A PROPOSAL FROM ALGONQUIN ELDER WILLIAM COMMANDA FOR THE CREATION OF A
ISSUE: A PROPOSAL FROM ALGONQUIN ELDER WILLIAM COMMANDA FOR THE CREATION OF AN INDIGENOUS
1. Lebreton Flats was the site of many Aboriginal activities for countless years and served as pow wow grounds over many recent years. Right across from the
2. For some years now, at the grass roots level, ideas have been circulating regarding the establishment of a memorial/Indigenous plants medicine garden:
- to honour the Algonquins of the Ottawa River Watershed;
- to honour the ancestral spirits along the Kichisipi/Ottawa/River, and others;
- to counter-balance the sombre energy of the
; War Museum
- to vitalize principles of biodiversity (also advocated by City of
Ottawaenvironmentalists for some years) and the reclamation of indigenous plants (possibly in cooperation with City of tree planting programs); and Ottawa
- to transform the appearance of a presently dismal entry to the Sacred Chaudière Site, on the fringe of the developing residential zone.
3. It is noted that several parties have already approached Elder Commanda with ideas for a
- local resident and grass roots historian Dean Jones has spent many years researching indigenous plants and animals of the area and has prepared landscaping plans which she has also shared with the National Capital Commission over the years;
· and in April 2010, both of them supported the creation of a
· Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg created a memorial garden in the town of
- Jardin des plantes forestieres is developing Indigenous plants/preservation gardening strategies in
to honour Algonquin heritage; Quebec
- Quebec organizations Centre de Solidarité International du Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean, L'association du Parc sacré de Mashteuiatsh and Ecuador partner, Jambi Kiwa association (Women’s indigenous organisation (Quichua) specialist in medicinal plants) are collaborating on an Indigenous Medicine Plants project; and
- Plenty Canada undertakes local and international work in biodiversity.
These parties are interested in supporting the development of an
4. This concept of an
5. This is both the United Nations Year of Biodiversity, as well as the United Nations Year for the Rapprochement of Culture. It is also noted that the capital City of
6. These factors combine to create momentum for a creative healing, reconciliatory and regenerative project to inspire citizens of the National Capital Region and elsewhere, nationally and internationally, to advance the concept of Sustainable Relationships, as reflected in the philosophy of Elder Commanda – that is, illustrating and animating the inter-relationship of the worlds of nature and humankind, and the need for reclamation of the ideologies that embrace both simultaneously.
1. Please note also that Elder Commanda is almost 97, and while he holds a passionate interest in the traditional sacred territory of his ancestors, he does not have the resources to develop a project on this vision.
2. However, he is sharing this idea with organizations and individuals: Algonquins, the National Capital Commission, the City of
3. In this regard it is noted that there are several key dates looming that lend themselves to special acknowledgement of Aboriginal Peoples:
- June 11, 2010 marks the anniversary of
’s historic Apology to First Peoples, and such a healing garden in the capital city would constitute a concrete statement of reconciliation; Canada
- June 4, 2013 is four years away - this is when Canada will celebrate Champlain's four hundred year anniversary arrival in the Ottawa valley, when he was acknowledged by Elder Commanda’s Algonquin ancestors; and
- In 2017,
celebrates its one hundred and fiftieth birthday. Canada
4. Many already know that the Sacred Chaudière Site lies at the heart of these commemorative moments; and that the vision of Ginawaydaganuc, We Are All Connected, is indeed the message of the times for the nation and the world, its peoples and Mother Earth herself.
5. Elder Commanda hopes that many will be inspired to collaborate to make this dream a reality. Discussions will be held on this initiative during the annual August Circle of All Nations Gathering.
Shortly, several files (including UN documents) to stimulate discussion and development of concrete action consistent with this vision will be hosted on our websites.
Photographs of the