“Honour Your Word”

honour your word posterThoughts from Albert “South Wind” Dumont, who attended our Earth Day screening of Honour Your Word, the new documentary about the Algonquins of Barriere Lake:


The documentary “Honour Your Word” to me, is a call for Canada’s citizens to go on the march in defence of the sacredness Canadians claim to place on the threads which connect the hearts and souls of all the good people who populate this great land. Watch the film and if, after doing so, you are not motivated to help make things right in La Verendrye Park where justice has been drawn, quartered and burned at the stake, then you are as spiritless as the perpetrators of the human rights violations taking place there today. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are standing alone against tyranny and oppression. They are a brave resourceful people living in Third World poverty whose plight is documented in a film produced and directed by Martha Stiegman.

Where is the mirror that would show Canadians what really is looking back at them when they peer into it? It does exist, but most of us (Canadians) will have to wait until death carries them to a new world to see it. The ugliness of their ways will be revealed and an accounting of some kind will surely come to pass at that time.

We, the First Peoples, live in a world where only the human rights violations directly impacting settlers or injustices being perpetrated against people in far off countries like China or the Middle East are worthy of Canadians’ support and sympathy. When human rights violations are occurring against the Aboriginal People of this land, Canadians turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. Canadians need to ask themselves why this is so. To me, the answer begins and ends with ‘greed’.

“Honour”, the real definition of that word does not exist in our Parliaments only because Canadians do not demand it as a trait alive and strong, in the men and women we send to the Red Chamber to represent us before the world and before God. We must ask ourselves how our children and their children will be impacted by our negligence of duty to them when we do such a thing. Surely we doom them (our children) to a world where dog eats dog, where the weak are spat upon and where peaceful protest is laughed at and ignored.

The film is interesting throughout but several powerful scenes stand out to me as highlights. One scene is particularly moving, it shows a young Barriere Lake Algonquin man standing before the camera telling about what is being lost of his beloved land when clear-cutting occurs. His words are strong and heartfelt, he is overcome with emotion and though weeping almost uncontrollably, he finishes his statement. I wept with him while sitting in the darkness of the theatre and cannot banish the scene from my mind. It will be my inspiration and motivation to get involved and help with this cause in whatever way the Algonquins ask of me.

One thing the film makes clear to me at least, is that the peaceful protest of the Algonquins up to this point, is nothing more than an exercise in pointless frustration. They protest peacefully to protect the trees and their way of life. Their leaders are thrown in jail when they do so. “Next time you will not be jailed for short periods of time but for years,” they are warned by the courts. Knowledge of such injustices and oppression makes my heart sick.

What is happening in La Verendrye Park is proof positive of just how racist a country Canada is. Only a people who are capable of raw, unadulterated hatred against a segment of the community not their own would allow what is happening to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to occur in a country like Canada. God help us.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.


Albert Dumont, “South Wind”, is a Poet, Storyteller, Speaker, and an Algonquin Traditional Teacher. He was born and raised in traditional Algonquin territory (Kitigan Zibi). He has been walking the “Red Road” since commencing his sobriety in 1988. He has published four books of poetry and short stories and one children’s book, written in three languages. His website is www.albertdumont.com


More on the film and the struggle of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake:


Action items:

Resources for Barriere Lake:


More about the film:




Algonquin Native Lights Sacred Fire to Denounce Anticipated Forest Destruction

UPDATE: As of Sunday Jan 23, the Sacred Fire has been passed on to be kept up by the community (and volunteers are needed to take shifts) – click here for more …

OTTAWA –  Algonquin Daniel Bernard “Amikwabe” set up a camp this morning to keep a Sacred Fire burning round the clock next to the entrance of the Beaver Pond forest at the end of Walden Drive in Kanata.  This is a personal initiative “to denounce the massacre of the wildlife and this sacred forest” in response to a declaration by Algonquin Elder William Commanda that the forest is sacred.

