Alberta Native News

Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
FAX: 403-629-3939

Mailing address:
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
FAX: 403-437-0719

February 2, 1992

Attached for your information is a copy of an article on the Government's new anti-Lubicon propaganda campaign.



by Dale Stelter

The Lubicon Lake Indians of northern Alberta are concerned that the Canadian Government has started yet another major propaganda campaign against them. The federal government recently sent a memorandum to over 50 Canadian embassies and offices around the world, containing what the cover sheet calls a letter "which can be used as a standard response to questions on the Lubicon situation."

The cover sheet also states that the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development "informs us that there could be some developments in the Lubicon situation over the next while. We will keep you informed accordingly."

The Lubicon take exception to the content to the content of the letter, and indicate that the letter shows that the Canadian government is worried about -- and seeking to deflect -- international criticism over its handling of the Lubicon situation.

The Lubicon are particularly upset over a sentence in the standard response letter which reads: "...the Lubicon Band has made various claims, including for an area nearly the size of the Netherlands and Belgium combined,..." This, however, would mean that the Lubicon are claiming an area that covers nearly 72,000 square kilometres, when in fact the Lubicon maintain that they hold unceded rights to 10,000 square kilometres of land.

In addition, the government letter states that "The United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) decision, on the case brought by the Lubicon, said that the government offer to the Lubicon was an appropriate remedy."

The letter does not refer to the finding of the U.N. Committee that, with respect to the Lubicon, the Canadian government has violated Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Lubicon point out that legal scholars have subsequently interpreted the wording of the Committee's decision as supporting a negotiated rather than litigated settlement, and not as supporting the Canadian government's offer to the Lubicon.

In December, reporters received copies of a letter which Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon faxed to Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak, plus a document entitled "STATUS OF LUBICON LAKE CLAIM". The Lubicon also take exception to much of the content of this document, which band adviser Fred Lennarson stated is "replete with deliberate and purposeful inaccuracies, distortions, misrepresentations, and outright lies."

Lennarson stated that the Canadian government's new offensive against the Lubicon has likely been prompted by the international controversy resulting from the boycott of Daishowa paper products, launched by the Lubicon.

Daishowa Canada's Forest Management Agreement area encompasses the entire Lubicon traditional territory, excluding a proposed reserve.

Last winter, a Daishowa subsidiary and a Daishowa subcontractor began clearcutting on unceded Lubicon land. And now, Daishowa has only said that it will not log on disputed lands this winter.

A number of companies in eastern Canada have agreed to stop using Daishowa products, and the boycott is gaining momentum in Alberta. In Edmonton, the Action Canada Network announced its support of the boycott, and has circulated leaflets to be given to merchants using Daishowa products.

A Calgary coalition is in the process of identifying and contacting businesses that use Daishowa products. Members of the coalition are Citizens Against Racism, the Plains Indian Cultural Survival School, the Calgary Labour Council, the Northern Light environmental organization, and the Calgary Rainforest Action Group.