TURTLE ISLAND

Information Meeting
Pembroke, Legion Hall
May 16, 2004 @ 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

 

Attendance - Patrick Glassford, Gilbert Lebreche, Greg Sarazin, Richard Zohr, Doreen Davis, Randy Malcolm, Dave Joanisse, Kirby Whiteduck, Dan Kohoko, John Paul Kohoko, Bob Potts.

The meeting commenced at 2:55 p.m. There were 70 to 80 people in attendance.

Bob Potts began with a welcome to all attendees.  He then provided a background of himself and proceeded to a background of his involvement with the Algonquin Land Claim negotiations process.  He began in August 2003, is now retained by Algonquins of Pikwŕkanagŕn and ANTC/ANND.  The object of this exercise is to develop Beneficiary/Eligibility criteria and to have open elections by early fall.  The process began with his request to Algonquins of Pikwŕkanagŕn and ANTC/ANND to provide him with position papers on Beneficiary/Eligibility. Big Stone Claim has similar problems to us. Role and Responsibility to negotiate and to elect representatives to comprise this table.

He has also heard from Bob Lavalley, Randy Cota, Paul Lamothe, Wayne Lance and Katherine Cannon.

Cultural Disintegration is a great problem with this claim.

Canada and Ontario have had it with this claim.  This is a very difficult claim to resolve.  The problems are;

                1.      unrealistic expectations
                2.      disunity, and
                3.      inability to work together

Algonquins need to do this (solve the land claim) now or it will be put on hold for an indefinite period of time. If we don’t get agreement this time, the governments will shutdown the claim.

Statement made that didn’t believe that the governments would pull the plug if we don’t do it in the timeframes that they say.

Michael Swinwood stated that he represents TANAC, The Algonquin Nation Advisory Committee.  TANAC is made up of several communities, Whitney, Madawaska, Sabine, Bancroft, Ardoch, Bonnechere, Ottawa and Maynooth.  Michael Swinwood read a prepared statement from TANAC, this statement was provided to Bob Potts. Issue then take with Pikwŕkanagŕn.

After the statement was read, all of TANAC left the building although Bob Potts urged them to stay.

I can’t stay here because the Algonquins of Pikwŕkanagŕn are suing me, ANTC has rejected me (us) since 1999 and because of your personal greed Mr. Potts.

After leaving for awhile, the TANAC representatives returned to the meeting.

Randy Cota stated he is the appointed Chief of Ardoch.  ANTC needs to be accountable.  Are they Algonquin?  How did they get to the post?  I was not elected I was appointed the traditional way.  Dan Kohoko came to Harold Perry’s house, he knows who the Ardoch First Nation is.  ANTC needs to be accountable, they need to open their books, show who they represent.  This atrocity needs to stop, make them show who they are. When I see ANTC getting money, it really offends me.

Bob you say that governments have an agenda and this agenda must be met.  This is completely wrong.

Bob’s response was “I would hope that we could all bring the same passion to our discussion on this issue. Everyone will have a vote”.

Band Council is created by the government, how they can argue against their creator.

Wayne Lance stated he was elected Chief of Bonnechere Algonquin Community.  You say that you work for the Algonquin Nation but you don’t.  We represent 50% of the Algonquin Nation.  Those people should not be giving out Algonquin Lands.  Until the Algonquins are united, we should not be talking to government.  If we need to let this land claim go for another generation then that is what we should do.

My grand mother taught me that we (my family) were the people of the Ottawa River. Alumette Island, the Kichisipprini, we were subject to the massacre, but some of us survived.  We practiced our culture activities and didn't know they were pow wows but in the riverside park we cooked with hot stones in the ground.  We did marry non ­Algonquins over the years.  There is also another enemy out there that is bigger than the two governments and it is called globalization.  The kitch were not simply hunters and gatherers, they were business people who were prepared to take a lot of other actions to survive.  Pikwŕkanagŕn deserves our recon ignition and a place of honour for maintaining who we are as Algonquin's.  There was a time when we did hide who we were. 

                                    Pikwŕkanagŕn members present would like to address the beneficiary criteria, this is the reason why we are here, ANND/ANTC document is a citizenship issue.  He will pass his text over after he reads it. 

Chief and Council created by the government, and there power is limited, bylaws acts as board of directors.  How did the chief and council become the government?

Criteria itself, can't understand it, Indian Act definition is not based on race.  Let's not make the governments mistake because we are Algonquin's, lets go to DNA to make decisions, and change chief and council's draft, drop the eligibility concept.

Comment that all Algonquins were not notified of these meetings.  Bancroft has over 200 people but there were only 10 at the meeting.

I believe that Beneficiary – Citizenship – Rights and Self-government are all separate issues.   

I have looked at the beneficiary/citizenship criteria.  I was on the Greater Golden Lake committee but left.  First I left, then two others left. We wrote a letter to ANTC. Then, because I sent the letter I was returned my representation form by the self-appointed Chief.  He said I couldn’t get it back but he sent to me after.  After that I gave it back to him and left the committee. ANND/ANTC expelled me. I left because I was opposed to the way things were being down. I could not support the self-appointed chief. You have to get the word out there of these meetings.

