Highway 117 Blockade - Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) denounces the abusive use of the rights of Aboriginal Peoples

    WENDAKE, QC, March 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of First Nations of
Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) vigorously denounces the Blockade of Highway 117
by a group that has no official recognition. "The rights of Aboriginal peoples
are a very serious matter and they should not be used lightly or by the whim
of any new group. Aboriginal rights are held by the Aboriginal Nations, who
are duly represented by the councils elected by their respective populations.
To my knowledge, none of the groups involved in the Blockade of Highway 117
speaks for any Aboriginal Nation" stated Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL.
    Chief Picard also made it clear that the AFNQL has no links to the
Confederation of Aboriginal Peoples and that First Nations Chiefs represent
all their members, whether they reside in their community or elsewhere.
    The AFNQL wishes furthermore to advise the governments of both Canada and
Quebec that too many of the demands of the First Nations have gone unanswered,
particularly those that are related to lands and resources. "It is totally
unacceptable for us that the Secretariat for Aboriginal Affairs should attach
any importance to this group or its claims. All relationships between Quebec
and Aboriginal Nations must pass through legitimate channels" stated
Ghislain Picard, adding that "frustrations experienced by our populations have
previously provoked and may again provoke further forms of excessive reaction
that are neither necessary nor desired." The AFNQL wishes to remind the
governments that the First Nations cannot be indefinitely ignored.

    The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional
organization that represents the Chiefs of First Nations of Quebec and

For further information:

For further information: Alain Garon, Communication and Information
Officer, Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, (418) 842-5020,
Cellular: (418) 956-5720

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