Barriere Lake Solidarity

P’n’P urged support for Barriere Lake a while back, but the comments section there turned into a free-for-all mudsling. Here’s hoping a similar fate does not befall this post.  From the inbox:

From: Barriere Lake Solidarity <>

[Please forward widely!]

This morning at 7:30am, 70 members of the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake and 30 non-native supporters peacefully blockaded highway 117 in Northern Quebec, while a Christian Peacemaker Team observed the action.

The Government-backed minority faction currently in power had fed information about the blockade plans to the Quebec police, who established a significant presence before the blockade was set up. They issued threats of mass arrest, dismantled the blockades, and followed protesters down the highway in a high-speed chase until the access road to the Barriere Lake reserve, where Algonquins and their supporters are maintaining a presence.

Community spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche has been arrested for obstruction and mischief and is currently detained.

Once again, the community needs the public to make it clear right now that this treatment is unacceptable, that the Algonquins have suffered enough division at the hands of the government, and that the signed agreements need to be honoured.

On October 6th, the first peaceful blockade of Highway 117 – a tactic of last resort, after months of being ignored or dismissed by the Canadian and Quebec governments – was met with violent repression, including tear-gassing and pain compliance. In the last few weeks, forestry companies were discovered cutting new logging roads without consent from Barriere Lake’s legitimate leadership – a violation of the November 2007 ban on new forestry operations in the Trilateral territory.  Despite decades of struggle and these recent developments, the community refuses to back down.

“Instead of doing the dirty work of the federal government, Quebec should implement its agreements and immediately lobby the federal government to deal fairly with our community,” said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson. “Charest’s brutal treatment of our community shows his government has absolutely no respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, which should be an urgent matter of debate during the provincial election.”

The Algonquins were promising to maintain the blockade until Canada and Quebec committed in writing to honour their agreements and Canada appoints an observer to witness and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in Barriere Lake in accordance with their Customary Governance Code.

** What you can do right now to help: **

We need people to let the government know that they support the demands Barriere Lake has been fighting for for decades.

Please take 15 minutes to phone or fax a letter, see below for a model letter, or modify and send a sample letter.

You can do that here:.

* Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada ( fax: 613-941-6900 )
* Lawrence Cannon, Transportation Minister and MP for Pontiac ( 613 992-2940 Fax: 613 944-9376 )
* Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs ( 819 997-0002   Fax: 819 953-4941 )

Use some of the following points (along with your own):

* Release Marylynn Poucachiche and drop all charges

* The government should immediately cease the use of police repression in lieu of negotiators

* The Federal and Provincial government should honor the agreements they’ve signed with Barriere Lake

* Express support for the Barriere Lake community’s struggle for the right to choose its own leadership

* The federal government should immediately stop interfering in Barriere Lake’s internal affairs

** More information: **

Demands, and a list of groups that have endorsed them:

Video of the October 6th blockade:

A quick visual introduction to the community:

More information on how to support the Barriere Lake Algonquins:

Sample Letter (to sign and fax)

Re: Algonquins of Barriere Lake

Dear Ministers:

I am writing to you regarding the situation of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake.

First of all, I strongly condemn the use of a police riot squad on October 6, 2008, during a peaceful protest of Algonquin families on Highway 117.

I have seen the disturbing video footage of Algonquin families, including children and elders, being tear-gassed and physically assaulted by the Quebec police for merely asking that duly signed agreements entered into with their First Nation by both the federal and Quebec governments be honoured and that they be permitted to resolve their leadership issues internally without federal interference.

This is clearly a political matter and should be resolved through the use of good faith negotiations not with a police riot squad tear-gassing and physically assaulting peacefully protesting Algonquin families.

I understand the anger and frustration of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake at the unacceptable delays in implementing the duly signed agreements with the federal and Quebec governments.

This will confirm that I fully support the following demands made by the Algonquins of Barriere Lake:

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.

I strongly encourage both of your governments to honour the signed agreements made with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and name negotiators to quickly identify and resolve the differences between the First Nation and your governments.

In closing, you can be sure I will be closely watching the Barriere Lake situation and will not accept police violence and repression as a negotiating tactic by your respective governments.


Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière


5 thoughts on “Barriere Lake Solidarity

  1. You guys are being selective dont u think…how about u erasing peoples posts? Afraid in exposong the truth, I see.. I posted a too-honest post for you guys?

    Thats fine…you are all exposed now!!!!

