Arboretum Festival Panel

I learned stuff this past weekend at the Arboretum Festival’s UNCEDED OTTAWA Panel (on 22 August), but I can’t wrap my head around where some of it makes any sense.

This territory, the never surrendered ancestral lands of the Algonquin Nation, continues to be raped and pillaged. What can we do about it? Apparently nothing! This is what I was told at the Arboretum Festival. Asinabka (Chaudière & Albert Islands), a site sacred to the Algonquins for thousands of years is now ‘private land’ and the ‘owner’ of it can ‘do with it what it pleases.’ How can our sacred space be privately owned by anyone other than Algonquins if it’s never been given up? Can someone please explain this to me in a language I understand? The owners of our sacred site (white business men with millions of dollars) I was told, don’t need the support of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan or the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO; whoever they are) but just the same, they point to Pikwakanagan and AOO as offering blessings to them and their development plans. It is the AOO members who will undoubtedly line up for any forthcoming benefits when the time comes. Promises the developer has made to chiefs and community leaders were thrown around by some panel speakers like confetti at an old-time wedding. Someone asked, “Are the Algonquins taking the developer at his word that he’ll keep the promises or will a contract be drawn up?” The answer was a bit fuzzy. Maybe someone with better hearing than I picked it up. Let me know.

Opening Blessing before Arboretum PanelWhen I had the opportunity to speak during the panel discussions I asked why the return of Asinabka to the Algonquin Nation was not entered as a demand in the Ontario land claims by whomever is negotiating on behalf of our people. I asked why, if the Chief of Pikwakanagan is so concerned for jobs, mentorship and training of young Algonquins, did his negotiator not demand these things for them in a land claim settlement. Canadians are fed up with hearing us say that Canada’s Parliament Buildings stand on stolen land (what an embarrassment it is for righteous Canadians to hear this). They want the land claim settled a.s.a.p. and we, the Algonquins are holding all the cards! It appears that an unqualified negotiator has convinced some of our leadership otherwise. The negotiator, so it seems to me, has convinced the Algonquins that it is us who need to bend over backwards for the Feds and be happy with whatever crumbs are offered to us for our resource-rich lands.

It wasn’t made clear by anyone on the two panels how or when the mentoring, training, jobs, etc. for Algonquins would occur or how the labour boards in Québec could ever be convinced to allow workers without proper certification into their job sites. Work on the Ontario side – the islands – won’t happen anytime soon (never, I hope!). But work on the shore on the Québec side will start soon. Québec workers with the proper certification aren’t going to just say to the Algonquin workers, “You want my bread and butter? Sure! Enjoy!”

It wasn’t made clear how many jobs would actually be forthcoming for Algonquin workers. There are many young Algonquin workers hoping to get employment out of this. AOO (whoever they are) members will certainly be applying for, what amount of jobs is that again? Is it 10 jobs? Is it 50 jobs? Somebody please tell me!

Not much was made clear. Only one thing was made clear as glass by the panel participants and that is (I hate repeating this) Windmill Development Group doesn’t need the blessing from any Algonquin community. “It is private land, Windmill can do with it what it wants.” The words ring in my ears yet! I’m frustrated. I left the festival feeling like I just had my nose rubbed in the caca spilling from the almighty dollar’s rear-end. I don’t like it!

We need more information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Demand answers! Somebody on the panel mentioned that we are at the time of the 7th Fire. The crossroads await our steps. Let’s choose the right one!

View of Parliament from Asinabka. ©juliecomber.com

View of Parliament from Asinabka. ©juliecomber.com

I learned too, at the panel, that there are varying reasons why people are in opposition to condos being built on a sacred site. Some stand against it because they see it as the greed and tyranny connected to capitalism going too far. Some people on board with us are environmentalists who want a pristine and safe space in the city where families can go for meditation and relaxation and to learn about cultures not their own. There are other reasons as well as the one I stand with, which is protecting the spiritual beliefs passed on to me by my Algonquin forbearers. I welcome all good people as supporters to this cause. I’m glad they’re there, God bless them for taking the time out of their busy lives to stand with us. The folks who are OK with condos being built on a sacred site have non-Algonquin supporters, too. Not all of their supporters though, are from the grassroots community, most are from the elite of the corporate world (Windmill Development Group and its affiliates). Some thought should be given to this by the Algonquins.

