~~~~~~ Learning a better world ~~~~ with Greg Macdougall

Topics include ‘zero rating’ and net neutrality; state surveillance; public dissatisfaction with Facebook and creating alternatives; and how the internet, capitalism, communications and the link to broader struggles for rights, justice and humanity.

Anja Kovacs speaking at World Forum on Free Media - credit: Gretchen King CKUT 90.3FM and WFFM/FMML local organizing committee

Anja Kovacs speaking at World Forum on Free Media – credit: Gretchen King CKUT 90.3FM and WFFM/FMML local organizing committee

Anja Kovacs directs the Internet Democracy Project in Delhi, India, which works for an Internet that supports free speech, democracy and social justice in India and beyond.

Interview by Greg Macdougall of EquitableEducation.ca, from Monday August 8th, the first full day of the World Forum on Free Media in Montreal, in conjunciton with the World Social Forum happening Aug 9-14.

Audio – 24min – direct link to mp3 file
Licensed for reuse/rebroadcast under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0


Key chronology / issues discussed in interview:

  • 0:45 – Begins by talking about the net neutrality issue of ‘zero rating’ internet access packages – proposals for which have been a major issue of debate in India, whereby companies offer people packages (paid, or possibly free) of certain websites and those people’s intenet access then consists solely of those packaged sites, with additional costs to access any websites not in the package. This may seem foreign to North American internet users, but zero rating was part of the United States net neutrality debate as well, although to a much lesser degree.
  • 3:30 – The net neutrality conversation also goes into the role of capitalism and ‘political economy’ and differences in consciousnesses / awareness of such issues between India and elsewhere, versus North America: “In general when you talk about rights issues, there is a much stronger sense of how your ability to enjoy rights, to exercise them, is always underpinned by political economy.”
  • 10:00 – Issues around the internet and capitalism, neoliberal pressures in India and other developing coutnries tying in to state surveillance and privacy issues
  • 13:00 – The World Forum on Free Media and importance of connecting around issues of rights, the Internet and communications in general – includes an explanation of what is meant by political economy.
  • 14:50 – Concerns around privacy and surveillance: do people really care? Looking at the complexities of the issue, especially with respect to social media, especially Facebook – and also, what do we do about it, with the dominance that such corporations have through their position in so many peoples lives?
  • 20:50 – Relating the issues around Internet, communications and free media with a “sense of despondency with where activism is at right now – not things that come up spontaneously, [but] people who have been organizing over long periods of time struggling to build connections in a world where increasingly global capital is back on the rise, and culturally – as people here have been pointing out – there is also more and more across the world a move to the right: that means there is a set of values that is dominant that’s not really hospitable to the activists that are here and the work that they do. And I think that’s maybe a question that’s just as important: How do you win people back to that language of solidarity, justice, and a different humanity to respect people in their totality, including their difference? I think that might be a bigger battle.”
  • 24:00 More around the issue of growing dissatisfaction with the power that companies like Facebook and Google have.


Book review: McChesney’s “Digital Disconnect” examines corporate control of our digital communications future

A half-hour interview with Idil, board chair of Across Boundaries mental health centre in Toronto, on race and mental health issues within the contexts of killings by police, incarceration, and mental health diagnosis and treatment.

Photo from Montreal protest July 28, 2016 - credit Justice for Victims of Police Killings (album)

Photo from Montreal protest July 28, 2016 – credit: Justice for Victims of Police Killings (album)

Main topics covered:

  • Introduction to sanism, Anti-Black racism, and anti-Black sanism;
  • Circumstances of Abdirahman Abdi’s death at the hands of Ottawa police on July 24;
  • Importance of race being at the core of this discussion;
  • List of Black men with mental health issues killed by police in Toronto: “1978 we had Andrew Evans. The following year, 1979, we had Albert Johnson. Subsequently we’ve had Wade Lawson in 1988, Lester Donaldson also in 1988, O’Brien Christopher-Reid in 2004, Michael Eligon in 2012, Reyal Jardine-Douglas in 2013, Ian Pryce in 2013, and more recently we’ve seen Jermaine Carby and Andrew Loku”;
  • Little faith in Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and also how the SIU was formed because of Black community activism;
  • Intersectionality of anti-Blackness racism and sanism / mental health;
  • Problems in the mental health system;
  • The conversation that is now happening based on Abdirahman’s killing;
  • What is needed in/from the media;
  • Possible responses to police killings, especially the need for full and accurate data;
  • Problems in jails, prisons, forensic facilities;
  • The consumption of Black death;
  • Challenging, difficulty, despair…
  • The need to demand justice


AUDIO: 29min 25sec – direct link to mp3 file – Note: rebroadcasting in whole or in part is encouraged under Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 especially for campus/community radio

Samples: CBC Ottawa’s Idil Mussa; Brand Nubian; The Coup ft. Dead Prez; Goodie Mob.

Transcript of audio interview: available in DOC or PDF file formats (not proofread)
(provided courtesy of Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies)

Links directly related to this interview:

  • Statement from Across Boundaries on the killing of Abdirahman Abdi: pdf link
    Across Boundaries is a community based organization in Toronto that provides servcies to folks living with mental health issues who are racialized: www.acrossboundaries.ca
