URGENT ACTION: Contact Ottawa City Council, Mayor, Domtar before October 8 rezoning decision on Chaudiere Islands

 

CALL TO ACTION FOLLOWS MAIN MESSAGE:

The Planning Committee hearing from one of the many people who spoke in opposition to the rezoning plans.
The Planning Committee hearing from one of the many people who spoke in opposition to the rezoning plans.

On Wednesday October 8th (meeting starts at 10:00am), Ottawa City Council will make their final decision on the rezoning application for Chaudiere and Albert Islands, giving the go ahead for condos, retail and office space to be built there by Windmill Development Group.

This follows the City Planning Committee meeting of October 2nd, where they heard from citizens who were overwhelmingly opposed to such a decision, who spoke of the sacredness of this to the Algonquin and other Anishinaabe peoples, and in support of Grandfather William Commanda’s vision for these islands, yet the committee unanimously went ahead and recommended the rezoning.

There will be no public input at Wednesday’s full council meeting, but you can contact your city councilor as well as the mayor in the lead-up to the meeting to voice your concerns.

As well, you can contact Domtar, who currently holds the land in question, and urge them facilitate its return to ensure the manifestation of the legacy vision of its rightful heir, late Alqonquin spiritual elder and leader Grandfather William Commanda.

The islands in question are envisioned to be public space, turned into parkland accessible to all, fitting with the sacred nature of the Chaudiere Falls / Asinabka site. This is part of William Commanda’s larger vision for the Chaudiere Falls and all the islands there.

Please consider voicing your support for Grandfather William Commanda’s vision, both to Ottawa City Council and to Domtar.

We note the historic and ongoing sacredness of this site for the Algonquin people, and all Anishinaabe peoples. It has been used for thousands of years as a place of prayer, and of coming together of peoples from many parts of this continent.

Now that the industry that has been built upon this site over the past 200 years is finished, why not return the site to its traditional spiritual use, honouring the ways of the First Peoples of this land?

Instead they are looking to give the go-ahead to private and commercial development at this site – is this truly the best way forward?

 
FOUR URGENT ACTIONS:

  • 2) Contact Domtar (President & CEO, Mr John D. Williams): information@domtar.com
  • 3) Public Consultation / workshop / site visit
    Tuesday October 7, between 4:30-8:00pm – click here for full details
    *Note: This is for other islands at Chaudiere Falls, not the two immediately under consideration for rezoning
  • 4) Invite your friends to the Facebook event to spread the word. Also share / email it or this post.
  • ALSO: if you would like to attend the Ottawa City Council meeting, it takes place Wednesday October 8th, starting at 10:00am, in Andrew S Haydon Hall at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave W.

 
BACKGROUND INFO / RESOURCES:

 
MEDIA COVERAGE FROM THE PLANNING COMMITTEE HEARING:

 

URGENT: Chaudière Falls & Islands sacred site – Proposed condominium rezoning hearing, City of Ottawa

URGENT: 4pm Wed Oct 1st deadline to register to speak or submit to the City of Ottawa Planning Committee, that is meeting Thurs Oct 2nd 9:30am at City Hall to consider a rezoning proposal for two of the islands in order to allow the Windmill condominium development

Overview of planning vision for Indigenous & Peace Centres on sacred islands at Chaudiere Falls.
Overview of vision for Indigenous & Peace Centres on sacred islands at Chaudiere Falls.

Continue reading / scrolling for registration instructions & background information, along with compelling new 10-min video of renowned Aboriginal architect Douglas Cardinal.

The Planning Committee will decide upon a recommendation to put forward for voting on by the full City council on Oct 8th, but there will be no opportunity for public input at the Oct 8th meeting.

Giving the go-ahead to building condominiums on these islands would detrimentally impact the ability to achieve the full vision of the late Algonquin spiritual leader Grandfather William Commanda for this religious / sacred site.

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TO REGISTER: Contact Committee Coordinator, Christopher Zwierzchowski at 613-580-2424 extension 21359, in advance of the meeting, by at least 4:00 pm on Wednesday, to register to speak to the committee (presentations of 5 minutes maximum).

Or, you can email him a written submission, by the same deadline (or possibly anytime before midnight on Wed Oct 1st), at: christopher.zwierzchowski@ottawa.ca – also cc: hieu.nguyen@ottawa.ca

OF NOTE: If a person or public body does not make oral submissions at the public meeting or make written submissions to the City of Ottawa before the proposed official plan amendment is adopted or the zoning by-law is passed, the person or public body is not entitled to appeal the decision of the Council of the City of Ottawa to the Ontario Municipal Board.

ALSO: Call or email your local councillor, especially if they are on the Planning Committee, to express your concern. Members of the Planning Committee are: Peter Hume, chair; Jan Harder, vice-chair; Stephen Blais; Rainer Bloess; Rick Chiarelli; Catherine Hobbs; Allan Hubley; Bob Monette; Shad Qadri; Tim Tierney. Contact information for councillors is at: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-council

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BACKGROUND INFORMATION on Grandfather William Commanda’s vision for the Sacred Chaudière Site, and on the City’s rezoning proposal:

VIDEO – Architect Douglas Cardinal explaining things (link to watch on youtube)

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Indigenous Solidarity with Palestine

Image: Turtle Island Indigenous Solidarity with Palestine (Bird, Turtle, Feather, Plant, Buffalo, Tree)
Image by Tom Greyeyes, greyeyesart.tumblr.com

A collection of recent and not-so-recent links to statements, articles, photos/images and video.

