| Apr 13, 2006

Feature Article - April 13, 2006

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Feature Article - April 13, 2006

Letters to theEditor

Re:Algonquin Land Claims

It was disheartening to read Jeff Green's latest article on the Algonquin Land Claim. On the face of it there seemed to be good news: Algonquins are happy, Ontario is happy, and Canada is happy. But that is not the whole story. The truth is that the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFNA) with 600 plus members remains outside of the Claim negotiations along with several other historic communities.


The real story might have been entitled "Algonquins Treated Like Third World Colony" because the truth lies somewhere in that comparison. Fourteen years ago the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFNA) met with the Algonquins of Golden Lake to discuss joining in a Land Claim which had been initiated under the Federal Government's Comprehensive Land Claims policy. AAFNA insisted on several criteria for its participation. They asked thatcommunity autonomy be respected, that all Algonquin communities share equally in funding for community development and education in regard to the claim, that each community have equal representation and that consensus be used for developing unity among communities. Early on it became evident that none of these conditions would be respected by the Band Council at Golden Lake . In fact every effort was taken to undermine the Algonquin communitieswhich were not recognised by the Department of Indian Affairs. In the end, Negotiations broke down. This is what happens in colonial countries where some of the colonised are recognised as the "the leaders" and the others are expected to fall into line. The Golden Lake Reserve acquires its legitimacy as "the leaders " because they are a Federal corporation under the Canadian Indian Act and because they arefully dependent on transfer payments from Canada . As such, they are in a naturally compromised position and therefore make the very best representative in negotiating a modern Land Claim.

Over the years other regions and some communities have been identified as having a possible interest as Algonquins in the Land Claim. This is important to ensure that the Treaty which emerges from negotiations will be the last one between Canada , Ontario and the Algonquins. Even though Ontario and Canada deny that Algonquins have ever existed as a people in the Ottawa Valley they are willing to negotiatethis Treaty as long as it extinguishes any future claim that Algonquins might have. To give these other communities legitimacy, a sham election was held last year to give the impression that representatives were being elected in a democratic fashion. While many Algonquins were excluded from electoral lists, others who were dead appeared. Algonquins who asked to be removed from fraudulent community lists were told that they could not be while others were shifted to a non-aligned list that had no voting privileges. An election is the best way to convince people that the selection of competent representatives has taken place, even when it falls short of the mark.

The Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFNA) has chosen not to be party to the present Land Claims negotiations for a variety of reasons. Having fought for Algonquin rights and responsibilities on the ground, in municipal and environmental tribunals, and all the way to the Supreme Court we know what it takes and we are willing to fight again if necessary for the honour of Algonquin people. The Algonquin homeland is a sacred place that can be shared with many diverse peoples, but it is not for sale. If Canada and Ontario are interested in working with AAFNA, then AAFNA is interested in working with them.AAFNA will no longer accept the extinguishment of Algonquin rights and responsibilities either through colonial ignorance or by way of a Treaty.

- Randy Cota, RobertLovelace

Recycling - How are we doing?An open letter to SouthFrontenacTownship

Now that we’re six months into our roadside pick-up “Recycling Program”, I’m wondering when we can expect some feedback with regards to how it’s going. On the whole, as a participating community, how are we doing? Is participation good? Are we remembering our scheduled weeks and days for pick-up? Are we complying with the appropriate items that we’re placing in our blue boxes? We take great strides in sorting and organizing our recyclables each week, but I’m wondering if that is even necessary as there does not seem to be any differentiation of items when dumped into the recycling truck. Is this necessary? And, where exactly does our recycling go, once picked up? Are there holding depots for each district of our township or does it all go to one centre, and where is that centre?

Our family of six have been completely active in the recycling program since its commencement nearly two decades ago when we lived in Kingston . We have always been very environmentally conscious, and we have never had more than one bag of garbage per week, so we were happy to have this new expanded program begin, and now we’re wondering: How are we doing?

- Jeri Walker, Hartington

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