  • “Civil and Political Wrongs: The Growing Gap Between International Civil and Political Rights and African Canadian Life” (2015) by Anthony N. Morgan, Darcel Bullen, and African Canadian Legal Clinic: 45-page pdf link – note pages 27-28 are specifically about the SIU and OIPRD
  • CAMH research study finds delays in access to mental health treatment services for Black youth (link coming soon)
  • “Racism in Ontario” 1992 report to the Premier by Stephen Lewis (38-page pdf link)
  • A written accompaniment (article and/or transcript) to this interview will be coming soon – please sign up to the EqEd mailing list for notice when it’s published: www.bit.ly/EqEd-list


Related Content from Greg Macdougall / EquitableEducation.ca

  • Ewart Walters – founder and editor of The Spectrum (1984-2013), a monthly newspaper for Ottawa’s Black community – speaks about starting The Spectrum and its niche in Ottawa’s media market, including keeping attention on the 1991 Ottawa police killing of Vincent Gardner

    This is four minutes of the start of his speech from October 2007, Media Democracy Day event on Citizen Journalism (direct mp3 file link) and he gets to the shooting of Vincent Gardner at 3:00


Individual recordings of eleven of the rally speakers sharing personal stories, providing context, expressing outrage and calling for change, in light of the Jian Ghomeshi verdict.

Rally at the Ottawa courthouse. Photo credit: Andrea Boles.

Rally at the Ottawa courthouse.
Photo credit: Andrea Boles.

Approximately 200 people attended the event on March 25, rallying at the Ottawa courthouse and then marching to Parliament Hill.


Recordings below – recorded and produced by Greg Macdougall, EquitableEducation.ca – no reuse or republication without explicit consent.
Unfortunately the audio quality may not the best, in some segments moreso than others.
The descriptions with each recording are as provided by the speakers.


Rally at Parliament Hill. Photo credit: Jenn Jefferys.

Rally at Parliament Hill.
Photo credit: Jenn Jefferys.


Need support?
Some services available around issues of sexual assault and abuse are listed at these sites:
Sexual Assault Support Centre (Ottawa) resource directory
Carleton University campus and community resource directory
Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres directory
Canadian Women’s Health Network listing of national rape crisis centres


Speeches from the Believe Survivors rally in Ottawa


Rose Ekins (recording begins mid-way through speech) – mp3 file


Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, programming coordinator at CUSA (Carleton University Students’ Association)mp3 file


Jasper Ignatius, independent trans activist and writer. Jasper began by calling out cissexism and transmisogyny (having consulted a friend who experiences transmisogyny beforehand, as they do not) in the language of a previous speaker, and drawing attention to the harms of those actions. Jasper then spoke about their experience in a relationship where they were coerced into sex almost daily (by someone who worked in Carleton Safety) and how they only recently have come to terms with the fact that they experienced rape. Jasper also talked about what consent is, and the conditions in which a “yes” is really a “yes”. Jasper’s articles on Medium.com. – mp3 file


Leah Gazan, Red Sky Womanmp3 file


Margaux Hunter-Moffatt speaking on behalf of Mélodie Morin (for context see this CBC report). – mp3 file


Event organizers (mp3 file):
Amina Ghadieh is a 21 year-old student at the University of Ottawa, and the head organizer for this event. They are a social justice advocate, an artist, and a writer. Their speech focused on their lived experiences with sexual assault and the frustrations that arise when navigating the Canadian justice system.
Samantha is a charismatic leader, a criminology and communications student and a social justice advocate whose focus is set on dismantling systems of oppression surrounding women of colour. Her main goal is to show solidarity and respect, and give survivors a platform to safely share their experiences. She co-organized this protest and mainly helped with the promo as she has a strong presence on social media.


Jenn Jefferysmp3 file


Local activist Cameron Jette, 18, spoke about their experience of childhood rape and about the importance of educating our children and youth on consent and sexual violence. – mp3 file


Holly Smith, Purple Sisters Youth Advisory Committee & Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. – Text of speechmp3 file


Jenna is the administrative coordinator at the Womyn’s Centre at Carleton University. You can find her online through the Feminist Twins handle on Facebook and Twitter. Jenna is into (un)learning and sharing stories. – Text of speechmp3 file



The same day this post was published, Shameless magazine posted the text of the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape’s #WeBelieveSurvivors speech given at the Black Lives Matter Toronto Tent City (#BLMTOtentcity) in front of Toronto Police Headquarters on the evening of the Ghomeshi verdict, after the Toronto rally had marched there from the original gathering place in front of the courthouse.


Wolverine in May 2015 at a protest against Imperial Metals in Vancouver. Photo credit: Murray Bush - flux photo

Wolverine in May 2015 at a protest against Imperial Metals in Vancouver. Photo credit: Murray Bush – flux photo

An interview posted in honour of the late Secwepemc Elder and Warrior Wolverine upon the occasion of his recent passing, that includes him speaking about legal principles of Native land title and rights in Canada, a legal fight concerning land rights that he was involved with from 1989-95, and the softwood lumber agreement issue.

The article written at the time of this interview is below, but the interview audio itself has not been published until now.

Following the article, is the text of the December 2015 open letter from Wolverine to Canada’s Prime Minister and Minister of Justice calling for a public inquiry to address what happened around Gustafsen Lake.

Wolverine interviewed by Greg Macdougall in Waterloo ON, 2002 (17min, mp3 file)


Wolverine visits U.Waterloo

Native elder, youth talk of defending their land in B.C.

by Greg Macdougall, November 29 2002
