Members of Kokumville in La Verendrye Park have blockade a logging road. The barricade won’t hinder motorists going through La Verendrye but anyone planning to use the logging road are going to be stopped, said Kokumville leader Jacob Wattie. The Kokumville Natives say they won’t be armed and will allow tourists passing through to proceed.

In a surprising move, Domtar truckers erected their own barricade between the Kokumville barricade and the highway. The truckers say they aren’t doing this as Domtar employees and aren’t allowing anybody through, including tourists.

As the decision was being made adults participated in a sweat lodge ceremony so they could clearly see the path that lies ahead. The deliberations were aided by an impressive file they compiled on Quebec’s forestry laws, Indian rights and the United Nations Convention on Genocide. The Kokum Natives believe they have to act because “we’re heading toward extinction.”

Wawatie said the generations required for the trees to come back will spell genocide for his people and the end of his community.

The Kokumville Natives are meeting with Domtar. Domtar has said they will not involve the police as long as there are talks.

Jacob Wawatie, however, has involved the Surete du Quebec, charging that Domtar is cutting trees without the permission of the land owner on unceded land.

Wawatie also says that Domtar is stealing trees and cited the Delgamuuk and Nisga Supreme Court decisions, which say that trees on Crown lands belong to the Native Peoples of Canada.

Domtar said that Wawatie and his communty were dissidents and radicals because the Barrie Band had already made a deal with Domtar and the Quebec government.

Domtar has asked the police to assist with the recovery of forestry equipment behind the lines. Wawatie countered with a request that a local family be allowed to leave if they allow Domtar to pick up their machinery. Domtar is talking to the loggers blockading Kokumville to see if an arrangement is possible.

Wawatie says he is not opposed to forestry but it must be done in harmony with his people’s way of life.

Further confusing the issue is that there is an agreement signed between the Barrier Lake Algonquins and the Quebec Government over logging in the area. The agreement was renewed in 1988 even though four years previously the Wawatie family had withdrawn its support for the Domtar proposal.

A Maniwaki Elder has agreed to present the case for Kokumville to the United Nations while he is there on other business.