The landowner, KNL Developments, moved tree-clearing equipment on to Beaver Pond lands January 18 after receiving City of Ottawa approval to proceed with plans to build a housing development.  Development plans have been contested by citizens for decades, and protest has peaked in recent months.

Grandfather William Commanda, the most senior Algonquin Elder, has stated that the area is sacred to his people, and has written letters to all levels of government urging protection of the land.  Four First Nations groups, Chiefs, and Elders have written similar letters of concern (see links below).

Archaeological artifacts have been found nearby that show evidence of pre-contact civilization.  Natives and non-Natives alike are calling for a comprehensive archaeological assessment and meaningful consultations with Aboriginal peoples before any development proceeds.

On January 12, the City’s Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Subcommittee passed a resolution noting that the City of Ottawa “should be seen as an example role-model to other municipalities in Canada in respecting Aboriginal affairs” and asked the City take the lead in conducting a new archaeological survey of the entire South March Highlands.

Gordon O’Connor, MP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills, recently asked the National Capital Commission to include the Beaver Pond forest in its upcoming revision of the Greenbelt master plan. Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Norm Sterling wrote letters January 17 to the Premier of Ontario and several other Ministers in support of protecting this land.

Robert Lovelace, former Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, recently wrote that “If Mayor Jim Watson were a real leader, he would know enough to realize that the incremental destruction of the last wildlands in the city needs to stop.  As a real Chief, he would be on the side of the people and the land.” (see link below)

A Sacred Fire is a peaceful religious observance.  Bernard, of the Algonquin Beaver Clan, invites others to join him and pray for the forest and the animals.  He plans to keep the fire burning until Sunday, January 23.

Members of the community are providing support to Bernard, and will be joining him throughout the protest.  All are committed to protecting the Beaver Pond forest and other environmentally sensitive areas of the South March Highlands, which is home to more than 675 species, including 19 species at risk, and recognized by the City as one of the most biodiverse areas in Ottawa

– 30-

For more information:
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.


Letters sent by First Nations to-date:

And by Grandfather William Commanda:

And by other Grandfathers:

Motion passed unanimously by Ottawa’s Aboriginal Affairs Advisory Subcommittee: http://www.renaud.ca/public/Letters_of_Support/2011-01-12-Unanimous_AHCAC_Motion_on_SMH.pdf

Background info:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZBcLvtcJBY (4 minute documentary video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhSU5heJl5o (cultural and natural heritage video)
http://www.renaud.ca/public/Presentations/2011-01-13-SMH-1-SMH_Overview_v16.pdf (SMH Overview presentation)

Other Letters of Support (e.g. David Suzuki Foundation, MP Gordon O’Connor, MPP Norm Sterling) may be downloaded from

Submission to NCC on South March Highlands:

www.ottawasgreatforest.com (website for the stewardship plan to protect the SMH)
www.southmarchhighlands.ca (website for the coalition to protect the SMH)

Thurs 13 Jan noon – Save Ottawa’s old-growth forest Rally!

Protect the Beaver Pond Forest in Kanata

We demand the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the Province of Ontario to hold the development of the Beaver Pond Forest!

The Beaver Pond Forest is on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Territory.  All level of the government – the City of Ottawa, the NCC and the Province of Ontario must respect the requests of the Algonquin First Nation communities as well as the local Ottawa community to do a full archeological assessment of possible medicine wheels and artifacts dated back 10,000 years ago.

~~ RALLY! ~~

Noon, Thurs Jan 13
Meet at the Human Rights Monument, Elgin at Lisgar, next to City Hall


This is a rally to demand that the City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission (NCC), and the Province of Ontario step up and do their job: order Urbandale Corporations and KNL Development Inc. not to clear-cut or blast any of the Beaver Pond Forest at least until spring when an archaeological assessment can be re-done.

This is for ecological, archaeological, cultural, spiritual and humane reasons. All levels of government could halt development based on new evidence that the archaeological assessment needs to be redone. But none is taking responsibility. So we are taking action to remind them to do their jobs and make the City of Ottawa a better place to live, for us now and for future generations.