Published in University of Waterloo Imprint student newspaper

How many times do you get to hear a speaker talk about being chased by a Canadian armoured personnel carrier, coming within four feet of being crushed and then shooting out the hydraulics with an AK-47 to take away the steering?

A few dozen UW students recently took advantage of the opportunity when William “Wolverine” Ignace and Nicole Manuel spoke in Waterloo on Tuesday, November 19. They’re from Secwepemc Nation near Kamloops B.C. and are raising awareness of the fight to protect their homeland from being further destroyed in the illegal expansion of the Sun Peaks ski resort. They said neither the provincial nor federal governments will enforce the laws that protect the Native peoples’ land rights.

The dispute was at the centre of the 1995 Gustafsen Lake standoff, when over 400 RCMP and Canadian army personnel employed land mines, concussion grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition to stop the Native people’s attempts to defend their land. It was during that time that the 63-year old Wolverine found himself in combat with the Canadian army and he spent the next five years in jail for his participation.

But the two had much more to talk about. Twenty-five-year-old Manuel spoke of the leadership she and others have received from their elders, including Wolverine. Although his formal education only went to grade seven, he has done legal research into the Native peoples’ land rights and represented himself in the courts, right up to the top court in the country. He pointed to the key 1995 dismissal of their case by the Supreme Court that didn’t rule on the legal points that Wolverine contends stand firmly in favour of the Secwepemc people.

He says that the Secwepemc should have their dispute with the Canadian government heard by a third-party adjudicator, because that is the only way to avoid the conflict-of-interest that any Canadian court or judge has in hearing the case. He stated that First Nations are allies with the Queen, not subjects to her.

In his research, he’s found that “there’s only six times in North American history that the Native people’s title and rights have been discussed in law” and they show the right to third-party adjudication. He listed them as 1704, the Mohegan people versus Connecticut; the appeal of that case in 1740; the Royal Proclamation of 1763; the conclusion of the Mohegan case in 1773; the Duty of Disallowance in 1875 and the 1982 Constitution.

According to Wolverine, Canada is a corrupt country — the politicians, lawyers, judges, media — “right from the bottom up. This is the reason why we’ll never get a fair ruling, not in this country. We’ve never had justice since Confederation; we’re still waiting.”

However, there is one legal avenue left: preventing an agreement between Canada and the United States on softwood lumber. “We can destroy the economy of Canada. Maybe that’s what it takes for people to realize what is wrong with this country.

“Because they never dealt with the land issue, all the resources that are removed off of our territories, it’s all stolen goods.” He said that Canada challenged this all the way to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, but lost.

Wolverine said he has two goals: justice and coexistence.

The tour he and Manuel are doing now is criss-crossing Eastern Canada; after visiting Concordia University, students there picketed two Montreal travel agencies, convincing them to cancel tours to Sun Peaks. Waterloo students at the talk were discussing doing a similar thing here.

Note: this article was also included in the Aboriginal Understanding booklet/zine published in 2011


Open Letter from Wolverine calling for a public inquiry into the events surrounding the Ts’Peten (Gustafsen Lake) standoff of 1995

Sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson, on December 30 2015

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

My name is Wolverine. I am also known as William Jones Ignace. I am an 83-year-old father, grandfather and great grandfather, and an Elder of the Secwepemc nation in what is called British Columbia. I am a farmer. This past summer I cultivated eight acres of organic food to nourish the people in my nation and other nations as well. I am a long time defender of the inherent jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples to steward our traditional homelands.

Today I am writing to you to request that you initiate a federal public inquiry into the events surrounding the month long standoff at Ts’Peten (Gustafsen Lake), British Columbia in 1995, an event which cast a deep shadow on the relationship between the Canadian government and Indigenous nations, which to this day has not been adequately investigated.

In 1995, after a long history of peaceful attempts to have Secwepemc sovereignty respected, Indigenous people from the Secewpemc nation and their supporters took a stand on sacred Sundance lands at Ts’Peten, a.k.a. Gustafsen Lake. The incident began after a local white rancher, Lyle James began demanding that the sacred Secwepemc Sundance Camp leave land to which he claimed ownership. Approximately 24 Sundancers set up camp to defend Ts’Peten. I was one of those people.

Beginning in August 1995, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) surrounded the Ts’Peten Defenders. Over the next month police, politicians, and media escalated the situation to make the siege the most expensive and largest domestic military operation in Canada’s history: armoured personnel carriers, .50 calibre machine guns, land mines, and an astonishing 77,000 rounds of ammunition were directed at the land defenders. In the course of the standoff, RCMP shot at unarmed people and at people in negotiated no-shoot zones. RCMP Superintendent Murray Johnston expressed the belief that a resolution to the standoff would “require the killing” of the defenders, including myself. Although this thankfully did not come to be, the unjust and violent actions carried out against the Secwepemc people during the siege remains strong in our memories to this day.

