Thursday, November 20, 2008


The following, courtesy of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), is a notice of a solidarity demonstration to be held tomorrow in Toronto. The subject is the arrests made against the Algonquins of Barriere lake in Québec during recent road blockades.
Toronto rally in support of Algonquins of Barriere Lake:‏
please circulate
FRIDAY 21 November 2008
On Wednesday, 17 November, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake setup four blockades on Highway 117. The governments of Quebec and Canada refused to negotiate sending in Riot Police to attack the peaceful protesters. This time, they targeted the organizers. The community spokesperson and the Acting Chief were arrested along with three others.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake have been fighting for the control of their land and resources for centuries. In 1991, the community signed co-management agreements with Quebec and Canada. Both governments have reneged on their promises refusing to honor the agreements.
Tired of having their agreements ignored, 100 children, women and men, community members and supporters peacefully blockaded Highway 117 on October 6. They were attacked by the Quebec Riot Police, tear gassed, pepper sprayed, beaten and pushed around. 9 people were arrested.
On Friday at 12 noon, protesters will gather outside the HQ of the Quebec government in Ontario demanding the immediate release of the political prisoners and that all charges are dropped. We also demand that Quebec and Canada honor the signed agreements and negotiate with the community. Supporters who took part in the 17 November action will be present. Bring banners, placards and noisemakers. For more information:
For details on what you can do further:
Barriere Lake's Specific Demands:
1. That the Government of Canada agree to respect the outcome of a new leadership re-selection process, with outside observers, recognize the resulting Customary Chief and Council, and cease all interference in the internal governance of Barriere Lake.
2. That the Government of Canada agree to the immediate incorporation of an Algonquin language and culture program into the primary school curriculum.
3. That the Government of Canada honour signed agreements with Barriere Lake, including the Trilateral, the Memorandum of Mutual Intent, and the Special Provisions, all of which it has illegally terminated.
4. That the Government of Canada revoke Third Party Management, which was imposed unjustly on Barriere Lake.
5. That the Province of Quebec honour signed agreements with Barriere Lake, including the 1991 Trilateral and 1998 Bilateral agreements, and adopt for implementation the Lincoln-Ciaccia joint recommendations, including $1.5 million in resource-revenue sharing.
6. That the Government of Canada and the Province of Quebec initiate a judicial inquiry into the Quebec Regional Office of the Department of Indian Affairs' treatment of Barriere Lake and other First Nations who may request to be included.
7. The Government of Quebec, in consultation with First Nations, conduct a review of the recommendations of the Ontario Ipperwash Commission for guidance towards improving Quebec-First Nation relations and improving the policing procedures of the SQ when policing First Nation communities.
Send Letters to these Political Representatives:
*Stephen Harper, Prime Minister
Telephone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
*Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development
Canada Indian Affairs and Northern Development
Terrasses de la Chaudiere,
North Tower,
Suite 2100
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H4
Phone: (819) 997-0002/
Fax: (819) 953-4941
*Lawrence Cannon,
Local Member of Parliament,
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 992-5516/
Fax: (613) 992-6802
*Jean Charest, Premier minister,
phone: 418 643-5321/
Fax: 418 643-3924
Also, from the Barriere Lake Solidarity site here's the story of what happened yesterday (November 19).
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
SQ riot squad arrest 5 Algonquins, including Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway:
Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory /
- SQ officers and a Riot Squad arrested five Barriere Lake Algonquins, including a targeted arrest of Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway, after forcing community members off highway 117, during their fourth in a series of blockades over a period of seven hours.

"Chief Nottaway sent a letter to Premier Charest on Monday requesting that the government resolve political issues through negotiations rather than police violence," said community spokesperson Norman Matchewan."Blockades are a tactic of last resort. For two decades now all we've asked is that Quebec and Canada honour signed agreements but they prefer to play with our lives."

As the community was pushed off the highway for the last time at 2:30 pm, riot police broke out of formation to chase and arrest Acting Chief Nottaway. His was the second targeted arrest of the day. Community youth spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche, mother of five and organizer of the community school, was arrested at one of the morning blockades after being reassured by police that no arrests would be made since protesters had agreed to leave peacefully.

One community member was pushed to the ground and kicked by several SQ officers before being arrested.

"The police dragged him with his head on the ground all the way to the police car," said one community member.

Another woman from the community fell while being pushed back onto the access road leading to the Barriere Lake reserve, and hit her head. She was subsequently arrested.
Media Contacts:
Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171, 514 - 831 - 6902
Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 514 - 893 - 8283, 819 - 860 - 3860
Norman Young, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819 - 627 - 6869

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