SHABOT OBAAJIWAN PRESS RELEASE
February 29, 2008
Shabot Obaajiwan War Chief announces renewed resolve in the wake of Lovelace’s Sentencing
Earl Badour, condoned war chief of the Shabot Obaajiwan First Nation, announced his solidarity today with Robert Lovelace, former co-chief of Shabot’s sister community, the Ardoch Algonquin. Lovelace was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $27,000 for his role in the ongoing protest against the proposed uranium mine just north of Sharbot Lake. Five other leaders from both the Ardoch and Shabot Obaajiwan First Nations accepted a series of “undertakings” in the hopes that their sentencing would be more lenient. Badour, who has been fighting the uranium mine since the initial mine site occupation last June, will face sentencing on March 18th for the same civil contempt charges that put Lovelace behind bars.
Badour is outraged by the extreme sentence levied on Lovelace: “The judgement was very harsh for a man that took a principled position on Native rights, for a man who is simply trying to fulfill his obligation as a Native person under Algonquin law to protect mother earth and the life forms that inhabit the earth.”
“This fight is far from over,” says Badour, who remains committed to ensuring that Algonquin lands remain free of uranium mining. “We will fight the next phase of this battle at the political level,” says Badour, who will be spearheading the Shabot Obaajiwan campaign to further publicize both the government’s failure to fulfill its duty to consult and accommodate and the environmental impact of uranium mining at the top of the Ottawa Valley watershed. “This is first and foremost an environmental issue. Uranium mining is one of the most environmentally devastating forms of mining there is.”
For the Shabot Obaajiwan the prospecting, exploration, and drilling sequence of Frontenac Ventures Corporation on the Frontenac track represents a clear violation of their rights. The Shabot maintain that under section 35 of the constitution the government has a legally binding duty to consult and accommodate First Nations people before issuing land use permits on their lands. The Shabot Obaajiwan have consistently demonstrated their willingness to engage in discussion with the government. In fact, Shabot leaders agreed in October 2007 to end the blockade in order to engage in mediation with both the government and the exploration company. However, after a number of meetings, the government made clear that drilling would occur on the Frontenac Track regardless of First Nations concerns. This illustration of bad faith on the part of the government was a direct indication of its lack of respect for First Nations rights, values, and concerns.
As the Shabot Obaajiwan people have made clear, there is one thing that the government, private corporations, and Justice Cunningham don’t understand: When the future of our children is directly threatened, we have no choice but to fight back.
For more information on the Shabot Obaajiwan fight against the uranium mine please visit www.shabotisstillhere.com