A Message from the Community of Barriere lake

"We, the Barriere Lake traditional people have always lived under our customary laws, which we have codified as our Mitchikanibikok Anishinabe Onakinakewin (the Barriere Lake Customary Governance Code). This is what our great grandparents left for us, our children and grandchildren, and the coming generations. Our responsibility is to make sure that our customary laws will always be respected and protected.

Our Feast is where we give thanks for what we feed our families, the foods that come from our lands and waters. The Three String Wampum is a symbol for shaking hands with our Brothers and Sisters, their children and all living things. This is where our teachings come from. We have a big responsibility: To Protect Our Land, To Protect Our Animals, Fish and Birds. To defend our hunting way of life so our teachings and our feast will continue to exist for our children, grandchildren and the coming generations, along with our Language and Beliefs.

Today, as the traditional people of our community, we are fighting to defend our customary laws from being violated by individuals who no longer respect them, including how we govern ourselves. We will honor what our great grandparents left us. No one will take our customary laws and side with the federal government to gain money by compromising our rights and interests.

Our customary laws are meant to help us live in harmony on our Lands and with each other. It is only when individuals living in our community violate and disrespect our customs, that the harmony is broken. Despite repeated warnings to stop, a dissident faction has continued to violate and disrespect our customs and have broken our community's harmony. Therefore, on March 4, 2008, the majority of our eligible community members of Mitchikanibikok confirmed that we will not accept these dissidents living in our community. Now the federal government is trying to impose them on us by using the Surete du Quebec to bring them into our community.

The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec want to replace our Customary Chief and Council because our leaders are demanding that they honour the agreements they entered into with our First Nation.

For the federal government, that is:

The 1991 Trilateral Agreement.

The 1997 Memorandum of Mutual Intent & Global Proposal to Rebuild our Community.

The Special Provisions inserted into our Contribution Agreements until the Third Party Manager took over our administrative affairs.

For the Government of Quebec, that is:

1998 Bilateral Agreement and the implementation of the Joint Recommendations adopted by the Quebec negotiator, John Ciaccia, and our negotiator, Clifford Lincoln, particularly paying our First Nation $1.5 million annually in Revenue Sharing.

The federal government is trying to impose a minority dissident group over our First Nation in order to try and get out of their obligations under the signed agreements with our First Nation. This is a repeat of what they tried to do to us in 1996-97."

Call for Endorsements

We are looking for groups and organizations to endorse the list of demands. If you wish to do so, please email barrierelakesolidarity@gmail.com.

Barriere Lake's 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.

Call for Endorsements

We are looking for groups and organizations to endorse the list of demands. If you wish to do so, please email barrierelakesolidarity @gmail.com