The Dryden Observer

Your Source for Dryden News

Shoal Lake #39 First Nation blockades TransCanada Highway

By Jon Thompson


A group of 30 members of Iskatewizaagegan #39 First Nation (Shoal Lake 39) blockaded the TransCanada Highway west of Kenora for four hours on the afternoon of Oct. 19.

The spontaneous grassroots action was taken in solidarity with Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick where RCMP officers descended on an anti-fracking blockade two days prior and clashes with demonstrators ensued.

Protests, sacred fires and actions have since sprung up across Canada to demonstrate support for indigenous rights and consultation in Elsipotog.

“It was the use of such an excessive force of the police. I think it has triggered a lot of anger in the communities,” said Iskatewizaagegan member Jim Mandamin who participated in Saturday’s highway closure. “The governments are going to have to accommodate us sooner or later. We don’t’ want to keep coming out here and doing this. Somewhere down the line, they’re going to have to come together and start talking to us as a people. We own this land, we take care of this land and when we take care of the land and when we take care of the water, it’s to everybody’s benefit.”

Rachel Green is a band member, currently residing in Winnipeg. She was sad to see the reaction of passing motorists after a lane of the highway was opened three hours into the blockade.

“Every time you hear stories of land claims issues, issues with regard to the water and us trying to protect the land and all the natural resources for future generations, they don’t understand that,” she lamented. “We’re trying to create awareness with all of our signs. We have people giving us the middle finger and swearing at us. We’re out here for them as well.  It’s not just for our people. It’s for everybody.”

Shoal Lake 39 First Nation has been burning a sacred fire since the afternoon of Oct. 18 and it’s not the first time its community members have taken to direct action.

A similar blockade was held in Jan. 2013 and snowmobile trails were blockaded in Feb. 2012 as the First Nation has struggled with development in its traditional territory.

Although both senior levels of government have committed to funding highway twinning from the Manitoba border past the road accessing the community, talks with Ontario have been stalled since February. Mining exploration companies have also been turned away from operating in its traditional territory, due to unwillingness to pay a “permitting fee” to the First Nation.

Along with neighbouring Shoal Lake #40 First Nation, Iskatewizaagegan continues to apply pressure on Winnipeg over that city’s intention to increase its intake of water, which is piped in over 100 kilometres from an aquifer in Shoal Lake.

The International Joint Commission (IJC) has issued support for the First Nations’ claims that expanding territory served by Shoal Lake’s water to include the new Centreport Canada transport hub violates a 1917 agreement between Manitoba and Ontario.

In an Oct. 17 release, Iskatewizaagegan Chief, Eli Mandamin expressed shock that actions in Elsipogtog occurred in such close proximity to a nine-day Canadian visit from a United Nations delegation, looking into Indigenous social and economic conditions.

“Our nation finds it amazing that only two days after the visit from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to investigate conditions in Canada, that Canada’s federal police force will resort to such armed violence against our relatives.”

Mandamin was not present at Saturday’s blockade.

3 thoughts on “Shoal Lake #39 First Nation blockades TransCanada Highway

  1. “It was the use of such an excessive force of the police.” – Hardly. The police would not have been using excessive force if they had live ammunition. The protesters attacked a officers (other regular Canadians with friends and families) with deadly weapons (Molotov Cocktails, and a firearm). Any other Canadian without the race card to play would have had serious jail time… if they had survived, and rightfully so. The RCMP has been installed by the government of Canada (The second nation… you know all of those horrible settlers and colonialist… The ones that pay 85% of Elsipogtog’s welfare checks?) . They are put there to uphold the law… which apparently is supposed to be colour blind unless of course you are a member of the Canadian master race that is the First Nation. A people immune to the code of law that the rest of Canadians are bound by. A people you must treat delicacy at best of time and must always agree with or you are branded a racist or a bigot.

    “Mining exploration companies have also been turned away from operating in its traditional territory, due to unwillingness to pay a “permitting fee” to the First Nation.” – Code for Extortion. Funny how these bands always seem to be against all of these projects uniting Canada and creating jobs for their communities and other communities on the basis of the Canadian people, government and regulatory bodies are too ill-advised, shortsighted and mentally deficient to ensure environmental protection without the ancient wisdom of the Native people. These are projects that are generally all monitored by the Ministry of Natural resources, the Ministry of the environment, the ministry of fisheries and oceans, etc. They are against it until somebody fills up the outstretched hand of one of their leaders with the magical “Compensation”.

    Its Time that Canada and Canadians alike put their foot down. These actions are clearly terrorist activities and extortion by definition as laid out The Second Nation’s Criminal Code.

    Section 83.01 “terrorist activity” means (b) an act or omission, in or outside Canada,
    (i) that is committed
    (A) in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, and
    (B) in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act, whether the public or the person, government or organization is inside or outside Canada, and
    (ii) that intentionally
    (A) causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence,
    (B) endangers a person’s life,
    (C) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public,
    (D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C), or
    (E) causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private, other than as a result of advocacy, protest, dissent or stoppage of work that is not intended to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C),
    and includes a conspiracy, attempt or threat to commit any such act or omission, or being an accessory after the fact or counselling in relation to any such act or omission, but, for greater certainty, does not include an act or omission that is committed during an armed conflict and that, at the time and in the place of its commission, is in accordance with customary international law or conventional international law applicable to the conflict, or the activities undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties, to the extent that those activities are governed by other rules of international law.


    346. (1) Every one commits extortion who, without reasonable justification or excuse and with intent to obtain anything, by threats, accusations, menaces or violence induces or attempts to induce any person, whether or not he is the person threatened, accused or menaced or to whom violence is shown, to do anything or cause anything to be done.

    1. Well, I’d say Section E of your cut-and-pasted terrorism definition pretty much declares them ‘not terrorists’ — ‘other than as a result of advocacy, protest dissent ….etc.’
      I don’t get why you have to start throwing the word ‘terrorist’ around all willy nilly anyway, you’re escalating the rhetoric beyond a reasonable tone, I think and diminishing the exploits of actual terrorists. It’s like calling people ‘Nazis’. Words lose meaning when you use them improperly.
      You also make some remarkable leaps in logic, that I’d challenge if I didn’t think it was a total waste of breath.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.