How did the people in ANTC achieve their seats?

I saw a referendum on the internet.  An internet referendum is not a legitimate way of doing things, only a count of heads should be done.

Defining by race is problematic and not appropriate.  The way to do it is through culture.  We have a responsibility to adopt into our culture other non-Algonquin indigenous people.  ANTC has based their criteria on a reaction to the Pikwŕkanagŕn document.  ANTC did a “bait and switch” and in doing so they did a disservice to Pikwŕkanagŕn.  They fooled the Algonquin people.  “Limited rights” is a trick.  You must bring spouses in fully – you can’t bring them in only half way.

Thank you, good information from everyone who spoke and gave their information. One thing we are looking to do here is to create a representative table to direct the negotiations. People could you pack your egos at the door.

There is a lot of ill feeling here.  Could we have introductions of the maintable? 

We have a lot of Chiefs here.  I had no idea that we had so many Chiefs.

It looks to me like you are off to a great start, we could be Norad.

Someone stated that I have been involved in native politics since 1968 helping people get their rights.  First I was with OMSIA, the Ontario Metis and Non Status Indian Association.  That was before they would let me be a status Indian.  My biggest struggle, my biggest fight was in 1982, getting my status.  I was married to a person who was pure polish and my son is a 6 (1) a.  My current partner is exactly the same blood quantum as me but she is a 6 (2).  Her kids are non-status.  This is not right.  The document that Pikwŕkanagŕn circulated here today is the same as in 1995 and I rejected then.  

 If ANTC wants to lead then you should lead.  You sent out your meeting schedule but you avoided a meeting in Whitney where there is a large community of Algonquin people. ANTC/ANND expelled me too.

Bancroft and Pembroke are both over 80 miles away from Whitney.  You should send out questionnaires to all Algonquin people.  How can you have an election if you don’t have any people?

Not all of the Algonquin people were notified of these meetings.

I want to know if you ANTC and Chief and Council of the Algonquins of Pikwŕkanagŕn are prepared to resign their seats now and set up new elections.  Are you prepared to throw out both documents? People could then participate individually or collectively at these meetings.

We are not lining our pockets.  Some of us get $400.00 per meeting once per month and we are not getting rich here.

How does it feel to be working for nothing?  If you are going to have elections, then you better talk to your people first.

We do try to let people know about the meetings.   Some do have web sites and we do mail outs.  I have 1500 people on my mailing list and I get 300 mail returns.  We are doing our best, people don’t send in new addresses. We know we have a problem contacting people. Any help would be much appreciated.

This is a challenge, how do we park the individual interests instead of the collective interests?

I am not an Algonquin, this is all just nice talk.  You cannot move forward until you address the basic fundamental problem of  representation and jurisdiction.

The people spoke through past surveys that were done, that is how these papers were developed.

I am an advocate for out of the territory for Algonquin people.

Clarify where we are coming from.  First add marriage, and then add divorce, that is the reason for limited rights.  This was developed through surveys. 

I am from Sharbot Lake, used to be involved representing Sharbot Lake.  Used to open meetings with sweet grass, same problems as I0 years ago.  Should look at William Commanda teachings, who said we should forgive. 

Who we are at time of contact, we exercised full rights. 

The wampum belt, three figures, native lineal discrimination for women, there is a big level of ignorance out there.  Doesn't matter how we communicate, we still have to figure out who we are.  We need to develop unity, looked at the Yukon Model, argument for 50-50 model. Both nation building and land claim negotiations have to go hand and hand.  We need to have a final criteria.  The bottom line is that you have to come up with inclusive criteria.

No Indian descent.  I have no rights, but my children should.

Need to work together and be inclusive.

This is the “chicken and egg” problem.  The Algonquins decide on the criteria but the criteria defines who the Algonquins are.

I want to respond to ‘who were the original communities?” and “We should be a sovereign Nation”.  Sovernity issue concerns me, I think we need to be careful about this.  We are looking to reach an agreement with Canada and Ontario.  We need to decide if we are going to continue to pursue negotiations to settle this land claim. 

We are trying to do something practical in the “here and now”.  Race may not be appropriate.  We have to look at the original bands, some people may not have been Algonquin.  We are looking at who the descendants of those people are.

Pikwŕkanagŕn stated, our position maybe has stayed the same because we have not yet got to the actual point of discussing it.  And I am not going to resign, our elections give us the authority and responsibilities as representatives.  We are looking to make some progress on the beneficiary criteria that will allow us to get back to the negotiations main table.  And as for the mandate of the governments this is problem, they don’t have a mandate.  We are prepared to listen and invite your participation. I don’t believe that Canada and Ontario are going to get up and go away as Swinwood suggests. 

As for Nation building versus Land Claim, we are looking to make some progress on the Beneficiary/Eligibility Criteria. It should not be final, but it should get us back to real negotiations. We are prepared to listen and invite your participation.
As for a seat on Renfrew county Council, I am not aware of the request, and not sure if we want to be there.

 Meeting adjourned @ 6:15 p.m.

end

 

Turtle Island

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Changes last made on: July 20, 2004.