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Vol. 7 Issue 1

The Algonquin’s forests of northern Quebec have been under siege since colonization.

Quebec has been clear cutting vast tracts of land for agriculture for years and became one of the major exporters of pulp to the US and the international communities. Now Quebec has one of the worst records in the country for managing its forests. Today, lands are so barren that they have to go further and further north to keep up the demand for timber and the Algonquins have had enough. Algonquin Nation halts logging

The Algonquin communities Lac Simon and Winneway agreed and erected a barricade halting the production of the third largest manufacturer of non-coated papers in North America (DOMTAR Inc). The barricade has been up since August 30th and Domtar is planning to temporarily shut down two mills October 4th, putting 350 people out of work. Now mill workers and Domtar of? cials are waiting on the outcome of discussions between the Algonquin nation and the provincial government.
Simon Reece
Simon Reece Tsilhqot’in roadblocks are currently preventing nonnative hunters from taking moose from their territory in the Nemiah Valley. The Tsilhqot’in government has taken these precautions to stop recreational ATV drivers & non-natives from scaring off their food supply southwest of Williams Lake.

White hunters are outraged by the actions taken by the Tsilhqot’in people. Ranch owner Duncan Baynes said, “These people are taking the laws into their own hands... natives should not be doing this... I don’t think it’s a way to win friends and in? uence people.” The local MLA, Walt Cobb states he has been listening to the non-native hunters complaints and says, “Roadblocks are illegal to start with...The people have a right to hunt out there”. The RCMP have no plans to intervene and say that the areas where the roadblocks are set up are all tied up in land claims disputes and that’s before the courts.

Meanwhile theTsilhqot’in people have backed up the ?rm stance they have taken and said that, “If they want to continue through that’s ? ne, as long as they Tsilhqot’in block hunters turn over all their moose tags”. The Tsilhqot’in have said they are planning to set up a third roadblock.
Simon Reece
The ? rst ever televised ? rst minister’s meetings were held in September with Paul Martin’s federal Liberal party announcing a blueprint for healthcare, with an overall $14 billion over six years injected into the healthcare system with $700 million earmarked for Aboriginal health care.

The meetings began with aboriginal leaders at the table, a prayer and a smudge, but many leaders are wondering if the announcement will be more than a token of good will from this minority government. Analysts were careful to point out, however, that the overall $14 billion is only 2% more than current healthcare costs and the one time infusion of $4 billion will expire in 2006 meaning that any staff hired with this new money will be on contract and any new staff recruited will be lost. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs are calling the $700 million, “A drop in the bucket.” Ministers and Aboriginal leaders alike spoke to the abysmal state of Aboriginal health, aboriginal peoples currently have higher infant mortality rates, lower life expectancy and diseases like diabetes and HIV/ AIDS are making inroads into aboriginal communities on and off reserve.

Several health indicators have actually worsened for aboriginal people in the areas of substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and children in care. In commenting on the recent announcement, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs president Chief Stewart Phillip said, “The abysmal state of the health conditions within our communities have been welldocumented ... many First Nations are isolated communities suffering nearepidemic levels of chronic illnesses like diabetes and escalating instances of tragic suicides. Yet the Government of Canada has found it necessary to shut down local First Nations Health Of? ces and ask those in need to call a 1-800 number in Vancouver.”

The $700 million promised for aboriginal health care was welcomed as a start by the Assembly of First Nations, with the AFN calling for another ? rst ministers meeting on aboriginal issues. Other aboriginal leaders in attendance called on the federal government to consistently invite aboriginal peoples to the table. The $700 million offered by the Liberals will address three initiatives: $200 million will go towards jurisdictional issues and streamlining of the current health system to better serve remote aboriginal communities and on and off reserve aboriginal peoples. A further $100 million is set aside to recruit and train aboriginal people for careers in the health ? eld and $400 million over 5 years is earmarked for education and prevention initiatives.

National AFN chief Phil Fontaine in his closing statements thanked Gordon Campbell, premier of BC for calling a meeting with aboriginal leaders on health care. Many BC First Nations though are feeling the impacts of the BC Liberals, cuts to health services, the closing of rural hospitals and changes to disability and welfare, which are adversely affecting many BC Aboriginals.

Many First Nations, Inuit and Metis will not be holding their breath to see the pay out in terms of health care; the health determinants suggest that much more has to be done in housing, education and governance in order for Aboriginal peoples to have the same chances and opportunities as other Canadian citizens. Martin Promises millions
Tania Willard
HIV infections are seven times higher than the general population among pregnant native women in BC. This is according to a three year study done by Health Canada. The report has prompted health authorities to urge native women to take action to protect themselves and their babies from the virus.
However, the number of individuals infected is low – 15 of the 5,242 native women tested were HIV positive. In comparison to the general population it works out to two women per 5,000 people.

But many observers worry the virus can spread into an epidemic in the native community. Dr. David Martin who lead this investigation said, “The numbers of people infected are reassuring in terms of it not being out of control yet”. But, it could be if people do not take the necessary precautions. The First Nations Chiefs Health Committee that collaborated on this study are demanding increased funding from Ottawa to stop the spread of this disease. Aboriginal Women at risk for HIV/AIDS
Simon Reece

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