diversion for a peaceful sit-in which took place in MP Lawrence Cannon's office in Buckingham, QC. In spite of the indigenous and solidarity activists demands to see the MP they were ignored and six members were arrested. They were released later in the night.

Correction: unnamed Algonquin representative of Barriere Lake in video is former Customary Chief Jean-Maurice Matchewan, under whose leadership Canada and Quebec signed the reserve's Trilateral Agreement in 1991.

July 6, 2008 Weblog:

G-8 Protests in Japan- Photographs

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Attending the Indigenous People's Summit in Ainu Mosir, Benjamin Powless, an Ottawa-based independent photojournalist and indigneous activist, remained in Japan to document resistence to the annual Group of 8 meeting. Please see his photoessay for more photographs.

July 2, 2008 Weblog:

Explosive Lamenting

Walking among the smiling, excited crowds, it’s almost possible to forget that we’re at war. It's eerie and bewildering to be so far from it. During the first Gulf War we were sitting in bunkers in gas masks, and even though Haifa was only lightly bombed, it wasn't this removed. Then there's of course suicide bombings, but I refuse to think about that considering the constant carpet bombing Palestinians endure. But in this country, I find so easy to forget that I'm at war. That we're at war in my name. It's easy to forget, that is, until that first firework goes off. Nightfall amazement among half-open mouths, staring into an illuminated sky.

I force myself to keep my eyes open so my brain overrides my mind and reminds me that it is, indeed, just fireworks. Each one, large one, awe-inducing one, sends shivers through me. Each one, large one, forcing me into the foetal position, covering my head with my arms, trying as hard as I can to not twitch every time, fear someone sees. Fear someone sees I’m not enjoying this. Fear someone sees that some of us remember we are at war.

I look at the exploding sky and note the difference. The ground doesn’t shake. There are no fires. The screaming all around is that of joy and not of agony. No ambulances and black smoke in the distance. No anxious speeding of your heart as you hear that screech through the sky with one propelling flame- whisking, zipping up, louder, louder, louder- EXPLOSION.

» continue reading "Explosive Lamenting"

June 27, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake Algonquins arrested, jailed, and released

Short video of the arrests, by Bill Clenet, ROCG

After a six hour occupation of MP Lawrence Cannon's Office in Buckingham, QC, yesterday, six Algonquin activists and allies were arrested by Sûreté du Québec police officers.

The arrestees were detained for four hours and were finally released at 9:30 p.m. into the arms of cheering family and friends outside the Gatineau Police Department building.

Among the awaiting crowd was Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway (seen in video) whom the government attempted to revoke from power in the Barriere Lake reserve by imposing a minority appointed government. The so called Coup D'etat was the latest in a long series of governmental interventions in the impoverished reserve and led to the office occupation which took place yesterday. Previously, the indigenous representatives attempted to raise awareness of neo-Colonial internvention in their community by camping on Parliament Hill one year ago.

More information soon...

June 26, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake Algonquins Occupy MP Office

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GATINEAU - On Thursday, June 26th, Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake and allies assembled outside the Gatineau offices of Indian Affairs, across the river from Ottawa. The demonstration was a diversion, intended to draw attention from peaceful occupation of Lawrence Cannon's office, MP for the Barriere Lake region. The Algonquins demanded a meeting with Cannon to discuss the recent government ousting of the Customary Chief and Council as well as a re-election monitored by outside observers.

The Barriere Lake Solidarity Collective, based in Montreal, as well as Algonquin representatives from Barriere Lake itself have vowed they will not leave the office until their demands are met. They have been threatened with arrest, and are welcoming support from anyone willing or able to assemble in Buckingham, QC.

Algonquin media liaisons inside the office occupation were unreachable, but Django, a spokesperson of the Solidarity Collective answered a few questions. Speaking to the situation on the ground he noted that “on the inside the police have asked some of the people to leave peacefully. There were three people that left [because they] weren’t willing to be arrested. [Those were] a cameraman and two Algonquins.” When asked what he predicts will take place later in the day, he replied “we’re still waiting for the demands to be met. The office normally closes at 4:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. so we’re thinking that’s probably the time [the police are] going to try and do the arrests.”