Despite the 20 years that have passed since the Ts’Peten standoff, the core issues that so forcefully clashed against each other remain at the forefront of the hearts and minds of Indigenous people. That is our right to self-determination, autonomy and protection from the dispossession of our lands and territories. According to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Title to land exists inherently and will continue to exist until it has been ceded by treaty with the Crown. The land on which the Ts’Peten standoff occurred was, and remains to this day, unceded territory. The land at Ts’Peten was never handed over by the Secwepemc Nation to Canadian control through treaty or otherwise, and is therefore land that cannot have been sold to settlers by the Canadian or British Columbian governments. The use of Canadian paramilitary forces against the people of the Secwepemc nation asserting our inherent jurisdiction and title over our own territories therefore is a serious abrogation of the Nation to Nation relationship between the Canadian government and the Secwepemc Nation.

This abrogation has yet to be properly investigated, and remains one of the largest stains on relations between Indigenous nations and the Canadian state. A public federal inquiry is long overdue into the actions of the RCMP, the Canadian government and the provincial government of British Columbia.

In recent months, Mr. Trudeau, you have called for a renewed Nation to Nation relationship with Indigenous nations, promising a new era of recognition, rights, respect, co-operation and partnership, rooted in the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. According to that Declaration, Indigenous peoples have the right to be safe from being forcibly removed from their lands and territories. Even now, aggressive resource extraction and the destruction it inevitably brings regularly occurs on Indigenous lands without the consent of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous lands which, according to the very agreements that founded the nation of Canada, do not belong to Canada to be given away without the free prior and informed consent of the Indigenous people of those lands who never relinquished their rights. In order to build this Nation to Nation relationship, Indigenous peoples must know that they can continue to pursue peaceful processes for protecting their sovereignty, without the threat of state sanctioned violence being used against them. The use of police and RCMP intimidation and force as a method to settle land claims in favour of the Canadian national and provincial governments is antithetical to the creation of a healthy and just partnership between nations. If Indigenous people are prevented from asserting their rights to sovereignty, true reconciliation cannot occur.

The time has come to honour your commitment to Indigenous people, and to a reconciliation between our nations. An inquiry into the Ts’Peten standoff would demonstrate that the Canadian government is truly committed to a new era of respectful, Nation to Nation relationships in which the wrongs of the past are thoroughly understood and acknowledged, ensuring that threats, intimidation, defamation and force are never again used against Indigenous people in Canada.

With respect,

Wolverine, William Jones Ignace

Interview with policy analyst and advisor with the Algonquin Nation Secretariat, Russell Diabo, on the ongoing Algonquin land claim for Eastern Ontario. Audio interview aired last year on CKCU 93.1FM OPIRG Roots Radio (mp3 file here) with transcript below – interviewed by Greg Macdougall.

Excerpts of this interview included as part of a printable 2-page pdf handout about the land claim.


Photo by Peter Di Gangi

My name is Russell Diabo, I’m a member of the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake, but for the past I guess 30 years now I’ve been working with different Algonquin communities, including the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, and I’m an adivsor with the tribal council called the Algonquin Nation Secretariat and I’m also an advisor with the Wolf Lake Algonquin First Nation.


Okay, thanks. And if you could just summarize, so about the eastern Ontario Algonquin land claim, just summarize what’s happening and where that’s at now.


In the mid-1980s, Pikwakanagan, also known as Golden Lake, submitted a land claim to a large part of eastern Ontario that basically runs from Hawkesbury to North Bay. They did that without the agreement of the other Algonquin First Nations, and that claim was being treated as a comprehensive [land] claim, although the government says that the land was extinguished through the Williams Treaty in the 1920s.

Nevertheless, in 1991, the Ontario government accepted the Golden Lake claim for negotiation, and in 1992 the federal government accepted it for negotiation. And after that, they created this policy fiction called the ‘Algonquins of Ontario’, because the Algonquin Nation was never split – the provinces were carved out of the Algonquin Nation territory, which pre-existed Ontario and Quebec.

Now they’re saying there’s this Algonquins of Ontario that have this land claim. they’ve excluded the other communities who are headquartered on the Quebec side, and the issue is about the interests that the Algonquins on the Quebec side have in Ontario.

But also Golden Lake has lands in Quebec as well, traditionally that they’re connected to. And for many years they were also considered ‘Quebec Indians’, Golden Lake, because they came from Lake of Two Mountains, or Oka, and for many years there was a fund for the Indians of Quebec and that paid for a lot of the services and that, that Golden Lake were getting. So it’s ironic that they’re now calling them the Algonquins of Ontario when they were originally considered Quebec Indians.


And Algonquins of Ontario is not only Golden Lake, they’ve brought in more people as well?


Yes, so Pikwakanagan, looking at expanding – as I understand it – the land and cash portions of a final settlement, wanted to expand the numbers, so they asked for anybody they could trace their ancestry to a number of petitions that were made by Algonquins in the 1800s. So any individual that was on that list, if they could trace some connection to them genealogically, then they could be part of the negotiations.