PLAN for Thurs Jan 13:

  • 12pm (noon): Assemble at the Human Rights Monument at corner of Lisgar & Elgin, next to City Hall
  • Bring your own signs, we also have some made which will be used in a subsequent Activist Art show (first come, first served 😉
  • statements will be read, letters delivered, songs shared. We will march to the NCC Office at 40 Elgin Street, past their Info Ctr across from, Parliament Hill, and end back at City Hall. Exact schedule TBA.
  • Be musical (bring instruments & noisemakers!)
  • Main Message to City Hall, NCC, & Province: Take Responsibility! Do the Right Thing: Save Beaver Pond Forest!


“Some twelve thousand years ago the South March Highlands where the Beaver Pond Forest is found was an island surrounded by the waters of the ice age created Champlain Sea. As the water receded, a rich and fertile land renewed its relationship with the winds. The birds, insects, animals and people living on the highlands at that time carried the seeds of trees and also pollen of the islandís plant life further and further into their ever-widening territory.” – Algonquin elder Albert Dumont

Now the developers are set to destroy the forest in order to build a subdivision. The commencement of destruction is immanent – we need to take a stand NOW!

Community voices:

A letter from Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, to the relevant public officials: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/Site/Algonquin_Information.html

Details on inadequate environmental assessment & storm waster management plans: http://renaud.ca/wordpress/?p=716


Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca
Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer of NCC,
Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Culture, mchan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Peter Evans, Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister for Culture,
Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, cbentley.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org
Gordon O’Connor, Federal Cabinet Minister and MP for Kanata,
Norm Sterling, MPP for Kanata, norm.sterlingco@pc.ola

Also write to the developers to hold the development of the Beaver Pond Forest and do a full archeological assessment of that area:
Urbandale: mjarvis@urbandale.com 613-731-6331http://urbandale.com/corp
Richcraft: info@richcraft.com – 613-739-7111 – http://richcraft.com

Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Do-Not-Cut-Beaver-Pond-Forest-or-SMH/

Join the network to help protect this precious land:
– email info@ottawasgreatforest.com and ask to stay updated
– or on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=46087029890


Any updates will be on the FB Event page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155983114454420 and at http://candle4kindness.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/save-beaver-pond-forest-rally-at-city-hall-13-january-noon/

Sat Oct 24 – Celebrating Indigenous Cultural Resistance

Indigenous Sovereignty Week
Celebrating Indigenous Cultural Resistance!

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009
Odawa Friendship Centre
12 Stirling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario

The kickoff for Indigenous Sovereignty Week in Ottawa, followed by a week of events focused on Indigenous struggles for justice.  Join us in celebrating Indigenous knowledge and culture through traditional and contemporary performance.

3 pm – 5 pm
Workshop: Circle Stories Rising Strong: Love Your Voice, Share Your Song
facilitated by: Moe Clark, Métis, and Emile Monnet, Algonquin – together the Bird Messenger Collective

We all have stories to share. Through acting and singing games, we will support participants in discovering their true voice and celebrate with pride their unique expression of that voice. Be ready to move a little, share and sing quite a bit and have a whole lot of fun! Perfect for teens and adults of any skill level with a willingness to share.

6 pm – 10:30 pm
Opening Ceremony
Community Dinner served with Buffalo Chili with bannock
Kick-off concert for Indigenous Sovereignty Week

Featured Performers:

  • Albert Dumont, Algonquin
  • Every Women’s Drum Group
  • Moe Clark, Métis and Emile Monnet, AlgonquinBird Messenger Collective
  • Mosha Folger, Inuit – Eskimocentricity
  • Suzanne Keeptwo, Metis of Algonquin/French and Irish
  • Christopher Herodier, Cree
  • Rachel Wuttunee, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug
  • Luis Abanto, Peru

More about the performers:


Albert Dumont
Algonquin, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg

Albert Dumont is an activist, a volunteer and a poet who has been walking the Red Road for over 20 years. He has published 3 books of poetry and short stories and several organizations, both native and non-native, are currently featuring his poetry in their promotions, among them are the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and the Native Veterans Association.

