Forestry giant Daishowa-Marubeni International had said in spring that they publicly committed not to log or purchase timber in land around the Lubicon’s territory until Lubicon land rights were settled.

Ontario based paper producer Daishowa Inc. released rights they had in the area. According to Daishowa, they lost about $20 million in sales due to a seven-year international boycott of their paper products because they were logging in land the Lubicon Cree claimed as theirs.

Alberta entered into negotiations with the Lubicon Crees on July 29th, 1999. On August 3rd Mike Cardinal, associate minister of forestry for Alberta issued a request for proposals for timber on the contested land.

In a letter to Alberta Premier Ralph Klein dated August 25th, Lubicon Cree chief Bernard Ominayak condemned the provincial government for its action. He said the plans to sell the timber rights to other First Nations in the area “using supposed economic benefits as bait to play poor aboriginal people off against each other and steal aboriginal lands and resources is a classic colonial divide and conquer tactic.” Ominayak said this would be recognized and condemned by people the world over.

Peace River Member of the Legislature of Alberta Gary Friedel said that while negotiations continue he didn’t feel it was appropriate to “sterilize the whole area.”

Meanwhile Friends of Lubicon is advising its network of supporters of the recent developments.

The Lubicon Cree have been trying to negotiate land rights since the 1930’s.