But our understanding is they’ve gone on to create a registration system in isolation from the other Algonquin communities, and that Algonquin registry system that they’ve set up under the so-called Algonquins of Ontario process, will establish who beneficiaries are under any kind of final settlement, and will have an impact on other Algonquins. So, other Algonquins haven’t had any say in this registration system, it’s something that the governments and Golden Lake have created.


And, so you’ve been saying this has been going on a while now, like over two decades now.


Well like I said, it was in 1991 that Ontario agreed to negotiate, and Canada in 1992, so it’s been going on since 1992.


And through this they’ve … I know you’re very big into explaining the whole comprehensive [land] claims process with Canada, but they [the Algonquins of Ontario] have been borrowing money …


So far they’ve borrowed 18 and a half million dollars and counting, because they’re nowhere near settling. They’re not even at the agreement-in-principle stage, they have something called a draft preliminary agreement-in-principle that they’re supposed to have a referendum on – which is unusual, usually in these negotiations, they don’t usually have a referendum until maybe an agreement-in-principle stage or a final agreement, certainly a final agreement. But this is called a preliminary draft agreement-in-principle, so it’s pretty unusual, even that being so tentative.


Okay. Is that where it’s talking about 300 million dollars and 1-point-something percent of the land?


Yes, there’s a number of … the highlights of the Algonquins of Ontario preliminary draft agreement-in-principle says that there will be a fund if they reach a final agreement. I mean that’s the whole point, is that this is like, it sets out the principles, and the details have to be worked out in the final agreement. So the 300 million dollar fund, and they’re doing a land selection process, trying to pick the best lands in eastern Ontario, but they’re picking lands that other Algonquin First Nations have title and rights to as well. And many of these people, who have been registered as Algonquins – like six to eight thousand of them – many of them will likely not be able to meet the legal standard of being Aboriginal title holders, yet in this process they get to extinguish title, through the process.


And when you mention extinguishing title, you were mentioning the Supreme Court basically said there’s two ways: you can either negotiate, and then through negotiation you’re extinguishing the rights …


In June 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada issued the Tsilhqot’in decision, otherwise known as the William decision. In there they reaffirmed the legal principles in the previous Delgamuukw decision of the Supreme Court, where they said Aboriginal title means the right to determine the purposes to which the land would be used – it’s a property right, there’s an economic component to it – so this Tsilhqot’in case basically reaffirmed all of that, including the duty to consult and accommodate at the assertion stage, because they’re saying there’s two stages of Aboriginal title: one is groups who are asserting Aboriginal title, which is most of the groups, including the Algonquin First Nations I work with; and in order to establish Aboriginal title, the Supreme Court in the Tsilhqot’in case said you either have to go seek a court declaration, which means you have to have basically millions of dollars worth of research and money to sustain the court challenge, and … or you negotiate, and the only way to negotiate is through the existing comprehensive claims policy of the federal government, which requires extinguishment of Aboriginal title, not recognition – plus you have to borrow money, there’s a whole bunch of problems with it: third party interests take more priority, they want a release from past infringements or alienations of land, they don’t compensate for that, but they want a sign-off by the First Nations, so there’s a whole bunch of problems with that policy.


And you were talking about the Algonquin communities you’re working with, are working on asserting title and rights.


They’re at the stage of asserting title and rights, and in January 2013 they submitted what’s called a Statement of Asserted Rights and Title, for the three communities, and it wasn’t a comprehensive claim or Aboriginal title claim just yet/ It was presented to the crown governments, Ontario Quebec and Canada, to push for a formal consultation protocol, like the Haida decision says, that you have to give notice to the crown governments on the nature of the rights you’re asserting and where you’re asserting them. So they basically gave a summary of evidence and a map to the governments and said ‘ok we’re asserting title and rights over this territory’. And the governments ignored that, and they’ve continued, where there’s overlap with the Algonquins of Ontario, they’ve continued to negotiate with them and ignore the other Algonquin First Nations, certainly the three that I work with.


What three are those?


That would be the Wolf Lake First Nation, Timiskaming First Nation, and the Eagle Village First Nation.


So where does that go, if the governments are ignoring this assertion on land that’s being negotiated separately?


Well, they have the court decision to deal with, so they either have to consider legal action or political action or both. Those are the options they have in front of them. Right now they’re pushing the governments for consultation, formal consultation processes, to consult and accommodate on any development of lands or natural resources within their Aboriginal title territories. So that’s what they’re looking for right now.

So they’re engaging Quebec, they just signed a memorandum of understanding between the three communities on how they’re going to deal with consultations from the Crown governments, and they’re pushing Quebec for an agreement, an MOU – memorandum of understanding, and consultation – and they want one from Ontario as well, and one from Canada in areas where federal things like the Energy East project, the pipeline going through their territories. And also there’s dams up there. And then there’s also things like environmental assessments of a proposed rare earth mine, other things that have some federal areas of jurisdiction in there too.