He is the founder of the Pagahamatig Poetry Circle, the founder of the Turtle Moons Contemplations greeting card company and the founder of the Activists for the Protection of Aboriginal Arts.

Albert has dedicated his life to promoting Aboriginal spirituality and healing and to protecting the rights of Aboriginal peoples particularly those as they affect the young.


Bird Messenger Collective

Moe Clark and Emilie Monnet come together to form “Bird Messengers”, an independent collective of two female Aboriginal performance artists. As young Indigenous artists, we feel deeply concerned with the destruction of Mother Earth and Indigenous ways of living. We believe that our ancestral ways of prayer, peacemaking and healing are vitally needed today. It is our intention to bridge the wisdom of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, from the past, present and future generations, through storytelling and song. Our vision is to serve as messengers, follow the migration, and support the reconnection and reconciliation of the peoples of Mother Earth. Through ethical transmission, reflection and artistic action, we wish to celebrate traditional knowledge with contemporary performance. This is how we hope to contribute towards a better world.

Moe Clark

Métis sound artist Moe Clark fuses her unique understanding of performance narrative with traditions of circle singing and spoken word. With a background in voice, spoken word, and visual arts, she creates a lyrical style, steeped in ritual and poetic exploration. Her poetic songs resonate with the power to heal, to celebrate spirit and to connect with authentic purpose.

After her debut album release “Circle of She: Story & Song” (April ’09) Moe toured extensively across Canada and recently made her debut performances in Europe and South America. As a featured artist in the 2009 Maelström ReEvolution Poétique FiEstival in Brussels, Belgium, she performed alongside Wemotachi elder and storyteller Matotoson Iriniu (Charles Coocoo, Quebec). Her work will be published in a bilingual poetry book in Spring 2010 through Maëlstrom publications, with translations by Marseilles poet Pierre Guéry. Preliminary translations of the texts were performed bilingually with Guéry at the Maelström Festival also. Feature highlights include performances for the ’07-’08 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, the 2009 festival voix d’Amériques, the 2009 Diverse as This Land Performance at the Banff Centre, and the 2007 CBC Calgary Poetry Face-Off. Moe has collaborated with and performed alongside established artists such as Ian Ferrier (Montreal), D.Kimm (Montreal), Sheri-D Wilson (Calgary), and Tanya Tagaq (Nunavut).

Aside from her poetry performance work, Moe has also stepped into larger artistic collaborations in areas of artistic production, composition and performance creation. In 2008 she collaborated with contemporary dancers Jenn Doan and Carmen Ruiz to create Transfiguration, an interdisciplinary performance show featuring dance and voice that ran to sold-out audiences in Calgary, AB. In Spring 2009 Moe collaborated with the National Film Board of Canada and film artist Emmanuel Hessler on a short poetry video entitled Circle Haiku, a production that involved translation work, compositional development and audio engineering. Most recently she received support from Bravo!Fact and other sources to create and direct a video poem for Intersecting Circles, a poem that won the 2007 CBC Calgary Poetry Face-Off and has since become a full-stage performance and part of a permanent archive collection in Northern Alberta. Continued collaborations include working with youth and adults on storytelling and writing workshops, performing with Ian Ferrier and his experimental group Pharmakon, and continuing to develop visual design work for festivals and other artists. Moe believes in the power of transformation and the continuum of the oral tradition through active involvement in communities, both locally and internationally.

Emilie Monnet

Born to an Anishinabe mother from Kitigan Zibi and a French father, Emilie was raised between the Outaouais and the Celtic coasts of France.  Her dual cultural heritage profoundly inspires her work as an artist and the stories she wishes to communicate.