The so-called almighty dollar will fail at some point in the future, spirituality and its benefits will hold strong into and beyond the end of time. Let us as one, at least accept that this is true.

Spirituality is what it is for human beings. The trust we have in it is ours to benefit from. If we recognize that our spirituality is a cure for addiction and dysfunction, then let us stand in a circle and wish the best of everything there for our future generations. Like the roots of the trees of the forest reaching under the earth for the support of those of the neighbouring trees, we shall intertwine the dreams and hopes of our children with the decisions we make today. With spirituality as its base, we will not fail them. Let us be confident that Creator will weigh our actions of this life as we enter into a new beginning after death stops the drumming of our hearts in this domain for the final time.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Surviving Storm

A short while ago a ferocious wind touched down close to where my cabin stands on Bitobi Lake. The storm was a wild one! It performed its dance and sang its song and took away with it, the spirits of many trees when it departed. Its power was such that the trees which fell to its rage did not do so because of being uprooted as is usually the case, but did so because of their trunks breaking at the level where their roots begin. Imagine the force of the wind to do this! One of the trees I speak about was an ash. The ash had stood only about 25 ft. from my shack and when it came down, it missed the corner of my cabin by only several feet. Upon seeing the near miss, I offered up my tobacco with a sincere heartfelt ‘migwech’ (thank you) to my lucky star for this.

fallen treeThe trail leading to my cabin is one km long. On the day my granddaughter Madeline was born five years ago this past July, I walked the bush road to where my car was parked so I could go to the city to greet her. Not a sound did I hear, not a bird or animal did I see around me as I walked along. Because of this, I gave my granddaughter the name ‘Quiet Trail Morning’. It was along this very pathway that the brunt of the storm was felt by the trees of the forest. Trees a hundred feet tall lay on the ground. All broken at the trunk, all of them poplars – all had rips in them from trunk to at least 20 to 30 ft. into their stems. The wind produced by the storm caused the trees to swirl, making circles only the eagle high in the sky could see. And when the trunk of the tree could no longer tolerate the demands made of it by the storm, it broke. Some of the trees fell with their canopies pointed to the south, others with their leaf-covered branches pointing to the west. The fragrance of their sap spilled from their torn bark and engulfed the forest. One could breathe it in a half km away! They lay where the storm willed them to be. Time will travel by, generations of our people will be born while others will die as the poplars slowly decay until at last they will be consumed by the very earth which gave them life. And the people who will walk the trail in the distant future, will they wonder about such things as the weakness of poplar trees and the power of a roaming wind? I hope they do!

Storms, they come and go! Who among us lives a life without occasionally knowing what it is like to feel alone and unsupported while society’s dysfunctions rage around us. The storms which confront us, sometimes striking without warning, test our strengths and measure the density of our willpower. Some storms are fury-filled and the weak among us find them too much to bear. They collapse under the stress of a storm they are not emotionally and spiritually equipped to deal with. It is a sad reality. Life’s pathway is such for human beings. The storm which struck the trail leading to my sanctuary, to my place of solitude and healing, claimed the poplar trees in its path. The maples and oaks who are neighbours to the poplars which fell are standing yet. They are strong and it is the depth of their strength which assured their survival. We must do all we can to assure that our young people will grow to have the strength of the oaks and maples mixing into the blood of their hearts, for if we do not, they will collapse like the poplars and in doing so, reveal to Creator that the human beings have rejected the wisdom and power of the forest.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Life’s Highway, A Collision In The Making

I was clipping along in my Jeep a few days ago on a straight stretch of road about 50 km east of Bancroft, Ont. when I was shaken up a bit by an unexpected experience. Let me tell you about it.

mooseHeading in a westwardly direction on a clear, sunny day I became aware of a blue car coming towards me. I had no reason for concern until suddenly, a young moose weighing about 500 lbs. ran from the forest, emerging from it directly in the path of the vehicle heading towards me. By this time, the blue car and I were about 100 ft. apart. I suspect the moose came into view of the other driver when the big animal was probably about 25 ft. away from him. To avoid a collision with the moose, the blue car’s driver swerved into my lane. He succeeded in avoiding contact with the 500 lb. moose but was now directly in line with rubber and steel weighing in excess of 2 tons coming at him at 90 km an hour. The blue car and my Jeep were in line and about twice the distance of my living room apart when I decided, “Buddy, this game of chicken is something I’m not into,” and steered my Jeep violently into the empty lane. My Jeep fishtailed and shook, in response to my abrupt action with the steering wheel. The blue car zoomed by! But this story is not over yet. In the other lane now (the one I’m in) I see the moose in front of me. He is laying on his side. The moose, when cut off by the blue car had put his own brakes on. His hooves slid on the hard paved surface of the road and he lost his balance and toppled over. And now I’m bearing down on him! I pressed hard on my brake pedal with both feet. Tires screeched, the moose quickly uprighted himself. In full-blown panic mode he fled into the woods leaving the highway via the same route he had chosen to enter it. I barely missed hitting his hind quarters. Whew! That was close!