~~~~ ‘break’ ~~~~


And the other community you mentioned was Barriere Lake, and they’ve taken a different approach to land title or rights or …


Well the Algonquins of Barriere Lake are part of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat, the tribal council I work with, and they entered into a series of agreements with Canada and Quebec that were outside of the claims process. The first one was the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, which basically is a resource management agreement that agreed that there’d be an integrated resource management plan prepared for forests and wildlife over ten thousand square kilometres of their territory, and in 1998 they signed another agreement with Quebec, a Bilateral Agreement, on how they would implement the first agreement. But in there, Quebec also agreed to negotiate co-management revenue sharing, and now Quebec is telling them that they’ll negotiate everything except for revenue sharing – so in effect they want to breach that part of the agreement, because they did mandate John Ciaccia to negotiate for them, he was a former cabinet minister of Quebec, and he recommended that Barriere Lake should get a million and a half a year in annual contributions for the exploitation of resources off their Trilateral Agreement territory. But Quebec doesn’t seem to want to include that in the negotiations, according to the correspondence they’ve received from the government.


And my understanding, just to be clear, is that that agreement wasn’t giving up any rights.


No, that agreement had nothing to do with giving up title and rights. In fact, it was based on the Bruntland report – in 1987 there was a United Nations [World Commission] report on environment and development, and there were a number of recommendations in there that Barriere Lake took up. One was it said that Indigenous people should have a decisive voice in resource management decisions that affect them, the other one was this concept of sustainable development, of making sure that resource development occurs in a sustainable way, and the other one was conservation strategies – they wanted a conservation strategy applied to their territory. In the course of negotiating with the government of Quebec, and Canada, that turned in to the development of an integrated resource management plan based on the principles of conservation and sustainable development.

So, that was part of the negotiation process, but it was more based on promoting sustainable development of the territory and putting some controls over forestry instead of having clear-cuts, and they’re also affected by ongoing flooding from reservoirs, the Cabonga and Dozois reservoirs, which are part of the Hydro Quebec system, where Quebec’s making money off of that. Basically, there’s about a hundred million a year in resource development coming off Barriere Lake’s territory, and they don’t get one cent, so that’s why they’re wanting revenue sharing. And they want to have co-management, to have a say in how logging’s done, and how wildlife management occurs in their territory.

There’s been a small group in the community that’s been very vocal right from the beginning, that haven’t agreed with that – they wanted everything shut down. But the community talked about that at the beginning, and they realized that they… there’s many Quebecers that get jobs up there from forestry, so they talked about three options: no logging, which they knew they’d be fighting the towns of Maniwaki and Mont-Laurier and Val d’Or where these workers come from and the mills are; the second one was do nothing, just let Quebec pass laws and log their territory; and the third option they talked about was controlled logging, and that’s what they chose and that’s what became the Trilateral Agreement, was a way to control logging up there, to protect the Algonquin sites, cultural sites, and environmental areas.

But the government has not liked that agreement after signing it, in fact Canada pulled out of it in 2001 – Robert Nault was the minister [of INAC, now AANDC] then under Jean Chretien, they breached the agreement by walking away. So in 2002, Quebec picked up the process and covered the costs that the federal government was supposed to cover, and that process continued until about 2006, when John Ciaccia, the Quebec representative, and Clifford Lincoln, the Algonquin representative, issued a report of joint recommendations that included co-management and revenue sharing.

The government sat on that, those recommendations of the report, and instead Canada and Quebec started manipulating the internal affairs of the community, the governance, promoting factions, and they were trying to kill off those agreements. And for a while the community conflict over leadership distracted them from dealing with making sure these agreements were being honoured. But they came together about four years ago – they were forced from a customary [governance] system into an Indian Act electoral system, so they’ve been electing their chief and council, and it’s only a small group that remains opposed to the chief and council, but most of the community are behind them, and they’re the ones who are trying to get these agreements honoured now. And so they are furthering negotiations with Quebec, but they want revenue sharing included, as was originally intended.

And Canada is still not at the table, because Canada wants them to go into the comprehensive claims policy, that’s what they’re trying to push them into. So that’s why they never liked the Trilateral Agreement, because it wasn’t under the comprehensive claims policy – it doesn’t lead to extinguishment of title; if anything, it reinforces title, because them having a management role in resource management and getting revenue sharing, that’s all reinforcing Algonquin rights and jurisdiction over resource management.


So, with these different approaches, where do you see things going, and what do you think people can take away from understanding this issue … and what’s important for people living in this area to know about this?


Well what the research has shown from the three Algonquin communities – actually the four, including Barriere Lake – is that, for the Algonquin Nation, Aboriginal title resides at the community level, not the nation level. And the Algonquins at the nation level came together, especially in the summer and that, but the Algonquin First Nations are made up of the modern Indian Act bands, and traditionally those are the extended families that form those modern bands. But there are historic bands that they are descended from, or that they succeed.

So, the whole issue about who’s the legitimate representatives is important: there are duly-elected chiefs of these 10 Algonquin communities, including Golden Lake in Ontario and nine in Quebec, and there’s these other people coming up claiming to be Algonquin chiefs but there’s no evidence to show that they have any of those titles/ or that they’re even connected to a recognized community. So these issues have to be made clear to the public, because there’s so many people coming forward claiming to be representatives of the Algonquin Nation – and groups, who aren’t. So that’s one of the first things that needs to be cleared up.

