| Jun 15, 2006


Feature Article - June 15, 2006

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Feature Article - June 15, 2006

Ardoch Algonquins eyeCrown Land for band office

Co-Chiefs Randy Cota and Bob Lovelace and honourary Chief Harold Perry of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN) paid a visit to North Frontenac Council last week (June 8), and informed council of their imminent plans to build a band office and community centre on Crown land somewhere within the township.

Co-chief Randy Cota told council that, “There are in excess of 700 members of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, and a good number of them are in North Frontenac. We are at a crossroads. We are in the process of building a band office/community centre, and we are choosing between three different spots on Algonquin Land to build on. We would like North Frontenac to be involved in picking a spot.”

Co-Chief Cota added that the Ardoch Algonquins are expecting to start working on site preparation within the next two months.

Amalgamation

Mayor Ron Maguire said that “if any of the sites are located on municipally owned land, it would be fairly straightforward to negotiate a purchase of the land from the township.”

“Whether we are looking at municipal or crown land, we don’t want to buy our own horse,” said Randy Cota, “but all of the land we are looking at is what you call crown land.”

“In that case, it is a matter for the MNR [Ministry of Natural Resources], not a matter for the township.”

“Will you follow the building code and other regulations?” asked Councillor Fred Perry.

“We’re not going to pay for a building permit, if that’s what you’re asking” said Randy Cota.

“That’s not what I’m asking,” replied Fred Perry, “I want to know if you will build according to the code.”

“Sure,” said Bob Lovelace, “it’s a good code, it makes sense to follow it.”

The decision by the Ardoch Algonquins to proceed with plans to build a band office/community centre on Crown land comes about as Algonquin land claim talks, which the Ardoch Algonquins are not participating in, are gaining a momentum after years of dormancy.

Co-Chief Lovelace talked briefly to council about the position the band has taken relative to the ongoing Algonquin land claim process.

“We got involved in negotiations 15 years ago.” Lovelace said, “They realised that the land claim needed to include ‘non-status’ Algonquin people, and we negotiated an understanding with them. We had certain conditions and these conditions have not been met and we have therefore not participated in the process.”

As a consequence of their non-participation, Lovelace said that the Ardoch Algonquins have had no success in their own attempts to negotiate with government officials.

“Frequently, Ardoch Algonquins have been hassled in the field by government officials. No one has been charged, but they have been hassled. We have made several attempts to discuss hunting and fishing issues with Ministry of Natural Resources over hunting and fishing, but they have not responded to our requests.”

Mayor Ron Maguire replied, “I am aware from the provincial government, that you need to be part of the land claim in order to assert your inherent or aboriginal rights.”

Ron Maguire represents the County of Frontenac to the municipal advisory committee to the Algonquin Land Claim, and he recently attended a meeting updating the committee on the state of negotiations. Bob Lovelace and Randy Cota asked that the township designate an individual they could keep apprised of developments on an ongoing basis to foster communication between the township and the band, and Maguire volunteered to fill that role.

At the previous council meeting on May 25, Maguire told council that at the recent municipal advisory committee meeting, he had been informed that the Algonquin negotiation team was preparing a framework for negotiations to present to the federal and provincial governments in the near future in anticipation of completing an agreement in principle within two years.

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