Stop Canada’s cultural genocide at Barriere Lake

Hear firsthand from members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (the Mitchikanibikok Inik) about how Canada and Quebec are trying to terminate their nation — and what the Algonquins of Barriere Lake and their supporters are doing to stop them.

WHEN:  Monday, Nov. 1st, 7 – 9 p.m.

WHERE: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), 252 Bloor St West, Rm. 5280

HOSTED BY: Barriere Lake Solidarity (Toronto) & OPIRG – Toronto

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are a small First Nation community in northern Quebec, part of the Algonquin Nation. They are a tough people — among the last Algonquins to maintain their own language, their traditional economy, traditional knowledge and traditional governance after centuries of colonialism. The community has always had a clear understanding that their survival as a people depends on maintaining their language, their relationship to the land, and their way of life. And crucial to defending these and transmitting traditional knowledge is their traditional form of government.

The right to maintain traditional government is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and by the Canadian Constitution. But that has not stopped the Canadian government from using an archaic provision of the Indian Act — a provision last forcibly used in the 1920s — to abolish the customary government of Barriere Lake that has always fought for the rights of its people, and impose a government that is friendly to Ottawa. This stooge council — still lacking a chief — was only supported by 10 of the 650 people on the eligibility list for Barriere Lake, yet Ottawa claims it is “more democratic” and more representative of the community.

The truth is, Ottawa wants Algonquin land, and Barriere Lake is standing in the way. Ottawa does not want to honour the pathbreaking Trilateral Agreement it signed with Barriere Lake and Quebec in 1991, which recognized Barriere Lake’s right to co-manage and share in revenues from resources on their lands. And Ottawa knows that as long as Barriere Lake is governed by its custom, as long as the people know their language and traditions, they will not submit to the White government.

Do Canada’s apologies for residential schools and other injustices against Aboriginal Peoples mean anything, or is Canada simply following the same policies of termination and assimilation it has pursued since the 1800s? Come find out, and hear the remarkable story of the strength of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake first hand.


And on Tuesday…..

WHAT: Workshop

WHEN: Tuesday, November 2 at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE: First Nations House, 563 Spadina Avenue

To follow up on Monday’s forum, Barriere Lake Solidarity and OPIRG will host a workshop for those who are interested in learning more and getting involved. This is a great opportunity to hear the history of the Barriere Lake Algonquins’ struggle to defend their traditional, unceded territory; to gain an understanding of the Indian Act and how it functions as a legislative tool for repression and assimilation; and to learn how you can become involved in the campaign to rescind Section 74.

For more information: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/

To contact us: [email protected]


Krystalline Kraus

krystalline kraus is an intrepid explorer and reporter from Toronto, Canada. A veteran activist and journalist for rabble.ca, she needs no aviator goggles, gas mask or red cape but proceeds fearlessly...