Algonquin band wants in on Ont. land-claims talks
An Algonquin band based 100 km north of Gatineau raised concerns on Wednesday about their exclusion from a land-claim process that they say is compromising their ancestral rites.
The Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Algonquins, situated outside Maniwaki, Que., are demanding they be consulted in relation to a tract of land they are laying claim to at Golden Lake, Ont., just west of Renfrew.
The Indian community at Golden Lake, known as Pikwàkanagàn, has been engaging in its own process of negotiations with the federal government for claim over the land.
But Gilbert Whiteduck, the chief of the Kitigan Zibi, said he was frustrated by the government's refusal to include his band in the talks.
"The government of Canada has seriously failed to consult us in regards to our title and rights in the issues arising from the negotiations of the Algonquins of Ontario claim," he said.
"We are therefore vigorously protesting our exclusion from discussion addressing Aboriginal title and rights within our ancestral territories."
Whiteduck said the Pikwàkanagàn and the Kitigan Zibi Algonquins are actually descended from the same tribe, and share claim to the ancestral lands.
But he said he worries that once a claim is signed, the Kitigan Zibi will find itself without rights to any of the land.
Unless the Kitigan Zibi are invited to discussions, Whiteduck said, their protests may come in the form of legal action.
"We will take whatever action. If it means we'll have to go before the courts, we will," he said. "We're hoping we won't have to do that, and that the Crown and the government of Canada will fulfil its obligations."