ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON: Aboriginal land rights, undoing racism and birdfeeders

1 December 2008
ALGONQUIN TERRITORY, ON: Aboriginal land rights, undoing racism and birdfeeders

by Lisa Smith

From 15-23 November 2008, a CPT delegation convened in the Algonquin territory north of Kingston, Ontario.  There, the Algonquin First Nations groups and settlers of European origin are continuing the struggle to protect their territory from uranium mining.  The land that they are fighting for is unceded, and therefore falls under the protection of Royal Proclamation of 1763, which is a basis for current Canadian law.  Furthermore, the Canadian government has a legal obligation to consult First Nations groups before allowing mining exploration.  It has honoured neither of these laws.

Frontenac Ventures has apparently halted its exploration due to the current low price of uranium.  This lull in the struggle has given some recovery time from the stress of the mine blockade, which sapped physical, emotional, and financial strength from both settler and First Nations communities.

The respite has also given the communities and their CPT supporters time to consider alternative energy sources to replace nuclear power, which drives the market for uranium.  Furthermore, it allowed the CPT delegation to focus on un-doing racism work, and a make a broader study of similar struggles with which other Canadian First Nations groups are currently dealing.

The delegation culminated in a prayer circle at the entrance to the Robertsville mine site.  CPT delegates spread bird feed, and hung bird feeders made of pinecones.

Delegates included Paul and Kathleen Helbling from Liberty Center, Ohio; Wanda Joseph from Brethren, Michigan; Jonathon Dennis from Las Vegas, Nevada; Lisa Smith from Vancouver, BC; Diane Baltaz from Paris, Ontario; Bobbie Webster from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; Todd Stemach from Kingston, Ontario; Elizabeth Redekopp and Matthew Wiens from Beausejour, Manitoba.

Photos taken during the delegation are available at