Once you know who to talk to, who has the legitimacy, that is going to be important, but the Algonquins, the Algonquin Nation within itself, they have to have discussions about what they’re going to do. Because even within the Algonquin Nation there’s two tribal councils on the Quebec side, and then you’ve got this Golden Lake with these nine satellite groups who are not status, on the Ontario side. So there’s going to be a lot of issues to sort out within the Algonquin Nation. And so I can understand why it’s confusing for the public.


And just a final reminder that the Ottawa River, [as] the Quebec/Ontario boundary, is not something that was traditional …


No, the Algonquin Nation pre-existed the creation of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec – they carved the provinces out of the Algonquin Nation territory. Which is why I say the ‘Algonquins of Ontario’ is a policy fiction that’s been created for the governments, for negotiation purposes. Because it’s basically a land grab by the Crown governments, because they want to extinguish title to eastern Ontario, and especially the National Capital Region, where Parliament Hill sits, the Governor General’s residence, the Prime Minister’s residence – the whole city of Ottawa is sitting on unceded Algonquin territory, so they want to make sure that it gets ceded.

And that’s what they’ve been pushing all the Algonquins into, is trying to get them into the comprehensive claims process. So they’re trying to use the Algonquins of Ontario claim as a precedent against the other Algonquins – a very low precedent, because it’s going to set a low standard if this agreement goes forward.


Thank you.



For more audio/podcasting from EquitableEducation.ca:


Here are the different emails I’ve had with the Indigenous Affairs (INAC) Minister’s office as well as with the National Capital Commission (NCC), as I wrote to them in support of the demands issued by four Algonquin chiefs in October to protect the sacred site from Windmill Ltd’s pending “Zibi” condo-commercial development at the site, to return the area to Algonquin stewardship and to begin the process of creating an Algonquin cultural and historic centre and park there.

I published the full correspondence at mediacoop.ca: http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/followup-letter-inac-minister-carolyn-bennett-sacr/34345

Cover page of handout to protect the sacred site - full 2-pg pdf (meant for printing double-sided and folding) at www.bit.ly/chaudiere-flyer

Cover of handout to protect the sacred site – full 2-pg pdf (meant for printing double-sided and folding) at www.bit.ly/chaudiere-flyer

In order, it is:

  • the follow-up email to the INAC after phone conversation with an INAC employee in their Ontario regional office (who said that they had started work on a response to the chiefs and the minister would be issuing it probably sometime mid-to-late January) that includes links to Kitigan Zibi assertions of land title and rights as well as relevant Ottawa Citizen articles;
  • the original letter I sent to INAC, the Prime Minister, the Premiers of both Ontario and Quebec, the mayors of both Ottawa and Gatineau, the NCC, and to Windmill Ltd, that includes links to the resolutions passed by the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador;
  • and the response I got from the NCC, and my follow-up email to them (cc’ed to local MPs for Ottawa-Centre, Catherine McKenna, and Hull-Aylmer, Greg Fergus).


All the email addresses of the relevant parties are included in my messages about the chiefs’ demands, so if you’d like to write your own letters to them please do. Note that the only response I got were from INAC (by phone and email) and from the NCC (by email, and who’ve also indicated they will be responding to my follow-up to them).

Dec. 19 Asinabka / Akikodjiwan panel discussion & musical performances, as part of Phil Ochs Festival in Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory.

Link to full video on Youtube (embedded directly below) and also the podcast/audio recording (and direct mp3 download). The following are the start times for each individual speaker/singer in the full video, along with links to the separate stand-alone video for their segment (the individual videos are all also embedded on this page, further below – keep scrolling down – or Youtube playlist here):

♦ 0:57 Barbara Dumont-Hill ♦ 06:05 Albert Dumont ♦ 12:03 Tito Medina ♦ 18:00 Douglas Cardinal ♦ 26:50 Gabrielle Fayant & Amanda Fox (aka Spirit Flowers) ♦ 36:40 Michael Desautels ♦ 40:37 Kevin Schofield ♦ 48:10 Romola Thumbadoo ♦ 1:08:46 Julie Comber (aka Vela) ♦ 1:21:24 Peter Di Gangi ♦ 1:30:10 Barbara Dumont-Hill


Barbara Dumont-Hill opening the event.

Barbara Dumont-Hill opening the event.

Support the Algonquin Vision for Akikodjiwan Kichizibi(2-page pdf to print double-sided ‘flip on short edge’ then fold) that you can pass on to friends, family and colleagues: available at www.bit.ly/chaudiere-flyer – includes background information and action items.

More info on this issue at:

For updates, please email akikpautik (at) gmail.com and ask to receive the emails from them, and/or visit www.freethefalls.ca and subscribe to news updates.
Call to Support Protection of Sacred Waterfalls Area

The following three demands were issued by four Algonquin chiefs on Oct 30, 2015, and since then supported by five other Algonquin chiefs, as well as the AFNQL and AFN.