From the time the moose’s hooves touched the pavement until he leapt back into the forest, I’d estimate 5 seconds went by. Some not so pretty things could have taken place in that short period of time. Human life, mine and the driver of the blue car, could have ended in a bloody mess. I’m so grateful things did not turn out that way!

Life is such though, is it not? You go along in life, feeling more or less carefree, when all of a sudden something jumps out on life’s highway demanding your immediate attention. What you do or don’t do about it could spell catastrophic results for your family and community. What to do? What to say?

On our nation’s territories, bees are disappearing, droughts and forest fires are becoming more and more commonplace, sacred sites are being developed, a sorry state of affairs to be sure. What are we doing about it? Cranking up the music, toking on a reefer and sucking on a cold brewsky, fiddling away while Rome burns. We’ve become so numb and dumb, we do nothing! It’s as if today, we are caricatures of what a human being is meant to be! Whatever catastrophe comes down on our children, it will occur because of us failing in our spiritual obligations to Creator who made all things which help human beings to live well.

I don’t like it but that’s the way it is! Those of us who do get it need to keep up with our prayers and ceremonies. If we don’t, we will surely collide with what’s on the highway and many of us will not be as fortunate as I was to escape without being harmed.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Chaudière Falls: Unceded Territory

Sacredness is present everywhere! The birds singing their welcoming songs for the early morning sun and the dew-covered berries of early summer know it. All things in the fertile fields of our grand valleys and stirring on the rocky landscape of distant hills confirm it simply by being alive. Only human beings are confused as to what sacredness really is!

strawberry dewOn May 15, 2015 I met with Jeff Westeinde at the Chaudière Falls. Our purpose there was to have a conversation about the future of a site, precious and sacred to many people, particularly so to the Algonquin on whose territory the Falls are located. Mr. Westeinde and I sat on a huge ancient timber, probably that of a pine, sprouted to life many hundreds of years ago when the spirit of the land was at peace. Near where we sat, a small patch of wild strawberry blossoms danced in the breeze.

The soil around the Falls is in a state of sickness because of pollution. Chemical pollutants, battery acid, and the devil knows what else have made it so. Mr. Westeinde spoke about the cost his company, Windmill Development Group, would incur ‘cleaning it up’. The land though, over a period of time, has the ability to do that on its own. The appearance of blossoms there a few weeks ago is proof of this. Mr. Westeinde’s plan is to get rid of things which pollute the earth at this sacred site, and after this is done, he would erect 12-storey-high condos on a purified space. To me it is like getting rid of one form of ugliness and replacing it with another. The only difference is that what will stand there after the land is free of poisons will not be so easy to get rid of. The condos I’m afraid, if indeed they are built, will be there for as long as the grass grows! What rests on sacred land should have something to do with spirituality, yes or no! Who will be living in the condos after they become ready for occupancy? Will the homeowners at the Chaudière Falls possess any spiritual beliefs at all? Will some of the site’s residents be people who harbour hatred towards and have total disrespect for the First Peoples? We have no idea!

The Chaudière Falls should be and can be a place where people can go to cleanse their souls through the power of ceremony and prayer. We live in a world where technology is slowly robbing us of our humanity. People need a healing place to feel refreshed and invigorated again, like birds after flying swiftly through heavy rain.

The sins and mistakes of men are many! The sacred sites where we can go to find peace and healing are far too few. Who would dare go to the birthplace of Christ in Bethlehem and propose the building of 12-storey high-rises a few meters away? Out of respect for Christian spirituality, no one would! Christ was born 2000 years ago, Christians need His presence in their lives. They would defend to the death anyone who would set out to kill their beliefs. The Falls – when did they originate? Who puts their life on the line to save them? I say to my descendants, never forget that I stood against the development proposed at our sacred site. Many more feel as I do. Put your objection in writing so that the next generations will know what you did.

