Cardinal Communications, Inc.

February 10, 2009 23:59 ET

Algonquins of Barriere Lake - No more interference

OTTAWA, Feb. 10 / The Algonquins of Barriere Lake community
members are gathered in Ottawa to support the new Customary Council as they
intervene in federal court applications T-462-08 and T-1514-06 filed by David
Nahwegahbow which purports to be on behalf of Algonquins of Barriere Lake.
"There is no need for a judicial review on the selection of the new Council.
We, the Elders and the People, selected our new Chief and Council on January
30, 2008. This was a decision made by the People not the Department of Indian
Affairs", said Elder Jules Papatie. That selection named Casey Ratt as Chief
and Ricky Decoursay, Donat Thusky, Roger Jerome and Wayne Papatie as
Councillors. Community members are here today to confirm their support for the
new Chief and Council.
"Let's be clear," said Chief Ratt. "The leadership issue was resolved
months ago by our Elders. There is no leadership crisis. All that we have is a
small group of protestors waging a communications and PR campaign against the
new Council." Community members insist that the campaign is backed by
individuals that have profited directly while the Barriere Lake First Nations
remained impoverished. "There are certain outside individuals / organizations
that are not happy with the decisions being made by our People because their
personal interests are no longer being served", says Elder Jules Papatie.
On June 18, 2008, the Mitchikinabikok Elders issued a Declaration that
denounced the efforts of ousted legal counsel David Nahwegahbow and former
policy advisor Russel Diabo. In their Declaration, the Elders state that with
the assistance of Nahwegahbow and Diabo, the former Council members composed
of Jean Maurice Matchewan, Benjiman Nottaway, David Wawatie and Jean Paul Ratt
have been issuing statements that do not reflect the true wishes of the
Barriere Lake First Nation. "This misinformation has been going on for far too
long; our People have been controlled for far too long by certain individuals
who have favoured themselves, not the community," says Elder Jules Papatie.
The Mitchikinabikok Elders have also become frustrated with outside
observers, politicians and various activists that continue to propagate
misinformation to create the false impression of a "leadership crisis" within
the community. "We are tired of people interfering in our local governance and
we are tired of them telling that us we did not follow our own customs," said
Elder Antoine Decoursay, the former Councillor that seat Casey Ratt as Chief
during the January 2008 selection. "The misinformation that we have had to
deal with it has been a challenge. However, we have been trying our best to
remain focused despite the distractions", says Chief Ratt.
"Change is now. We are putting an end to the regime of dictatorship, fear
tactics and hidden agendas", declares Chief Ratt. With a team of individuals
from the community, the Council will be working on developing and implementing
actions plans that will directly benefit the People. The Council is already
working hard to implement changes that will result in tangible progress to
empower and restore the dignity of their First Nation.

Contact Information

  • Christal Ratt, Cell: (819) 860-8129