NEWS

Group protests against La Verendrye tree cutting

08/24/2012 07:00 EDT | Updated 10/24/2012 05:12 EDT
A group of Algonquin First Nations people is protesting against logging at La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve and threatening to cut down trees on Montreal's Mount Royal.

People from as far away as Guatemala, Sept-Îles and Georgia were in town to support the protesters.

The reserve is located about 400 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

Protesters claim that logging is affecting their way of life.

Louis Wawatie, an Algonquin leader, said she's moved by the support.

"We're not trying to create a war, but we want people to make the proper changes," she said.

In order to draw attention to her community's struggles, Wawatie and others threatened to cut down trees on Mount Royal.

A man at the protest said "everyone objects when we cut trees on Mount Royal but not one stands up to protest when they cut the trees on our land."

Charles Ratt, who lives on the reserve in a home he built himself without running water or electricity, said he enjoys his lifestyle.

"We don't complain about that," he said. "It's a choice we made to stay connected to the land."

Ratt hunts and gathers his own food to live. He said logging is making it harder to survive since animals are fleeing the area.

He also said that the trucks are clearing plants that elders use to create medicine.

In the end, protesters cut through dead tree trunks taken from their own land.

Quebec's ministry of environment and sustainable development granted Resolute Forest Products permission to cut trees in the area.

No one from the government was able to comment on the situation.

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