In 2006 Emilie graduated from the three-year theatre program offered by the Native theatre company Ondinnok (in collaboration with the National School of Theatre of Canada). Since then, she has been working as a theatre artist and storyteller under the artistic direction of Yves Sioui Durand (Ondinnok), Peter Batakliev, and choreographer Denise Fujiwara. In February 2009, she was granted an artist residency from the Maison Internationale du Conte to create a contemporary storytelling show on indigenous erotica and sexuality (Sans réserve : contes coquins et autres indienneries, February 2009).

Emilie uses voice as a medium for artistic expression and a tool for fostering a stronger relationship to her Anishinabe roots. As a member of Odaya, an all Aboriginal women’s drum group, she is able to share her gift of song and empower herself and others. In the past year, Odaya has performed extensively around Montreal and Canada. Performance highlights include the Festival du Monde Arabe with Gnawa master Hassan Boussou (Théâtre Maisonneuve ‘08), Quebec City’s 400th Anniversary at the SATosphere, and alongside Samian at the 2009 Musique Multi-Montreal Festival among others. The group has also performed at various Aboriginal events to promote social justice and raise awareness on Aboriginal issues. In the coming year they plan to record an album.

Prior to becoming a professional artist, Emilie worked for many years with grassroots organizations both in Canada and Latin America, building bridges between indigenous peoples worldwide. These experiences have nourished her critical thinking and strengthened her commitment towards community development and social justice. She strongly believes that performing arts and music are vehicles for healing, transformation and social change. A key part of her intention as an artist is to inspire others in finding their own voice through creative expression. She facilitates theatre and sound workshops to women prisoners and sex workers as well as First Nations youth in remote communities as a means to fight against criminalization of poverty. She is also a founding member of Artivistic, a collective that promotes interplay of art, communication and activism and holds a Masters in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution (Spain, Sweden).


Mosha Folger, M.O.

M.O. brings a pure distillation of hip-hop and the polar ice cap. Producing beats and using complex wordplay that has been likened to Prevail of Swollen Members, M.O. “hopes to update southerner’s perceptions of Inuit life.” (Kate Porter, CBC Radio One)

M.O. was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut (Frobisher Bay, NWT at the time) during the coldest November in the town’s recorded history. A product of an Inuk mother and a Brooklynite father, he and two sisters were raised by their father in Iqaluit and in Vancouver, BC.

There were varied musical influences floating through M.O.’s childhood: from classical Indian music like the sitar and sarod, the Talking Heads and Nine Inch Nails to Kool Moe Dee just to name few.  This eclectic range of influences, coupled with M.O.’s cultural history and connection to the North, has led to a unique style of music, with beats and lyrics that soothe and inform and get your mind and body working.

You ain’t never heard nothin’ like this before!


Suzanne Keeptwo

Suzanne Keeptwo is Métis from Quebec of Irish/French & Algonquin heritage. She is the proud mother of two, wonderful children. She juggles independent work as a writer, editor, public speaker, consultant and facilitator of Aboriginal Awareness & Cultural Sensitivity Training with her teaching career. She recently started  a master’s degree in Aboriginal & World Indigenous Educational Studies. She is also a freelance contributor to the Anishinabek News and writes poetry to help process the world around her. Suzanne is the recipient of two, consecutive Canada Council for the Arts writers’ grants for creative non-fiction and was recently short listed for her first work of fiction entitled Can’t Fool Me by the annual Writers Union of Canada short story competition.

An advocate for Aboriginal rights, Suzanne has volunteered extensively on various councils, committees and boards throughout the region; her work includes co-developing Aboriginal Education policies, Anti-racism documents, and Traditional Healing Justice programs.

Her true passion will be revealed in her next work of non-fiction which is about Traditional Aboriginal Spiritual Teachings and how to apply them in modern, mainstream society.


