Please take FIVE MINUTES to DEMAND the Algonquins of Barriere Lake have their legitimate leadership recognized!!! JOIN the community and Barriere Lake Solidarity in showing the Department of Indian Affairs that we will not tolerate another coup d’etat in Barriere Lake!
After 15 months of struggling against the Canadian Government’s attempted coup in Barriere Lake, on June 24, 2009, the Algonquin community re-selected Jean Maurice Matchewan as their Customary Chief.
The community expects this now settles the issue of who is the legitimate Chief and Council.
However, there is no guarantee the Canadian government will accept the community’s decision, which comes via their traditional leadership selection process. That much was affirmed in a secret government document obtained by the Dominion earlier this year, which showed Canada’s intent on replacing Matchewan with someone more willing to “play nice.” The document is dated February 18, 2008, about a month before Canada surreptitiously replaced Matchewan with leadership-claimant Casey Ratt as the new Chief.
Dubbed a “coup”—the government’s move split Barriere lake into two separate camps, and ushered in a long-standing campaign against this criminal-like interference in the Algonguin community’s internal affairs. It was the latest in a string of attempts “to undermine Barriere Lake’s historic Trilateral agreement – a land management plan covering 10,000 square kilometers of their traditional territories – that the Customary Chief and Council have been fighting to have implemented since its signing in 1991,” notes the Barrier Lake Solidarity Committee.
However, that is all in the past now that Matchewan has been affirmed as Customary Chief. If the Canadian government is to be law-abiding, then there is absolutely no reason for them to deny Matchewan’s status.
Unfortunately, the past is something we cannot afford to ignore, and so, Barrier Lake Solidarity asks you to contact Indian Affairs to DEMAND they recognize Matchewan as the legitimate Chief of the Barriere Lake communiety and abide by their own RULE OF LAW.
Jean Maurice Matchewan Re-Selected as Customary Chief of Barriere Lake: New Council Vows to Defend Rights & Seek Implementation of Agreements with Canada & Quebec
(Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / July 6, 2009) – On June 24, 2009, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, a small community in northwestern Quebec that has won a national profile for its defence of its land rights, re-selected Jean Maurice Matchewan as Customary Chief. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake expect this result to settle the issue of who is the legitimate Chief and Council, after suffering through the government of Canada’s meddling in their internal customary governance.
More than a hundred eligible members present confirmed their re-selection in a a leadership assembly at their traditional settlement at Barriere Lake, with several outside observers in attendance, including David Bleakney of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Algonquin Nation Secretariat Grand Chief Norman Young and Chief Harry St. Denis of Wolf Lake First Nation.
The Barriere Lake customary leadership selection process was facilitated by Keith Penner, a former Member of Parliament who chaired the Special Parliamentary Committee on Indian Self-Government in 1983 that resulted in the historic Penner Report. which advocated constitutionally-recognized Aboriginal self-government. Mr.Penner now operates DisputeRes, a conflict resolution company in Ottawa.
Mr. Penner prepared a Facilitation Report documenting the Barriere Lake leadership selection process, which the Barriere Lake Elder’s Council has submitted along with the Elders confirmation of the outcome to the governments of Canada and Quebec.
Long-Time Custom Chief Jean Maurice Matchewan stated today “our people are determined that they will stand together to defend our rights and convince the federal and Quebec governments to implement the Agreements they have signed with our First Nation. I have been selected along with our Customary Council, to lead the fight for justice while protecting and advancing our Aboriginal and Treaty rights.”
The mandate of the Customary Chief and Council is to enter into relations with the Crown, including the signing of treaties and agreements. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake expect the Crown governments to recognize and enter into relations with the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’s duly selected leadership.
When asked what the community will do if the federal Department of Indian Affairs does not recognize the legitimate Custom Chief and Council or respect the signed agreements with the First Nation, Chief Matchewan responded “our community has decided there will no forestry activities or any new developments in our Trilateral Agreement Territory until the status of our leadership and the agreements we signed, are resolved to our community’s satisfaction.”
Apart from the selection of Matchewan as Customary Chief, Benjamin Nottaway and David Wawatie were re-selected as Councillors, along with two new councillors, Eugene Nottaway and Joey Decoursay. The new Customary Chief and Council of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake are as follows:
· Jean Maurice Matchewan – Chief
· Benjamin Nottaway – Councillor
· Eugene Nottaway – Councillor
· Joey Decoursay – Councillor
· David Wawatie – Councillor
Chief Jean Maurice Matchewan: 819 – 435 – 2136
Grand Chief Norman Young, Algonquin Nation Secretariat: Cell: (819) 627-6869
Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.