» continue reading "Barriere Lake Algonquins Occupy MP Office"

June 24, 2008 Weblog:

McCain visits Ottawa in vain- Footage

On June 21st, 2008, American presidential candidate, Senator John McCain visited Ottawa. Speaking to a packed luncheon at the prestigeous Fairmont Chateau Laurier, the Senator was met coldly both by Ottawa citizens and the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. See Article here

June 21, 2008 Weblog:

McCain visits Ottawa in vain

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OTTAWA- on Friday, June 20th, Senator John McCain visited Ottawa to meet with officials and business representatives. Speaking to a sold out luncheon at the prestigious Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel, Sen. McCain addressed such noteworthy guests as Thomas D’Aquino, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and David Emerson, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Invited by the Economic Club of Toronto, the candidate was met with a vocal and articulate opposition outside hotel’s entrance. A press conference organized by the Council of Canadians outside the main doors saw the attention of such news service agencies as the CBC, the A Channel, and even CNN.

A crowd of roughly 100 protesters from the Student Coalition Against War, No War/Paix, Graduate Students Association of the University of Ottawa, and even Babies Against McCain assembled to show their disdain to the visit. Maude Barlow, president of the Council explained NAFTA and free trade are a major part of the reason for the protest. “We are particularly concerned about three things. One is the energy provisions that disproportionately force us to share our energy with the U.S. The second is water, and the third major issue is that corporations have a right to sue [as individuals] under NAFTA.” If McCain is elected, Ms. Barlow predicts it will be “more of the Bush agenda.” She warns that
the world cannot afford another George [W.] Bush, it cannot afford the presidency of Senator McCain.”

» continue reading "McCain visits Ottawa in vain"

June 17, 2008 Weblog:

From an Israeli to Jack Layton

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Dear Jack Layton,

I would like to commend you on your decision to participate in the Durban Review Conference in April 2009. Canada's boycott of this Geneva conference goes to demonstrate the government's recent change in foreign relations to Israel. It goes hand in hand with the recently signed Canada-Israel Free Trade agreement, and the Security Agreement between our two countries.

I am a Canadian Israeli and have previously lived in the West Bank in an illegal settlement (on Palestinian land). In spite of the fact that the entire world has again and again agreed the occupation of the West Bank, the building of Settlements, and the construction of the Wall are contradictory to international law, Israel has proceeded to ignore them. In spite of the International Court of Justice decision, and the annual voting by the United Nations on the Palestinian Refugee's right of return, Israel has been implementing racist, apartheid laws and enforcing them year after year.

As a former refugee from the Soviet Union, I remember not belonging anywhere, I remember the complete dire poverty, and the deafening fear of persecution. We have been faced with centuries of anti-Semitism in the former USSR and have lived through immense discriminatory violence within our lifetimes. That is why when we escaped to Israel we were at first blind to the political significance of our presence there and what our new nation was doing to its indigenous population. It took living in the West Bank as economic settlers to see the system of apartheid for what it really is.

» continue reading "From an Israeli to Jack Layton"

May 15, 2008 Weblog:

New Orleans: America's Palestine

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Once the catastrophe hit it was a long time before people started to understand what was really going on. By then, the world had abandoned the already marginalized communities, leaving them to fend for themselves while being largely displaced and devoid of rights.

Walking through the still devastated neighbourhoods, the poverty is simply striking. Abandoned, barely standing homes are interspersed with a few renovated ones here and there. International and national volunteers converge to pour their efforts into single projects, but what they leave behind is perhaps even more telling than what they've originally found.

As they scrape together the resources to rebuild, others see an opportunity in the devastation. A large evacuation, such as that of the 9th Ward of whose 17,000 original residents 14,000 remain displaced, produces quite a business opening. Cheap real estate has become the market of choice for opportunists as every abandoned plot boasts a "for sale" sign.

Effectively, an ethic cleansing is underway as the predominantly black population of such neighbourhoods as New Orleans East and the 9th Ward has disappeared. In the former, it is actively and aggressively being replaced by suburban, predominantly white residents. In the latter, the destruction is still too significant for a strong gentrification to take place. In the city's centre, public housing projects have decreased by 80 per cent largely thanks to home demolitions.