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Statement in Solidarity with Palestine
from Families of Sisters in Spirit
http://fsis-mmiw.com/2014/07/31/statement-in-solidarity-with-palestine/

Palestine and the Onkwehonwe
By Clifton Arihwakehte Nicholas
http://www.tworowtimes.com/opinions/opinion/palestine-and-the-onkwehonwe/

Diné for Sanctions Against Israel
Letter with four demands, accompanied by protest photo
https://www.facebook.com/ipsmo/photos/pb.116217665061833.-2207520000.1406952083./925950110755247

Turtle Island Indigenous Solidarity with Palestine
Image by Tom Greyeyes
https://www.facebook.com/ipsmo/photos/pb.116217665061833.-2207520000.1406952003./927805157236409/

Reply to Elizabeth May of the Green Party
from Bob Lovelace
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=797528703600479&id=222117117808310

… and less recent items:

2013 – From Turtle Island to Palestine: Lee Maracle
http://vimeo.com/80576003 (video, 19min)

2009 – Of sowing and harvests
Zapatista’s Subcomandante Marcos’ speech on Gaza
http://mywordismyweapon.blogspot.ca/2009/01/of-sowing-and-harvests-subcomandante.html

2006 – Lee Maracle letter to the AFN
http://www.cpavancouver.org/index.php/2006/01/01/lee-maracle-to-the-afn/

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Regarding William Commanda’s Legacy Vision for the Sacred Chaudiere Site

June21doc-coanlogoJUNE 21, 2014 CIRCLE OF ALL NATIONS MESSAGE REGARDING WILLIAM COMMANDA’S LEGACY VISION FOR THE SACRED CHAUDIERE SITE – FROM ROMOLA V. THUMBADOO

Download the document here (25-pg pdf)

june21doc-gwcwwampumCONTENTS:

SECTION ONE – AN OPEN LETTER

  1. A Personal Preamble
  2. Open Letter on behalf of the Legacy Vision of Indigenous Spiritual Leader and Elder, Dr. William Commanda, OC, Carrier of the Sacred Wampum Belt Heritage

SECTION TWO – THE SACRED CHAUDIERE SITE AND VICTORIA ISLAND ISSUES PAPER – Key Information

  1. William Commanda – 11 November, 1913 – 3 August, 2011
  2. Sacred Cultural Heritage Site
  3. June21doc-overviewmapDevelopment of the Vision for the Sacred Chaudière Site
  4. The Sacred Chaudière Site and the vision and the commitment of three exemplary Indigenous rights leaders of international renown and relevance – William Commanda, Douglas Cardinal and Donald Marshall Junior
  5. Current Challenges
  6. A Critical Consideration – First Peoples/Canada Relations in 2014

SECTION THREE – THE LEGACY VISION FOR THE SACRED CHAUDIERE SITE

  1. Mandate
  2. The Core Vision (first presented in 2003)
  3. Critical Imperatives
  4. Expected Key Results

SECTION FOUR – AN INVITATION TO DREAM BIG TO SAFE GUARD AND ANIMATE THE LIVING LEGACY OF WILLIAM COMMANDA

  1. Blueprint for the future: William Commanda’s Legacy Vision for Asinabka in a Nutshell
  2. Recommendation/Exhortation

.

Download the document here (25-pg pdf)

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“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

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

 

Action items:

HYW-poster-jpg
 
Resources for Barriere Lake:

 

More about the film:


 

 

 

Niigaan: In Conversation – Red Man Laughing Live Podcast (VIDEO)

niigaan-rml
 

Reflecting upon 1 year of Idle No More – Biiskaabiiyang: Returning to Ourselves, featuring (L-R): Wab Kinew, Celina Cada-Matasawagon, Geraldine King, Leanne Simpson, Serpent River FN Chief Isadore Day, Lee Maracle, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, and host Ryan McMahon.

Intros by Niigaan organizers Linda Nothing and Jocelyn Formsma, followed by stand-up segment by Ryan McMahon and then the panel discussion.

Hoop dance by Theland Kicknosway (separate video).

December 10, 2013 at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa.

*Note: At the event, there was a special announcement from Ryan McMahon: Red Man Laughing will be coming to CBC Radio this year!
 

Ryan’s notes on the discussion:

Winter Time is the time of year where the earth becomes covered in snow. It’s a time for rest and reflection. Last winter we rose. We did not rest, we did not reflect. We took to the malls, the streets, and the hills. The community rallied around, there was a desperate feeling, people gathered at teach-ins, the scent of medicines was everywhere. We need to get that energy back. Niigaan: In Conversation asked ourselves, what happened to the fire? The problems are still here, we still have work to do. Let’s get together as a community and talk about our future.

A few highlights from this talk that you should listen for are:

  • Lee Maracle talking about the prophecy that told us that we’d be teaching the world about the power of our drums & community.
  • Chief Isadore Day breaking down the importance of self care and taking care of the homefires.
  • Leanne Simpson sharing her thoughts on the Wampum Belt – letting us know what the belt DOES mean to her and what it DOES NOT mean to her.
  • A spirited and heart felt discussion on education for Native Youth (FNEA rejections) – we can/need to take better care of our young people as they head to institutions.

 

Websites: Niigaan.caRedManLaughing.com

Video (2hr20min) by Greg Macdougall, EquitableEducation.ca
Or listen to the podcast at Red Man Laughing
 

 

Theland Kicknosway – Hoop Dance: