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Algonquin Alliance Protest Update

 

August 23, 2007

 

 

Kwey Kwey Community Members,

 

It has been 57 days since we came onto the site of the proposed uranium mine to prohibit Frontenac Ventures Corp from continuing with its exploration program to drill 200 holes in the earth to obtain the uranium core samples that they need to secure the financial backing which will enable them to move to the next stage in the development of a mine on the 30,000 acre site.

 

Many things have happened during this time as we moved through the four-pronged approach we established to deal with the issue. First of all we were concerned that not enough people understood the dangers that uranium mining posses for the earth and Natural World, which includes all of us as human beings. Working with our non-Native neighbours, we created an alliance in which they would create materials on the dangers of uranium exploration and mining, which could be distributed at the site and marches, fundraisers, and other protests around the region. This has worked very well, and the message has gotten out to thousands of people on what we face if this exploration and mine were to happen.

 

We have also had visitors to the site from as far away as Africa, Europe, Italy, and South America. We have people working from within the NGOs at the UN and from within Indigenous communities and nations across the globe to help us keep this site safe and secure from uranium exploration and mining. So we are definitely succeeding with respect to getting the word out on our struggles here and what is needed to come out of this with land and waterscapes that are undamaged from the activities being proposed by Frontenac.

 

Today, our lawyer Chris Reid is back in court to notify the court formally that we will no longer participate in the injunction proceedings as that process will not have a positive impact on what is happening here. In making this decision, leadership took into consideration the recommendations of Justice Linden in the Ipperwash Decision and Report, which was just, released which stated that participating in the court injunction process was a mistake that did nothing positive for Aboriginal communities. Even in the case of the one community who successfully got a positive injunction ruling against a mining company (K.I.), that decision was overturned in the appeal. The mining company was allowed to proceed with the exploration and drilling with only a five-month delay in their work. That community is not happy about this process and have contacted us to meet and form a coalition against the mining industry working on our respective lands. We are expecting the chief and members of the council to visit the site soon.

 

The other reason we have withdrawn from the injunction process is because of the inability of this case and judge to deal with the underlying issue of title and jurisdiction. That will be foremost in the civil suit, which will have to be defended on the basis of title and jurisdiction over the lands in question. Family Heads Council will be meeting this weekend to decide how to proceed with respect to the civil suit and other direct actions.

 

What is definite however, is that this occupation needs to be maintained indefinitely until such time as the issue is settled and there is a moratorium on uranium mining in our territory and we have written confirmation from both Ontario and Canada that there will be no further issuances of land use permits, mining claims (including any registrations of mining claims), or other uses of our lands or waters, including the minerals, air and other things that corporate Canada sees as “resources” by any other users without consultation and consent by the community of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation is also maintaining the same position with respect to their lands. Together we have formed an alliance called the Algonquin Alliance to prohibit the use of our lands for the natural resources regime in Ontario………………of which mining is just one issue.

 

There are many more, including forestry and other extractions. This alliance will be working on ways to combat this outside the umbrella of the claims process, as we know that Shabot is a party to that process and Ardoch is not. Ardoch continues to maintain the position that the claims table and negotiation process under Bob Potts does not speak for us in any capacity and does not represent our interests in any way. As a way of assuring that there will be no potential conflict of interest between Shabot and ourselves over the claims process, we have retained separate legal council should Frontenac try and use the differences of opinion over the land claim process against us. Chris Reid, who has been our long time friend and supporter has been retained as the lead council and lawyer of record for AAFNA while Steve Renolds has been retained by Shabot as their lawyer of record. Both Chris and Steve have agreed to work for meat and fish as well as their expenses. As a way to pay for the legal expenses we have initiated a fundraising campaign being directed by Frank Morrison who is the neighbour who first came to us about the mining issue back in November. Frank is working on a variety of activities to raise the funds that will be needed to combat the civil suit.

 

We also have a coalition of non-Aboriginal people working to maintain food and supplies into the camp on a daily basis. This is imperative for the continuation of the struggle and occupation. They provide the majority of food, gas, and other supplies that we need, for which we are very grateful. The camp is set up in such a way that those people staying here on a continual basis or part time from day to day or so many days per week are completely taken care of with respect to food and lodging. We have trailers, and buildings in which people are staying with plans to build a more cabins and a community meeting hall prior to snow falling. The materials for this are being donated and we only need to supply the labour to get these up and usable prior to the snow falling.

 

This is a long-term occupation that must be maintained for us to be successful in our efforts to have our title and jurisdiction honoured and respected. It will not happen through the courts alone, we have been advised that this occupation is paramount to winning this fight. We are therefore requesting the help of community members in sustaining this occupation for as long as is necessary. There are various ways that we can all contribute to the struggle to make it possible for this to continue. Many of us have been here continually since June 28th but that is not what we are necessarily requesting.

 

1) How can you help?

 

All of us have busy lives that that we have to negotiate…. especially once September comes and school begins once again. However that does not mean we have to abandon that life and live here in the occupation. What we are hoping to see is a schedule set up where people come in for a few hours on their day or days off. I for instance have to be back at Trent teaching on Monday, Tues, Weds, Thurs, and will have to be there for those days, but plan to be here on site Fri-Sun. Other people here on site have made similar plans to be here as much as they can while also spending as much time as they can with their families and other commitments. This is all we are asking of the community. Please call or e-mail and let me know that you can assist in whatever capacity that you are able! No effort is too small where this is concerned. We are fighting to protect our lands and water from being contaminated and destroyed. We cannot do this alone, we need your help!

 

We need people to come and help with the following for as long as this struggle takes:

 

Cooking and meal prep

Fire keeper

Gate and security

Building cabins

 

2) No one who comes to help is required to bring their own food or supplies. If you have a trailer or camping equipment, by all means please bring it as it will help the overall camp, but if you do not have those things, do not worry we have lots and can get more. You only need bring your self. Everything is provided. No one who comes to help is required to stay permanently, while there could be an issue later on with people coming and going if the OPP does come in and we have to secure the gate completely from an influx of people from the other way, however that is not what is happening now and there are no plans on the part of the OPP to stop people from coming in and out at this point.

 

 

This is the update as of this morning. We really need your support and presence here at the site. As I said earlier, there are a variety of ways that you can help including just spending a few hours here on your days off……………….

 

Chi-Miigwech

 

Paula Sherman

 

For Family Heads Council

 

Contact me at the contact info below to say how you can help:

 

Phone:  site: 613-279-1327; cell: 613-329-3706

E-mail: omamikwe@bell.blackberry.net

 

 

 

 


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Ardoch Algonquin First Nation Banner created by Kevin Wight.