  2. I gusse we know that Hector Jerome and Jules Papatie and Savare Ratt abd Casey Ratt they had to do what’s right for them. They arrested Chief Benjiman Nattoway. For all of them u guys want to lock Benjiman Nottaway for one year what the teh hell u guys thinking whos next poncho.. Michelle.. Maggie.. Norman.. shame shame. if any Hectore’s kids is reading this u know ur father always wants his ways so as savare Ratt …
    Savare Ratt was once a good friend of this poeple.. Maggie.. Sean Paul Ratt.. michelle..Harry Wawatie.. and a this how he pays them back he doesn’t even talk to his oun sisteer no more it’s all because of Hector and Atoine Decoursay.. AND jULE’S Papatie ..They should know our poeple dont belong in Jail..So much Native Poeple die in Jail .. The Algonquin Of Barriere Lake Frist Nation has lost one man before he was murdered.. We dont want that to happend Aagine .. If only Hector has a heart he would know but everyone knows that he has a ungle heart ..We dont know about Savare Ratt he use have a heart too .. And now when CHIEF Casey Ratt ..we were just wondering wat would u do to help the community both side on working together besides treating them so difference. U cant always go on wat ur father in law Hector Jerome wat ge says and ur father I think ur old enough to so thing’s rigth by ur self.. u should be standing to ur oun poeple.
    And now I heard the Band Councillors is Ricky DICK HEAD ..Dona Thusky..Wayne Papatie.. Roger Jerome trying to help out Waylon Nottaway to get out of jail ..ok if thats the case why dont we help out Rhoda Ratt too to get out too.. it’s not fair if the poeple is just going to help out one person out mine is well too help her Rhoda Ratt too..
    And before i sign off who is afraid to change his or her mind to try to help out the other half of the community …

  3. I would like to make a comment here i dont useully go here but im the member of Barriere Lake First Nation Community too.. I just wanted to say something here.. having so much problems about Ponchos past and Benjiman Nottaway worried about them so much and at the begining when Moise was one the councilors before that one of the person was saying that Anita Decoursay once said she have the prove of Moise Papatie doing drugs thats she says that she has his picture ..
    Well we never seen that picture yet.. But as for me i have prove one of the band councllors Dona Thusky I caught him doing
    ( cocaine ) him and his wife Elenore Keyes in front of there 4 son in the hotel of Centrals room 112. little they I had a cell phone with me i took a picture of them doing cocaine.. this is wat u call one of the band drug councillors .. now as for CHIEF Casey Ratt i will nail u for sure and ur band councillors and i will put it on the web sit and posted everywhere..Man Dona u should’ve done that in front of me ..This was on Walfare Day and Pay Day Friday the 19th of December at 6:20 at teh nite ..I hate to do this to one of my friends but i have no choice i will put it on my facebook too..They want to ply

  4. Why don’t you people get a life instead of trying to slander everyone. It will only get back to you ten times worse, remember KARMA is a bitch. Look at how many people supporting Benjamin’s group are getting sick, that’s because all you people yelled ” I hope you die” to Antoine when he fell during your damn stupid blockade, just to get Rusell and David back into the community.

    Poncho give drugs to young people to get their support. He also pays them 400 to 500 to beat up elders, what kind of a leader is that. Those young guys he paid are starting to talk now.

    Everything you say about Casey’s supporters doing this, doing that, please, it’s all your way of dealing with things you are talking about, that’s why it’s easy to say it.

    Benjamin put himself in jail, nobody on Casey’s side did that. It’s is stupidity that did that because he can’t see that he is being used.

    AS for Anita having picture of Moise doing cocaine, she don’t give a fuck about it, she’s not that low to do shit like that. She’s way much more better than that, she’s noth the kind of person to use blackmail or try and hurt people. People can live the way they want. They can fuck their kids future to the sake of having Russel and David back, let them, they’ll see for themselves how fucked they’ll be. They already learned that from Poncho anyways.

    She also once said in the meeting, how much Poncho used to talk about “for our kids future, she’s 33yrs now and still didn’t see the future that was once so talked about”. She is right, where is it. Poncho didn’t do fuck all.

    At least now, she’s in the position where she can try to make a change for the children of Barriere Lake. Hate her all you want, talk about her all you want, she will prevail.

    So to all you haters if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, don’t say anything at all.

  5. Instead of disrepecting what the leaders of the Barriere Lake Anishinabek are bravely (they have no weapons) doing to defend their land against a people WHO WILL NOT DEAL WITH INDIAN PEOPLE IN A BRAVE, HONORABLE AND LAWFUL MANNER, they get support which is obviously from white attitudes. Shame on you for siding with the evil white race. I strongly encourage the Anishinabe Algonquins from Barriere Lake, to continue to defend your land against a people WHO DARE NOT DEAL WITH INDIAN PEOPLE IN A BRAVE, HONORABLE AND LAWFUL MANNER. There is a huge area of land from the Temiskaming Algonquins, to the Lac Simon Algonquins, down to the Kitigan Algonquins, over to the Kipawa Algonquins that is not overly developed by the whites. Although i don’t know if a great many Algonquins in that region continue to exploit (hunt, fish and trap) that huge area of land, i assume that a few still do. The Algonquins in the United States have long ago disappeared as a result of evil American policies against the native Algonquins of Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. It was so bad to the Americans, they fabricated a history in which no Algonquins lived in the United States which is a lie. The Algonquins claimed most of New York (that includes the Adirondack Mountains), Vermont, New Hampshire, and parts of Maine and Massachusetts. Where is the support from the Anishinabe Algonquin citizens for their leaders when they need your support? Shame on you whites for using cowardly intimidation!

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