Jukasa News Update – Monday February 24, 2020
Ontario Provincial Police moved Monday morning to clear a rail blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
The blockade near Belleville has crippled both freight and passenger rail traffic in most of eastern Canada for nearly three weeks.
Ontario Provincial Police and CN Rail gave protesters until midnight Sunday to clear the blockade or face an investigation and possible criminal charges.
Around 8:30 a.m. police arrested several men near the railway and took them away in a paddy wagon.
The OPP said its liaison team has tried to negotiate peacefully over the past few weeks, but decided to take action to uphold a court injunction to clear the railway.
The barricades are a response to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to a pipeline worksite on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia.
Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation oppose the work on their traditional territory, despite support from elected band councils along the pipeline route.
The Alberta government has struck deals with two northern Alberta First Nations over a proposed open-pit oilsands mine that’s awaiting Ottawa’s approval.
The Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations had previously reached deals with Teck Resources Ltd. for the Frontier mine, but were still negotiating with the province over environmental and cultural concerns.
Earlier this month, Alberta’s Indigenous relations minister expressed concern that a public spat over the negotiations with Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam, who also called for a share of tax revenue from resource projects, could give the federal government a reason to reject the project.
But on Sunday, the province announced agreements have been reached with both First Nations that address bison and caribou habitats and protect Wood Buffalo National Park.
Adam says in a news release he’s now confident the project is a net benefit to his community, while Mikisew Cree Chief Archie Waquan called work by Teck and Alberta to resolve their concerns “groundbreaking.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has until the end of the month to make its decision on whether to approve the project.
A historic agreement to save endangered southern mountain caribou in northeast British Columbia has been recognized as reconciliation in action, coming on the same day tensions peaked in Canada over Indigenous land rights and resource developments that have resulted in blockades and arrests.
Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Friday the agreement represents bold action to support the survival and recovery of an iconic caribou population, which is down to 230 animals.
The federal and B.C. governments along with the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations signed the long-awaited agreement to protect the endangered herd in the Dawson Creek area of B.C.
Wilkinson said the 30-year partnership agreement includes habitat recovery measures, maternal penning to protect young caribou from predators and a commitment to protect 700,000 hectares of critical habitat.
A former Saskatchewan Indigenous leader has been found guilty of pocketing nearly $280,000 of band money.
Napolean Mercredi, who was chief of the Fond Du Lac First Nation from 2009 to 2011, had been charged with fraud, theft over $5,000 and breach of trust.
He was convicted Friday by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Gary Meschisnick in Prince Albert, Sask.
“I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the crime of fraud,” Meschisnick said as he read his decision.
Prosecutor Darren Howarth said he was pleased with the result.
“The message that I hope gets out there is that, if you are a public official and you are using public funds or band funds, that you use the money responsibly and that you be accountable for it,” he said.
During the trial last October, court heard that almost $776,000 was misappropriated during Mercredi’s term.
Friday’s decision reflects money Mercredi personally used to make payments to his credit card and to purchase a new truck.
Meschisnick reserved his decision on whether the remaining money allegedly paid out to band members for social assistance constituted a breach of trust.
- Previous Jukasa News Update Friday, February 21, 2020
- Next Jukasa News Update – Wednesday, February 26, 2020