I hear if often that this territory is unceded, never surrendered land. Someone needs to tell me: When did we surrender the most sacred site of our homeland? Giving the green light to development to me is like agreeing to something which will assure (allow me the privilege to a play of words) ‘short-term gain for long-term pain.’

In one form or another, we leave a legacy – a good, a bad or an ugly one. What will yours be?

All my relations,
Albert Dumont, South Wind

 

Chaudiere_before_dam

Chaudière Falls before 1908 dam

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Reconciliation: Pleasant Park School

Reconciliation – that’s what June 10th at Pleasant Park Elementary School was truly all about.

mamawi_murals_10June2015

Mamawi Together murals unveiled, 10 June 2015

The First Peoples have had a rough ride of it in this country for quite a while. We only began reclaiming our spirituality in the last 30 years or so, it being outlawed for many generations before that. The drum, songs and dances returned shortly after the ‘right to vote’ was granted to us in 1960. So many good things have come to pass since Creator touched us again with the messages of the land! Look at the power of our spiritual ways! Our prayers are being answered and a new dawn is now on the horizon! The oppression heaped on my parents and theirs by cruel colonizers will never occur again. My heart soars like a hawk when I see that both the indigenous and non-indigenous Peoples of this land have set a course for the future. We are reaching out and taking each other by the hand.

Today, we walk into the future together, our hearts filled with honour and respect for each other and also for the land in which we live. I know it is so! I saw it in the faces of the students at Pleasant Park Elementary School when together, we created artwork for healing’s sake. Because of a long process of dedication, commitment and the creativity of many, you can see now on the wall of the school four murals, each depicting one of the four seasons. The students have been given teachings and because of them will forevermore celebrate the season in which they were born. And with that, their love of their relatives on the land, the birds, animals, fish, trees, and rivers will grow ever stronger. They will surely be motivated to protect and defend the land, as we do, because of it.

Albert & sisters

South Wind and his sisters at the Mamawi unveiling

It is a time to sing and be proud at the fact we are human beings. People are recognizing that Canada’s national anthem and her flag are not symbols of tyranny and oppression. The anthem and flag stand against Peoples who promote hatred of the minorities in their midst. If you love Canada’s national anthem and her flag, then reject all which divides us.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

Photo credits: Mamawi Together.

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A Plea For Help

The seasons of life, how wonderfully fortunate and privileged are the human beings who experience all of them! To live from the springtime of your life all the way through to the winter of your years is something we hope will come to pass for all the people we love. My heart is strong in its desire to drum long into its final winter.

I write this post to speak of truths and of misfortune and also to speak of the zest for life of an honourable young man I have come to know and admire. We live in a world where one knows not, with 100% certainty, whether he or she will still be alive and healthy a year hence from now. Much can go askew! The organs inside our bodies, working in harmony with blood, muscle and nerves will generate vigour and physical strength for us only when each organ is functioning as it should. When an organ playing a vital role to the health of the human body is overcome by disease, it is no longer capable of doing its work. Death can occur because of it. Such is the case with David, a dear friend of mine. He has only recently become the proud dad of his first child, an adorable baby girl. He is a fine, considerate, compassionate, generous young man who loves the land and prays for the health and wellbeing of all good peoples. David has been stricken with a disease attacking his kidneys (Berger’s Disease). He is in desperate need of a donor kidney or he will not have the good life he deserves.

David is the type of man who sits in the fasting circle, humbly requesting the spirit of the land to counsel him and to guide his pathway. The blue jay gliding in the foreground of evergreens lifts his spirit. The song carried in the wind and the fragrances emitting from Mother Earth bring joy into his heart. He is a man of simple needs. The love he possesses for his wife and daughter cannot be surpassed. For them he would dance till dawn each and every day of the year. We ask for your prayers and good energy. But who knows, somebody reading this might see fit by helping David out by offering him the gift of life.

