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Poigan, one of the most spectacularly beautiful areas in Quebec, in the Traditional Anishinabe (Algonquin) unceded territory is being clear-cut logged. It is a place of spiritual importance for the Anishinabe people: “Poigan” means the “Peace-Pipe”! It is also an area rich in biodiversity and one of the few remaining moose yards that had not yet been depleted by habitat destruction from forestry operations. Now it is!!
Poigan is not only on Unceded Ancestral Anishinabe Land, it is also within La Verendrye Park, a green area on the map, officially designated by the government as a Wildlife Reserve. Wildlife is not being protected, quite the opposite, wildlife is dying because their habitat it is being damaged and destroyed, including endangered species like the spotted salamander. Nature is being decimated, the Anishinabe disrespected and the public lied to. It is time for this to stop once and for all!
The Anishinabe have been in conflict for decades about the logging practices in the region, and the people known as the Algonquins of Barrier Lake are divided: the traditionalists who still live in the woods, and those who live in the Rapid Lake Reserve. This July, 2012, when cutting started in Poigan by Resolute Forest Products, members of the Rapid Lake community started protesting but did not stop the logging.
An agreement of sorts was signed by only four community members without consulting the traditional people who live on the land and want all logging to stop. Solidarity groups like Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement (IPSM) and Barrier Lake Solidarity (BLS), who were helping the Rapid Lake community members protesting in the sidelines, earlier in July while the cutting went forward, are now claiming “Victory” due to a weak, sketchy and hastily signed deal, whose details are ambiguous and unclearly communicated, while still the cutting continues!
The tradition people, led by the Grandmothers, are still making a stand. They stopped the machines for several days, and then two elders were arrested and spent 8 days in jail for protecting their homeland! On August 6, 2012 a group of the traditional Anishinabe went to court in Montreal to stop the renewal of Resolute’s injunction allowing the company to clear-cut in their territory against their wishes.
The Anishinabe’s concerns were completely ignored by the Harper appointed female judge, Claude Dellaire. She postponed the case until Sep 10, while renewing the injunction for Resolute to keep on clear-cutting Poigan until then, totally disrespecting the Anishinabe’s demands. Severe restrictions on any activities to interfere with Resolute’s operations in any way or to even promote the idea of interfering with the logging were also placed on the Anishinabe as part of this oppressive judgement.
The traditional people have been ordered to stay away from their own home territory while a mega multi-national was given full rights to keep on destroying it, unencumbered. This is injustice of the highest order and must not be tolerated! The clear cutting is still continuing and it is estimated that up to 25 acres a day of old growth forest ecosystem is being destroyed! This is a crime against humanity and ecology and must be stopped!!!
The Algonquin Traditional Council of Elders of the One Nation are asking for Help and for people who hear this call, care about the environment, and feel in their hearts that the Anishinabe are right to protect their homeland and stop the cutting, to come and stand in solidarity with them. People of All Nations and All Colours shall be welcomed.
The Time is Now! If you plan to come up to La Verendrye “airport” please send e-mail to: email@example.com
Sign the Petition to Protect Poigan:
Come to the manifestation of creative actions in Montreal, Friday, August 24, 2012, at 12:00 noon in Mount Royal Park. Meet at the angel statue (were the tam-tams take place).
SOS Poigan blog: http://sospoigan.blogspot.ca/
More information to come soon on further actions in Anishinabe territory to help the traditional people with their struggles to protect their homeland.
Below are links to some important articles and videos. Please post and share everywhere:
Grandmothers March into Poigan and go up against the machines, July 23, 2012
Barriere Lake Agreement not accepted by Traditional Council, July 24, 2012
Mamwi (“Together” in Algonquin), a passionate appeal, July 26, 2012
Poigan Lake Standoff July 30th Part 6
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycxsBmBksLA&feature=youtu.beTraditionalTraditional Algonquin Elders Arrested for protecting their territory, August 1, 2012
Traditional Algonquin Elders are Released after 8 Days in Jail