Posted by Denise Deby.
Three Four upcoming events are focused on protecting the area around Chaudière Falls in the Ottawa River.
They’re prompted by concerns about development proposals for the area, which is considered sacred by many Indigenous peoples.
On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, a panel discussion will take a critical look at the “Zibi” development project. “Reconcilation Needs Justice – Stop Windmill’s ‘Zibi’ Condos on Sacred Algonquin Land” will be at 7 p.m. at the Ottawa Public Library’s Main Branch (120 Metcalfe St.) Speakers are Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont, former Ottawa city councilor Clive Doucet, and Stop Windmill group co-founder Cathy Remus.
On Monday, June 13, 2016, Albert Dumont will talk about the protection and restoration of the Sacred Site at Chaudière Falls and the Islands, through the lens of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s at 7 p.m. at First United Church (347 Richmond Rd.).
On Friday, June 17, 2016, a Sacred Walk with Anishnabe / Algonquins Elders will travel from Victoria Island to Parliament Hill. Everyone is welcome to participate and show support. Details and RSVP at http://www.itissacred.ca/#in-solidarity-with-algonquin-grandmothers-save-ottawas-sacred-site-from-development and https://www.facebook.com/groups/1718291061762475/.
From the website:
Did you know that Canada has its very own ancient and crucial sacred site of waterfalls and islands right behind Parliament Hill? Akikodjiwan is the Algonquin name of our Sacred Site – the Chaudière Falls & islands; the area is also known as Asinabka.
As the Traditional Elders who represent customary and traditional leadership in the Algonquin Nation we request your support. Grandmothers and Elders are the knowledge and wisdom-keepers and it is our responsibility to protect the traditions of our sacred site since time immemorial.
June 17th, 2016 is one of those moments in history where we must all act together. We reach out to you and to all levels of government (Canadian and Indigenous) as the traditional spiritual voice committed to holding the sacred – sacred – a place for our great-grand-children and yours.
We ask for your support, your attendance, your prayers, your banners, flags and your act of listening and witnessing. Please: on June 17th join us in large numbers for a ceremony and walk.”
Also on the website:
There are many alternatives for the site that could be developed by engaging Algonquins in the actual visioning and planning process. The federal government has a responsibility to make this happen.
As it turns out, moreover, there has been a long-standing plan on the books that is consistent with the Gréber Plan for the capital: Algonquin Elder William Commanda’s vision for the falls. Commanda’s Asinabka vision calls for a city park, historic interpretive centre, a “peace building meeting site”, and an aboriginal centre. The federal government even commissioned famous Aboriginal architect Douglas Cardinal, who designed the Museum of History in Hull-Gatineau, to produce a plan consistent with this vision for the islands. The City of Ottawa website also hosts a report on this alternate vision.”
For more on the issue, see:
Maurice Switzer’s op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen. http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/switzer-zibi-project-will-show-whether-indigenous-people-have-a-real-say-in-development
Douglas Cardinal’s interview in Canadian Geographic: http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/blog/posting.asp?ID=1955
A backgrounder and overview: http://www.stopwindmill.ca/qa.html#10
Update: Letter from Suzanne Keeptwo calling for a Talking Circle to reach consensus on a way forward for the site among all stakeholders: https://freethefalls.ca/news/letter-to-justice-murray-sinclair-pleads-for-moratorium-and-talking-circle/