» continue reading "New Orleans: America's Palestine"

May 1, 2008 Weblog:

Tyendinaga Photography

April 29, 2008 Weblog:

Tyendinaga Declares Victory

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After a week of tension the police services have declared withdrawal from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Though announcing today all Ontario Provincial Police barricades are to be removed, cruisers and helicopters continue to survey the area.

Satisfied with the outcome, the Mohawk defenders of the Quarry have declared victory, consequent to which all solidarity blockades at Six Nations in Caledonia have also been removed.

Three members of the Tyendinaga Mohawks remain in custody though two were released on Monday, April 28th, 2008.

Supplies, a trailer, a barbecue, food, and some vehicles belonging to the Mohawk community have been taken by the police forces and are still not returned.

Meanwhile, non-Native allies have been assembling and delivering supplies from various Ontario cities to support the Mohawks in their struggle since Friday, April 25th, 2008.

The community estimates police surveillance will continue until Thursday when the remaining detainees are scheduled to appear in court.

For this purpose they are requesting monetary assistance with legal fees and will be holding various fundraisers.

April 29, 2008 Weblog:

Tyendinaga: Blockades and Solidarity continue

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Yesterday morning, Monday April 28th, police forces of mixed origin invaded the Tyendinaga blockade on Deseronto road. Following a short confrontation, a trailer belonging to the blockaders along with food and a barbeque were confiscated.

A trench dug by the Mohawk blockaders was filled in by the police, which forced them to retract to a single point on Deseronto road. Most of the blockades established over the weekend have been taken down or forcibly dismantled by police.

The Quarry is now surrounded with 2-300 police officers along with intelligence and surveillance vehicles.

Of the five arrestees, detained Friday April 28th, 2008, Daniel John Doreen, 34, and Stephen Chartrand, 32, were released.

According to The Whig, the bail conditions the two had to sign include keeping away from the Quarry, reporting to police weekly; not to plan, incite or participate in any protests that "interfere with traffic on highways, airways, railways or public waterways" and not associate with the co-accused, unless for "religious or cultural ceremonies."

Matthew James Kunkel, 21, Clint Brant, 29, and Shawn Brant, 44, remain in custody.

Solidarity actions from by non native protesters continue to support the Tyendinaga community throughout the province. A Part of the Hanlon Highway in Guelph was briefly blockaded by allies last night. Sunday saw a convergence at Dalton McGuinty’s office, and an emergency rally is scheduled in Toronto today at noon.

» continue reading "Tyendinaga: Blockades and Solidarity continue"

April 27, 2008 Weblog:

Justice for Tyendinaga Now! (updated)

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After over 200 police officers raided the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory west of Belleville, Ontario on April 22nd, 2008 actions have escalated. On the evening of Friday, April 25th, the Tyendinaga community was again under attack, while continuing the blockade intended to protect itself and its "disputed" Quarry. Currently the Nation is surrounded by a wide police perimeter that prevents access to the Quarry.

"At the centre of the dispute is the Culbertson Tract, land which rightfully belongs to the Mohawks of Tyendinaga. Community members have been occupying a gravel quarry site for over a year," according to TMT.

Allies attempting to enter the perimeter are being turned away. Only residents holding valid documentation of property ownership within the perimeter are allowed entry.

Earlier in the week Agent Provocateurs were deployed in the local community to incite a conflict with the Mohawk Nation. The attempt failed but prevented local allies from supporting the Nation due to fear of police retaliation.

Police have attempted to dismantle the Mohawk blockade on Friday, and have beaten and arrested four individuals. These are Matthew James Kunkel, 21, Clint Brant, 29, Daniel John Dorene, 34, and Steve Chartrand, 32. They are scheduled to appear on Monday, April 28, 2008 in Napanee court. Prior to these arrests, Shawn Brent, 44, was arrested at a traffic stop allegedly for his role in preventing racist community members from attacking a woman and her child.

In solidarity, Six Nations' Mohawks in Caledonia have set up similar blockades at the Highway 6 bypass of the Sixth Line bridge and elsewhere.

» continue reading "Justice for Tyendinaga Now! (updated)"

» view more photos in"Justice for Tyendinaga Now! (updated)"

April 27, 2008 Weblog:

Free Trading USA

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Intermingled amongst brand new hotels and entertainment swag are the ghosts of New Orleans. Abandoned buildings with boarded up windows are on every side street off Canal. Hidden only by the busy flickering of neon lights and bars begging for your undeserved business. One needs only to turn to any of the buildings behind the flashy palm trees to see Katrina leftovers.

