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Solidarity with the Algonquin Nation of the Ottawa River Watershed

Clearcut forest in La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve.

Clearcut forest in La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve.

At the Peoples Social Forum this summer, the Grandmothers of the Algonquin Nation of the Ottawa River Watershed (ANORW) made a passionate call for a ‘Kida Kinan’ (the land that is ours) campaign. Grandmother Shelley Chabot said, “Mother Earth is being destroyed. Her rivers and lakes are being polluted.”

The grandmothers called on people from all Four Directions to stand up and protect Mother Earth. They want to stop the clearcut logging operations that are happening in La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve, a large nature reserve situated about 180 kilometres north of Ottawa in Quebec.

The Anishinabek of the Algonquin Nation of the Ottawa River Watershed want Nashville-based Louisiana-Pacific Corporation to stop logging in the Lac Lucie area of the nature reserve. The company is the largest producer of OSB (oriented strand board) plywood panels. It has six mills in Canada, fifteen in the US, two in Chile and one in Brazil.

The logging is taking place on the ancestral hunting grounds of the Traditional Anishinabe people, close to their homes, and it directly affects their livelihood as hunters and gatherers. The people gather their food, their medicines, and their materials for their homes from this land.

Their territory is unceded and does not have a treaty.

Solidarity with ANORW says (in French), “Not only does this clearcutting harm the biodiversity of our forests, it is one more way to create an ecocide that prevents the Anishinabe from using the land for their ancestral way of life. It stops the number and diversity of the wildlife and flora, and it is another way to kill the culture and self-sufficiency of indigenous peoples. Cultural genocide is still going on and there is still a colonial government that opposes the Anishinabe who live on the territory of the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve.”

Each day the planet loses 20,000 hectares of forest, according to a study done by a team from the University of Maryland. Between 2000 and 2013, one million square kilometres of intact forest was degraded or lost. That’s the equivalent to two-thirds of Quebec. The largest share – 21.4 per cent – of that loss and degradation happened in Canada. A Solidarity with ANORW media release says Louisiana-Pacific clearcuts at a rate of 25 acres every two days on Algonquin Territory.

For more on this struggle, please see this Facebook page. A moving 2-minute video can be seen here.