Please as individuals, and as organizations passing official resolutions/endorsements, contact the relevant government officials to indicate your support of these demands (contact info below).

  • 1. The federal and Ontario governments should purchase the lands within our Algonquin Sacred Area for return to an Algonquin controlled institution set up by legitimate Algonquin First Nations.
  • 2. The Algonquin Sacred Waterfalls Area Akikodjiwan must be protected in perpetuity and recognized within the National Capital Region as an Algonquin Nation Cultural Park and Historic Commemoration Site under an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin First Nations.
  • 3. The governments of Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the National Capital Commission and the municipalities of Gatineau and Ottawa must contact the duly elected Algonquin Chiefs and Councils to negotiate the establishment of a proposed Algonquin Nation Cultural Park and Historic Commemoration Site under an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin First Nations.

List of email addresses to contact:
pm@pm.gc.ca, minister@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca, premier@ontario.ca, info@ncc-ccn.ca, Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca, maire@gatineau.ca, hello@zibi.ca
(ie: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, National Capital Commission chair Russell Mills, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, and Jonathan Westeinde of Windmill Development Group)
Also – Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard contact form

AND – Please send copies of all support letters or resolutions to Ms. Brenda St. Denis at forestry@wolflakefirstnation.com


Map – downtown Ottawa/Gatineau border on the Ottawa River

Approx. location of the Zibi condo development project at the sacred Akikodjiwan falls site on the Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa/Gatineau (Map: Google Maps, customized by IntercontinentalCry.org)

Approx. location of the Zibi condo development project at the sacred Akikodjiwan falls site on the Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa/Gatineau (Map: Google Maps, customized by IntercontinentalCry.org)




Barbara Dumont-Hill
– Algonquin drum keeper, community volunteer, and spiritual advisor


Albert Dumont “South Wind” AlbertDumont.com
– Algonquin community activist, volunteer, poet, storyteller and spiritual advisor


Tito Medina TitoMedina.net
– Singer-Songwriter and an icon for Guatemalan revolutionary music


Douglas Cardinal djcarchitect.com
– World-Class Organic Architect, Anishinaabe Elder and First Nations Activist


Gabrielle Fayant & Amanda Fox facebook.com/spirit.flowers.singers
– Spirit Flowers Indigenous women’s hand drum group


Michael Desautels
– Student & Labour Action Committee of Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands


Kevin Schofield
– the Tennessee Cree


Romola Thumbadoo circleofallnations.caAsinabka.com
– Coordinator, William Commanda’s Circle of All Nations / Asinabka Chaudiere Site Work


Julie Comber (Vela) JulieComber.com
– Singer-songwriter researcher settler-ally; member of Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands


Peter Di Gangi AlgonquinNation.ca
– Research and Policy Director for the Algonquin Nation Secretariat


Barbara Dumont-Hill


Videos by Greg Macdougall, EquitableEducation.ca


91-minute audio recording: Protecting Asinabka / Akikodjiwan from Windmill’s planned “Zibi” $1.2bn condo-commercial development on the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa/Gatineau, unceded Algonquin territory. From December 19, 2015 as part of the Phil Ochs Festival.

Listen here (or the mp3 file):

Recorded by Judith Matheson, FreeTheFalls.ca and Birth 2012 Ottawa Gatineau

Peter Di Gangi - Research and Policy Director, Algonquin Nation Secretariat - speaking to the crowd at #OchsFest

Peter Di Gangi – Research and Policy Director, Algonquin Nation Secretariat – speaking to the crowd at #OchsFest

– Send an email to Akikpautik (~at~) gmail.com and ask to be notified when it’s ready (please state whether you’d like ongoing updates, or just this one email)
UPDATE: Videos are now posted at this link.


Support the Algonquin Vision for Akikodjiwan Kichizibi(2-page pdf to print double-sided ‘flip on short edge’ then fold) that you can pass on to friends, family and colleagues: available at www.bit.ly/chaudiere-flyer – includes background information and action items.


Set list‘ with start times:
(moderator = Michael Desautels)

  • 0:00 Barbara Dumont-Hill
    – Algonquin drum keeper, community volunteer, and spiritual advisor
  • 05:07 Albert Dumont “South Wind”
    – Algonquin community activist, volunteer, poet, storyteller and spiritual advisor
  • 11:04 Tito Medina
    – Singer-Songwriter and an icon for Guatemalan revolutionary music
  • 17:10 Douglas Cardinal
    – World-Class Organic Architect, Anishinaabe Elder and First Nations Activist
  • 25:43 Gabrielle Fayant and Amanda Fox
    Spirit Flowers Indigenous women’s hand drum group
  • 67:21 Julie Comber (Vela)
    – Singer-songwriter researcher settler-ally; member of Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands
  • 88:27 Barbara Dumont-Hill



Map – downtown Ottawa/Gatineau border on the Ottawa River

Approx. location of the Zibi condo development project at the sacred Akikodjiwan falls site on the Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa/Gatineau (Map: Google Maps, customized by IntercontinentalCry.org)

Approx. location of the Zibi condo development project at the sacred Akikodjiwan falls site on the Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa/Gatineau (Map: Google Maps, customized by IntercontinentalCry.org)