Rachel Wuttunee

Rachel is from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug in north western Ontario and Red Pheasant Saskatchewan.  Her name is Kesigatic Sagastas Saali Rachel Wuttunee and she is from the Bear Clan. She has two daughters Niteh and Miyosiwin and lives in Nanaimo, aka Snuneymuxw Territory on Vancouver Island BC.  She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in First Nations Studies from Vancouver Island University (VIU) June 2008, and has committed to a one year volunteer term as an Aboriginal Mentor at VIU.

Rachel has worked in many First Nation communities as an outreach worker on an administrative capacity, which included raising public awareness as well as providing entertainment.  Her highlights include facilitating workshops with the youth and incorporating First Nation culture and language into hip hop music.

Rachel has been appointed the youth representative of her nation, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, on International Issues.  She is also experienced working as a positive Aboriginal role model in many Native communities.  A large portion of her workshop is centered on colonization and its intergenerational impacts and the reclamation of Indigenous cultures and traditions.  She believes that by reinforcing our culture via participating in the ceremonies that honor the Earth and our bodies, we will help our people reclaim their lives.

Rachel also worked with the Cowichan Tribes Youth Pilot Project to promote First Nations skills related to the media.  During which time she created a music video called Learn Off the Land to teach people about First Nations culture http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpw8I-1lWpM. Throughout her life she has modeled various First Nations designs including Bruno Henry from Ontario, and Trish Shaunassy, from Alert Bay British Columbia, as well as touring Europe twice with Pow Wow Dance Group White Braid Society and with her father Winston Wuttunee.

In October 2008, she went to a Water Policy Forum, which was held in Garden River ON where the First Nations declared their jurisdiction over all waters in their territories. In March 2009, Chiefs of Ontario hired her to present this declaration at a youth forum in Kenora days before it was released to the public.  In December 2008, she went to Indigenous Cooperative on the Environment Elders Council in Ottawa where solutions were presented from many nations on environmental issues.  She also presented this information for Chiefs of Ontario at Youth Council.

Her previous work includes Coordinating a 24 week youth work experience program called Higher Elevation for Snuneymuxw First Nation.  This program was eight weeks of skill building and career searching, four weeks of community work in Snuneymuxw Territory and twelve weeks of work placement.  All the participants secured employment after the program was completed and four of them went on to treatment centre’s to continue their healing journey.

Since January 2009, Rachel has done work with Vancouver Island University presenting on Women and Self-Governance to the fourth year First Nations Studies course.  She has also MC’d the Welcoming feast, performed for Aboriginal Visitation day, feasts, and worked on leadership development with the FN Land is Life class.  She also got one of the participants from the work experience program to help her work on a research contract with BC Aboriginal Child Care Society interviewing elders on traditional methods of child rearing.  She is told the report will be published and used to develop the curriculum for Aboriginal Head Start programs in BC.

Rachel is currently working with the Chiefs of Ontario on two different jobs.  She is doing note-taking/coordinating for the nuclear waste management meetings, and creating a song for their health department on healthy lifestyles, culture, and respect for tobacco protocols.  All of the work she has done with First Nation’s communities is put into her music so she can spread the information to the youth in a positive way, which can be reinforced at anytime with the hit of a play button.

Sat Oct 31: March and Rally

Celebrating Indigenous Sovereignty!
A Decolonial March and Rally

Saturday, Oct. 31st at 1pm
Corner of Rideau and Sussex

Wear a costume! Bring a noise-maker!
This is a fun family friendly march!
Defenders of the Land

The city of Ottawa, capital of Canada, site of Canada’s Federal Parliament, was built and exists on stolen Algonquin land.  In this march, we will be exploring Canada’s historic and ongoing existence as a colonial state and celebrating Indigenous Sovereignty and resistance to colonialism.

The landscape, the buildings and institutions in Ottawa are a direct and physical legacy of European colonialism.  It is essential that we remember this history and that we work to transform our colonial present into a decolonial future.

We will be starting the march at the Hudson’s Bay Company Corporation, walking to Parliament Hill and ending the rally at Victoria Island.