Honour Your Word
Since 1991, the Algonquin of Barriere Lake (about four hours North of Ottawa) have been fighting a vital battle for their land and their rights, as outlined in Martha Steigman’s slightly overlong, but powerful look at governmental abuse of authority and trust.
Forced already into living on a 59 acre reserve and already reeling from dam construction that widened the river they depended on for fishing, the First Nations community has an even bigger problem that has pushed tensions to the breaking point. A treaty between the people and the federal and Quebecois governments regarding logging rights has been willfully ignored, with the government and the province throwing sustainability guidelines out the window and reneging on a splitting of the hundred million dollar a year local industry.
While Steigman never quite figures out how to incorporate more personal stories into her documentary, she presents the facts of the matter perfectly; that these people have been getting a raw deal for almost a quarter of a century now. The line between where the issue is economic and where it’s environmental is clearly noted, and it’s easy to see how the Algonquin have amassed support from unions, environmentalists, and even the United Nations, while the country they live in refuses to acknowledge their concerns.
It’s a great look at where sustainability and sovereignty become hopelessly and dangerously intertwined (Andrew Parker)
Friday, November 7th, 3:00pm, Nat Taylor Theatre (York University).