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Algonquins of Barriere Lake Defending the Land 2012-2013

by Barriere Lake Solidarity

This photo set documents the Algonquins of Barriere Lake defending their land from 2012 to 2013.

FOR MORE INFO:

Website: Barriere Lake Solidarity: www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

Video: Algonquins of Barriere Lake vs Section 74 of the Indian Act: http://vimeo.com/23103527

Documentary: Honour Your Word: http://honouryourword-film.ca/

Doctorial Dissertation: Jrisdiction and Settler Colonialism: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against the Federal Land Claims by Shiri Pasternak (2014): http://www.shiripasternak.com/thesis/

THE ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE'S CURRENT DEMANDS:

  1. No forestry without the community’s voices
  2. No mining without consent
  3. No electrical hookup without a community plan

WHO ARE THE ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE?

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake (ABL) are a First Nation who hunt, fish, trap, and harvest on more than 10,000 square kilometers of territory north of Ottawa in what is now called Quebec. An estimated 450 Algonquins live within the traditional territory, or rely on the land to feed our families and to preserve our language and culture. 

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have attempted to promote co-existence with other users of the territory through agreements, such as the Trilateral Agreement, signed with Canada and Quebec in 1991. The Trilateral Agreement was supposed to give the community a say in forestry and wildlife management, in order for the community to protect wildlife breeding areas, fish spawning areas, and sacred or historical sites.

While an estimated $100 million worth of resources is extracted from our traditional territory every year, the community does not derive any financial benefit. In recent years, Quebec has allowed the destruction of sensitive areas and Canada has interfered with community governance. Both governments have refused to adequately address the extremely difficult living conditions in the community.

The ABL, like many indigenous peoples world-over, have been long been embroiled in a land struggle against their colonizers (the Canadian Government). Since 1991 this dispute hinges on a Trilateral Agreement, which both the Federal and Provincial governments have failed to honor. 

WHAT IS THE TRILATERAL AGREEMENT?

The Trilateral Agreement is a contract between the Federal Government (Canada), the Provincial Government (Quebec) and the ABL that deals with land use of 10 000 km2 of land traditionally inhabited and used by the ABL. It is an alternative to Canada’s preferred negotiation policy, called the "Comprehensive Land Claims." This negotiating process forces First Nations to extinguish their Aboriginal rights and title upon settlement, to give up communal land rights for private property ownership, and to shoulder expensive legal and land use mapping costs that eventually get docked from meager settlements.

The ABL rejected this Comprehensive land claims approach, and chose instead to sign a conservation plan called the Trilateral Agreement. In summary, the Trilateral agreement would see the ABL included in decision making about the land, and gain a financial return from any resource extraction or commerce on their land (logging, hydro-electric, tourism). It would see traditional Algonquin knowledge of the land integrated into how the territory might be used and conserved.

Both the provincial and federal governments have dragged their heels in implementing this agreement, going so far as to deny its legitimacy as a contract and orchestrating coups of the customary government in the ABL community, sowing internal foment. Instead, Canada has hired expensive diplomats to help strategize on how to break their own commitments. Proof of this has been made clear by a report penned by one of these diplomats, Marc Perron, in Dec 2007, in which he outlined strategies to disrupt the community and take them off course from pursuing the Trilateral Agreement. The imposition of Section 74 is but another tactic to try to divide and weaken this community that has shown such strength in its struggle to defend the land.

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Barriere Lake Solidarity (Barriere Lake Solidarity)
Montreal
Member since Décembre 2013

About:

Barriere Lake Solidarity is a collective of supporters of the Mitchikanibikok Inik, The Algonquins of Barriere Lake in their struggles for land and self-determination.

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