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. They are one of the few First Nations in Canada who still speak their traditional language and have a traditional government that is tied to their land-based existence. (Most First Nations in Canada had their traditional government replaced by the Government of Canada’s “band council” system). The community attributes the strength of their Algonquin language, their culture, and their protection of the land to the endurance of their own governance system, the Mitchikanibikok Anishinabe Onakinakewin.
The ABL, like many indigenous people world-over, have been long ben 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 signed, but have failed to honor.
List of 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.
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