Police threaten to arrest Barriere Lake Algonquins for protecting sacred sites from logging

By Barriere Lake Solidarity

Around 20-30 members of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake were read their rights by Sûreté du Québec officers late last night, warning of arrests today if people did not allow logging to proceed.

Yesterday, families from the Barriere Lake Algonquin First Nation who are impacted by the Resolute logging operation issued a letter to Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources voicing their opposition to the Ministry’s unilateral decision to clear-cut their territory. The impacted families also proposed to the Quebec government several resolutions to work together towards peaceful co-existence in the region.

Resolute Forest Products, formerly known as Abitibi Bowater, began cutting last Tuesday on land of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake without proper community consultation or consent. The logging is taking place near Poigan Bay, Quebec, on land that includes sacred grounds and important moose habitat, according to community spokesperson Norman Matchewan.

In a letter sent to Premier Charest on July 4, elder Gabriel Wawatie states: “As one of the main harvesters, I was not properly consulted nor provided a written consent to this logging within our territory.”

In a recent provincial court case, the same forestry company attempted to sue a youth leader of Barriere Lake, Norman Matchewan. Vincent Larin, from the Maniwaki Ministry of Natural Resources office, issued two cutting permits for the same logging site in Barriere Lake territory that also included sacred sites. The forestry company lost their court case when the foreman contradicted his original statement and was caught lying on the stand.

From The Media Co-op: http://www.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/11658

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