I address the following to the People of the Algonquin Anishinabeg:
Are you, as a status member of the Algonquin Nation, aware that the Algonquin Land Claim is being partially settled (Ontario) without your input being requested nor wanted? An ‘Agreement in Principle’ has already been signed between the Crown (Canada) and an ‘organization’ calling themselves the ‘Algonquins of Ontario’ (AOO). Excuse my language but all of this is pretty weird shit, given the fact that there is no such thing as the Algonquins of Ontario. There is only the Algonquin Nation, period. As such, it is members of the Algonquin Nation (all of us) who should be the beneficiaries of any compensation forthcoming when our land claim is finally settled.
The AOO say they reached out to all Algonquin Bands years ago but according to them, our leadership responded “we aren’t ready for it”. The AOO then proceeded without our Chiefs, as if no other option existed in their negotiations with the Crown. Out of respect for the Nation as a whole, no negotiations on the land claim should have ever occurred until All Algonquin Bands were ‘ready’ to commence with negotiations in the land claim process. The Agreement In Principle worked out by the AOO calls on the Crown to pay $300million (chump change) to the AOO for our Algonquin lands on the Ontario side of the river. You, the Status Algonquins of Kitigan Zibi, Barriere Lake, Kitcisakik, Lac Simon, Abitibiwinni, Long Point, Timiskaming, Kebaowek, and Wolf Lake never had a say in this agreement. It’s like you owning a house and having a bunch of pirates suddenly come in and sell the main floor of your home and then expecting you to be happy with it. It’s like an inheritance has been left to you by your grandparents and then have unscrupulous fraudsters charging in, pushing you aside, to stake claim on what is rightfully yours. I say fraudsters to describe these people because even the ‘Indian Act’ states that any land claim settlements being negotiated must be done between a First Nation and the Crown. Nowhere does it say in the Act that negotiations can take place between the Crown and an ‘organization’ to settle a land claim. Especially with an organization like the AOO who have among their members people with point one of one percent Indigenous blood in their veins. You’ve got to wonder, at what time are these people going to ID as Métis? (Check my past blogs to read opinions I have expressed on this topic.) Always keep in mind that our ancestors never gave away nor sold Algonquin lands to an organization (AOO). Algonquin land is Algonquin land is Algonquin land! These lands are our inheritance! Take a look at yourself in the nearest mirror. Ask yourself, “Am I or am I not a member of a Nation? The Algonquin Nation!” If you answer to the affirmative, then by George, do something about it! It’s time for the youth of our grassroots communities to rise up and take the lead!
The AOO evicted 2,500 of their members a few years ago. Why? Apparently it was discovered that the 2,500 people thrown out of the AOO were not REAL Algonquins. The question we want answered is, how did the 2,500 people identifying as Algonquins get on the AOO membership list in the first place? How many more fraudsters are still on their membership rolls?
The Algonquin Land Claim cannot be settled in bits and pieces. Ancestral lands cannot be bargained away by any one organization. The Crown cannot negotiate the Algonquin Land Claim with people who are NOT recognized as Algonquins under the definition put forward in the Indian Act. There are billions of dollars at stake, not millions. Money Algonquins receive in a land claim settlement will build our economies. (The entire land claim must be settled in one package.) We will finally have better schools, healthcare, homes etc. etc. If we allow the AOO to settle our land claim, we get NOTHING!
We, as REAL Algonquins, need to do whatever is necessary to stop the Agreement In Principle the AOO and the Feds have put together. If we fail, then we fail not only ourselves but also our future generations. Algonquins not yet born will shake their heads in dismay. “How could our People be so stupid?” they will say. My descendants will be well aware that Mishòmis Oshki Nodin (Albert Dumont) tried to do what was right on the subject of the Algonquin Land Claim. I hope and pray that ‘your’ future generations will be able to declare the same about you.
Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind (Albert Dumont)