October 23, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Ottawa | Nine Algonquin First Nations oppose the housing project

Ottawa |  Nine Algonquin First Nations oppose the housing project

(Ottawa) Nine Algonquin First Nations in Quebec are planning to take legal action against allowing the Ottawa Municipality to build a new project on the outskirts of the city for another Algonquin group.


Man Alhmidi
The Canadian Press

The Ottawa City Council last week rejected a resolution asking planners to further analyze a proposal put forward by Algonquins in Ontario and a major real estate developer to convert 445 hectares of land 20 kilometers from the city into a new community.

The Municipality may place this project on its assets.

While the Mayor of Ottawa, John Watson, describes the project as a reconciliation, Albonquin explains that he did not consult the First Nations of Quebec.

The Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council, representing the nine federally recognized Algonquin First Nations in Quebec, met on Thursday to discuss how to stop a project they see as a violation of their rights to their land. Historical lands.

“We have always wanted this conversation with the city of Ottawa,” said Lance Hammond, chief of Kebawak First Nation. We also took the opportunity [jeudi] To get presentation from lawyer, legal advisor to learn about our potential litigation options. ”

Mr. Hammond recalls that the Algonquins in Ontario had only one first country to be recognized at the federal level and did not represent the entire Algonquin Nation.

The group was set up by the Ontario and federal governments 10 years ago to negotiate a land dispute settlement in much of eastern Ontario, including urban land. Ottawa. In addition to the recognized Algonquins of the Piquakanagan First Nation, the organization also represents nine other Algonquin communities. He has already worked with promoters.

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Referring to the Algonquin countries in Quebec, Mr Hammond said, “There are nine communities that have been left out in the process.”

He said the Algonquins once controlled the entire Ottawa River watershed and the Ottawa Valley and they never made a deal and never conquered. Regional boundaries in the middle of the river are a recent creation.

“We declare that we have the underlying rights and title to the territory,” Hammond said.

According to him, Algonquins from Ontario bought the land on the outskirts of Ottawa and carried out a housing project in pursuit of reconciliation using the city’s planning process.

“In our view, this is a direct land transaction between the developer and the city of Ottawa,” he said. This is a dirty and devious way to get the project approved, otherwise it will be rejected based on the city’s own standards. ”

For his part, Wendy Joko, chief of Piquacanagan First Nation, said the project would allow Algonquins to “find their rightful place in the economic structure of Canada’s capital.”

She said the indigenous people must be financially independent to achieve “true reconciliation”. This project shows that Algonquin people have the ability to build successful businesses and communities.To me Joko.

“Our Algonquin cousins ​​from Quebec were particularly vocal. They indicate that we have no right to make decisions in our own traditional territory,” she said in a statement.

Kirsten Anker, a professor of indigenous law at McGill University, explained that indigenous peoples suffer from colonial practices. Governments often negotiated with small, local indigenous groups rather than with tribal councils representing large numbers of people.

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“There is no doubt that this division and conquest is history here,” she said. Dividing communities and promoting political division in societies to promote development acceptance group remains the common practice. ”

In her opinion, city officials in the city of Ottawa need to be aware of this historical context when making decisions about indigenous peoples.

“Clicking on the Reconciliation box is very exciting to deal with a group that offers attractive development options. I mean it is voluntary blindness. ”

Haywood said the only beneficiaries of the project are builder Taggart, who has partnered with the city of Ottawa and Algonquins in Ontario. “It simply came to our notice then. This is not really a reconciliation project. ”

Mayor Watson plans to hear with Algonquin leaders from Quebec and Ontario about their problems in the coming weeks or months.