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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
Home > Press centre > Press releases > 2011 > July 28, 2011

Minister Geoffrey Kelley visits four Algonquin communities

Québec, July 28, 2011 – On Wednesday and Thursday, the Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, visited the Algonquin communities of Timiskaming, Wolf Lake First Nation, Eagle Village First Nation, and Long Point. Member of the National Assembly (MNA) for Rouyn-Noranda and Parliamentary Assistant for Native Affairs, Daniel Bernard accompanied Mr. Kelley on the mini-tour.

“The two days were very instructive,” said Minister Kelley. “We discovered a strong will among these four communities to advance toward greater prosperity, as much through the various approaches they are taking as through the projects accomplished in recent years. The Algonquins take a novel approach to developing their living environment. They can certainly be proud of their progress. The Government of Quebec intends to continue encouraging them in this regard.”

Timiskaming

Wednesday morning, the Minister and MNA travelled to Timiskaming to meet Chief Arden McBride and Timiskaming First Nations members, and to visit the community.

“We are very pleased with the visit from the Minister and Mr. Bernard,” said Chief Arden McBride. “Our meetings were much appreciated. An energetic wind is blowing through our community, and we will be hiring experts to help define the economic development orientations we wish to pursue.”

Last May, the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones provided a grant of $135 000 to this community from the Aboriginal Initiatives Fund to hire an economic development officer and a consultant.

Wolf Lake First Nation

In the afternoon, upon invitation of the Wolf Lake Algonquin First Nation (community of Hunter’s Point), Messrs. Kelley and Bernard participated in the inauguration of Camp La Lucarne, where they spent the night. The Minister presented Chief Harry St-Denis with a cheque for $98 750, representing the first instalment of a grant totalling about $200 000 for the band council’s acquisition and renovation of the camp, located on the shore of Lake Kipawa. Mr. Kelley also announced funding of $87 500 to support the strategic development of tourism in Rapides-des-Joachims. The band council will then be able to purchase and develop Air Swisha–Rapides-des-Joachims, a canoe, kayak, and mountain bike rental service.

The next morning, the small delegation left the outfitters and travelled toward Timiskaming to visit the Wolf Lake First Nation community. Among other stops, it took time to tour the band council office and the Algonquin Canoe Company Store.

We are proud to demonstrate the strength of our community,” said Chief Harry St-Denis. “We were also able to discuss issues of concern to us with the government representatives. It is important that we keep in touch to maintain a constructive dialogue.

Eagle Village First Nation

Minister Kelley and MNA Bernard continued on their tour, visiting Eagle Village First Nation (the community of Kebaowek), where a meeting was planned with the Eagle Village-Kipawa First Nation council and its newly elected chief, Madeleine Paul.

It is a pleasure for me to meet the Minister responsible for Native Affairs and the Member for Rouyn-Noranda, and to introduce my team to them,” said Chief Madeleine Paul. “It is the start to what I hope will be an open and frank relationship. I am convinced we will get along well and create useful partnerships for the well-being of the Eagle Village First Nation.

Long Point First Nation

The mini-tour of Algonquin communities ended with a visit to Winneway. The visitors received a warm welcome from Chief Leonard Polson and members of the elected council. The Chief, Council and Quebec delegation then toured some key points of interest in the community.

The Anishinabe of Long Point are facing major challenges, such as an inadequate land base, lack of housing, minimal economic development and unsuitable educational facilities,” said Chief Polson. “I have been Chief of this community for only a short time, but I am aware that a shared interest between Quebec and Long Point in meeting our difficulties creates an opportunity for the sustainability of Anishnabe Aki. Discussing our aspirations and needs with Minister Kelley and MNA Bernard provided them with an opportunity to better understand and appreciate the realities of Long Point and Quebec.

Algonguin communities are at an important phase of their development, and this foray into Algonquin territory is very educational. The Abitibi-Témiscamingue region is increasingly enriched by the contributions of the various aboriginal communities that live there. Thanks to government financial assistance, the communities may now call on new expertise to structure their economic and social development,” said MNA Bernard.

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Le ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones, Geoffrey Kelley, en compagnie du chef de l’Assemblée des premières nations du Québec et du Labrador, Ghislain Picard, du chef du Conseil de bande de Timiskaming, Arden McBride, et du député de Rouyn-Noranda et adjoint parlementaire aux affaires autochtones, Daniel Bernard, à Timiskaming.

Le député de Rouyn-Noranda et adjoint parlementaire aux affaires autochtones, Daniel Bernard, et le chef du conseil de la première nation de Wolf Lake, Harry St-Denis, à Hunter’s Point.

Le ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones, Geoffrey Kelley, et la chef du conseil de la première nation d’Eagle Village-Kipawa, Madeleine Paul, à Kebaowek.

Le ministre responsable des Affaires autochtones, Geoffrey Kelley, et le chef du conseil de la première nation de Longue-Pointe, Leonard Polson, discutant de développement communautaire, à Winneway.

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