Ottawa River bridge planned on Algonquin land

I’m not familiar with much of the history or logistics surrounding land claims in Canada. I do know that most of Canada is technically unceded, essentially meaning that when colonials came to Canada, they kind of just started developing and taking ownership of land. It’s like me coming to your house and moving in with you and eventually pushing you out to the garage (if you are lucky) without permission or even giving you any say.

Ottawa’s National Capital Commission (the NCC) has been working on developing another bridge across the Ottawa River. And while there is not a lot of difference between this new bridge and any other bridge built anywhere else, the land that the NCC wants to use is part of a government-recognized Algonquin land claim. And the Algonquin people were not brought to the development table.

Here’s part of the Ottawa Citizen article published today.

Algonquins seek full hearing as NCC plans Ottawa bridge
Natives lay claim to land along routes eyed for river crossing

Patrick Dare, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The National Capital Commission has been planning to build a bridge across the Ottawa River without having any meaningful discussions with the Algonquins, who claim much of the land involved as their own, says an Algonquin chief.

“They need to bring us to the table,” said Gilbert Whiteduck, chief of the Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg First Nation at Maniwaki. “We refuse to be excluded.”

Chief Whiteduck says the NCC has spent four years and nearly $5 million on a study of new bridge possibilities on land along the Ottawa River that is claimed by the Algonquin people, including Kettle Island, the route being proposed strongly by the NCC’s consultants.

Chris Printup, a band member and researcher, said the Algonquin claim to land has long been recognized.

Mr. Printup said the federal government once collected rents for the islands on behalf of the Algonquin. He said the NCC sent information packages on the proposed bridge, but that wasn’t enough to live up to the government’s constitutional obligation to consult with native people in such circumstances.

Read the rest of the article here.


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