Hidden also, though beating through the heart of this city is its intense poverty and racism. It is swept under the bridges and sheltered in back alleys. It is beaten away from the sight of tourists and entertainers by batons and vacational apathy.

While thousands await the return to their native city, hundreds lining its streets in shelters and tents, the busy Bourbon street continue to party. Quite a bit of thought and design went into the sweeping away of the life and reality of this city. Benches in the entertainment district- the French Quarter- are curved downward to make them impossible to sleep on. Similarly benches at major tourist squares are dividied by bars to prevent lying down. Lights are granted only there where the tourist industry wants foreign attention. The resistance to the gentrification, systemic discrimination, and outright ethnic cleansing is conveniently relocated.

Subsidized and affordable housing has been sustaining an intense attack by the city, the state, the government, and private enterprise. Demolitions have forced hundreds onto the streets and eviction notices are handed out like pamphlets. Once enough people are evicted, the housing is torn down to build hotels, condominium apartments, and bars.

» continue reading "Free Trading USA"

April 27, 2008 Weblog:

Securely Prosperous

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Opening up before us is New Orleans as we finish our last leg of the trip in Louisiana. Stories of ghosts fill our entry as they fill our first day in this town. Coming here for the People's Summit, opposing this year's Security and Prosperity Partnership, we're beginning to learn the true tales of surviving Katrina from the lives of those America has forgotten.

We've spent 41 hours on the road from Ottawa, but after playing through the Greyhound shuffle, switching routes four times, and spending two nights on varying buses, the hardest part of the trip was entering New Orleans from Mobile, Louisiana. The energy in the Ottawa contingent was rising, even with the absolute loss of the sense of time after so much travel. We've come here for the People's Summit, opposing the Security and Prosperity Partnership meeting of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico's heads of state with over 30 CEOs of the continents most powerful corporations. Our energy quickly died down once John, one of the passengers returning to his native New Orleans shared stories of what opened up before us.

Entering through the East Quarter, the poorest and most impacted part of the city, we see empty mega buildings of former Wal-Marts and strip malls. Today what was once the projects of the city is quickly becoming suburban townhomes as the city attempts to gentrify its population.

"All this was trailers," John tells us. "Now they've moved all these people away. They sent them up around the world."

We drive through collapsed roofs, and abandoned neighborhoods.

Talking about reconstruction, he tells us "they give us $25,000 to rebuild our homes, but it cost you $60,000 to do it."

"The projects' all boarded up, ain't no one coming home. They took it from you... it makes you wanna cry."

» continue reading "Securely Prosperous"

April 27, 2008 Weblog:

Can Sac CANSEC?

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"Do you know why they're protesting?!" yells a business man in a perfectly ironed suit. His screaming is just barely audible over the chanting and yelling of the demonstrators and police.

"They are protesting CANSEC!" I explain.

"What's CANSEC?" he asks, as I prepare for my now memorized rebuttal: "CANSEC is Canada's largest arms fair. This is the tenth year of it taking place but because it was banned from all City of Ottawa property in 1991, it now takes place at the Ottawa Congress Centre, which is technically provincial property."

"Arms fair?" comes the now predictable surprise, "There's an arms fair taking place here? In Ottawa? In Canada?"

"Yes, Canadian corporations produce much of the ammunition, weaponry, and support technology for the U.S. military and the Canadian Forces…"

Before I can continue to explain the major procurement contracts outlined by Canadian Military Magazine – related to the war on Afghanistan, security for the 2010 Olympics, and Northwest Passage defence – an angry police officer shoves me.

Half a dozen riot cops appear out of nowhere. They line the streets of Ottawa's business section. Protecting them is a line of well-equipped city police, and surrounding them on all sides are astonished looking business people. The Black Bloc is in on one side, the police on the other.

What has now become three days of actions and protests was sure to have made it clear to the nearly 7000 delegates attending this year's CANSEC that they are not welcome. Before the official trade show even began, fire alarms were pulled forcing the attendees of the black-tie kickoff to rush outdoors while police searched the building.

» continue reading "Can Sac CANSEC?"

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