IMPORTANT: If you would like to volunteer to take a shift as a fire keeper, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the numbers at the bottom of this message. More info on volunteering is also at the bottom of this message.
January 24, 2011
For Immediate Release
Amikwabe Passes Flame to Community to Continue Sacred Fire
(Ottawa) With the blessing of local Algonquin Chiefs, the Sacred Fire at the threatened Beaver Pond Forest continues. In a ceremony Sunday afternoon, Algonquin Medicine Man Ron “Big Bear” Goddard transferred firekeeping duties to members of the community, to take over from Algonquin Daniel Bernard “Amikwabe”. Bernard started the fire January 19th and maintained it day and night, in response to a declaration by Algonquin Elder William Commanda that the forest is sacred.
Christopher Busby was named as the new Firekeeper. He and other community members will share the duties of maintaining the Sacred Fire, and welcome those who wish to gather at the fire to offer prayers for the trees and wildlife of the Beaver Pond Forest and all of the South March Highlands.
“We all sit at the Medicine Wheel and are all children of the same mother,” explains Chief Mireille Lapointe of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. “We all are responsible for our home and helping each other live a good life. This is part of the Original Instructions. The sacred fire brings us together and encourages discussions and synergies that otherwise wouldn’t happen. I’m deeply grateful to Daniel for his sacrifice and his example to us.”
The forests near the Beaver Pond have become a rallying point for nearby residents and supporters from across Ottawa and beyond, who have campaigned steadily for the past year to protect the forests and wetlands threatened by urban expansion. Trees have already been clear-cut for the Terry Fox Drive Extension and on Richardson Ridge, and KNL Developments recently received City approval to begin clear-cutting for a subdivision of more than 3000 homes on the lands north of the Beaver Pond.
Paul Renaud, who is at the forefront of the campaign to protect the South March Highlands and his himself Metis, notes that “the continuation of the Sacred Fire by the local community expresses the unity of purpose of all communities in protecting the forest. The Sacred Fire symbolizes the Great Circle of Life of which we are all a part.”
“Daniel Amikwabe Bernard and Chief Mireille Lapointe have entrusted me with making sure the flames continue as a prayer to the Creator to protect this irreplaceable forest in urban Ottawa,” says Christopher Busby. “I and many others will attend this fire round the clock until we are told the fire can be put out. This fire has rallied the Native and non-native communities in an unprecedented way. There is great power in these flames.”
Goddard, who is with the InterTribal Medicine Council, is training the fire keepers and will be overseeing the fire.
For more information:
Christopher Busby — 613-897-6183
Paul Renaud — 613-277-5898
Steve Hulaj — 613 878-1135
Exit Highway 417 at Terry Fox Drive and go North past the shopping centers. Turn Right and take Kanata Avenue up the hill. Proceed past Goulbourn Forced Road on the left and high school on right, to Walden. Turn Left on Walden and proceed to the very end.
Check-in with the fire keeper so he/she can lead you over to the fire, and enter by the East gate (it will be marked with a log). You may wish to pray or meditate at the Eastern gate. If you see someone paused there, be patient, they are probably preparing to make an offering to the fire (tobacco, sage, cedar, or sweetgrasss). To avoid confusion, if you are NOT preparing to enter by the East gate, don’t stand there! Migwetch.
INFO FOR POTENTIAL VOLUNTEERS:
This is a Sacred Fire, entrusted to the Ottawa community by Daniel Bernard (Amikwabe). So watch his instructions below to see if you’d like to do this. In brief, the Fire is like an altar, even what we say in the circle around the fire ought to be a prayer for the Forest and her trees and wildlife. No booze or other drugs, profanity, or anything else that would desecrate this sacred place. Contact: email@example.com