Please read David’s own words about how the illness has impacted him:

D & V. May 2015Our baby girl Violette has turned 6 months last week… I can’t believe how fast she’s growing. It seems like it was yesterday again that she was just born… She is a very alert little girl and loves to smile and laugh. She truly is adorable and we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Approximately one year ago (April 2014) I was getting severe headaches and I attributed it to stress from work, commuting to Kingston, allergies, etc. Then at Easter last year I woke up one morning and started vomiting uncontrollably. I initially thought it was food poisoning. I started to fever and we decided to go to the Emergency Room (here in Kingston). They took my blood pressure and found it was over 200. After many tests (they kept me in the hospital for one week to bring down the blood pressure) they found that my kidneys were operating at only 20%, but they didn’t know if it was due to the hypertension or something else. The kidney specialist determined they needed to take a biopsy of my kidney to determine everything what exactly was present.

The biopsy revealed that my kidneys have a disease called IgA Nephropathy or Berger’s disease and at that time it was at stage 4 (stage 5 being kidney failure). They were, and are still today unaware of the cause of such condition and there is no cure. All they do know is that high blood pressure attributes to the disease and the disease creates high blood pressure. I will let you google for a more detailed description of the disease/condition, what I can share is that my condition is very aggressive, where basically my immune system is killing my kidneys.

That was a year ago and until about two months ago, I was managing/coping with medications to control my blood pressure, a restricted diet, exercise, positive thinking, ceremony, and awareness/research, etc. About two months ago the disease jumped into hyper drive and basically totalled my kidney function. In order to remedy that, it was determined that dialysis was needed and I was immediately admitted for surgery to have a catheter line inserted in my stomach for peritoneal dialysis (PD). Again I will let you google that type of dialysis to obtain furthers details (if you wish) but basically I chose this route because I would be able to do it at home (during night time) and it is a good choice pre kidney transplant.

Since starting PD the dialysis experience hasn’t been the best as the catheter has been moving around too much and therefore the fluid wasn’t draining properly. They found the catheter kept migrating up and not draining. So then it was decided that more surgery was needed to determined the cause of it moving around so much, and felt that they would probably have to “tack it down” to my pelvis to stop it from moving. So as all this was being determined the disease kept on and for safe measures it was determined that I needed some sort of dialysis immediately, so I was admitted (again) for surgery to have a temporary hemodialysis line put in my upper chest/neck area (called a perm cath). So since then (for the past two weeks), I have gone to hemodialysis (at the hospital) three times a week for four hours each time. The catheter in my belly for PD has been completely removed and a new one has been inserted. They are going to try to start PD again next week and hopefully everything works out ok with the newly installed catheter.

I am now at the space of this experience where I have accepted this hard situation and that I can’t do it alone. I need to expand my healing circle and in that regards I am humbly asking for you to help me as much as you can offer. I don’t know how this may unfold, but simply knowing you know this helps greatly. Things happened so rapidly and so many great things were evolving all at once, mostly the coming of my daughter, that focusing on this condition was difficult.

I wish to share that my main goal is to have a kidney transplant within the next year. I am currently on the ‘hunt’ for a living donor. So please (and certainly no pressure) put the word out there. I am searching for a grateful soul to donate a kidney and help me to restore my body balance where it was meant to be and as Creation intended it to be. If you ever come across someone who would be interested, I can give you more information on how to proceed or even give you more information/a brochure, etc. FYI, the blood type doesn’t have to match because they have a system where if you have a donor that has a different blood type, they will find another donor in the same situation and all people can benefit.

Besides that I will be placed on the transplant cadaver list. But such transplant can take years to occur and that’s if you’re lucky. Finding a living donor is my best option. I am currently searching for a grateful soul to donate a kidney so I can return to the balanced being that I am intended to be. If you can, please share this with all you feel should know, please do and may I ask you to put out a request to our Ancestors that would mean the world to me.

Again please forgive me for not sharing more of this sooner but I needed to move down this healing path as I was intended to. It has certainly been a humbling and at times suffering experience, but I can speak today with my chin up and say it has made me stronger and greatly aware of life’s sacred gifts.
– David.

~~~
Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Development On The Chaudière Falls? No!

The Chaudière Falls – so many thoughts come to mind when I see and hear them. ‘The Kettle of Boiling Waters,’ for me, always provokes thoughts of life and its purpose and of the world waiting for us after our hearts have ceased to contract their muscles.

Painting of Chaudière Falls before it was dammed

Painting of Chaudière Falls before it was dammed

Mine is a spirituality which honours sun, earth, wind, and water, for without their presence, human beings could not live. Water; who among us would not give up life and prosperity if doing so confirmed that fresh and pure water would always be present for their future generations? The Chaudière Falls was once a place where people went to pray and make offerings of tobacco, not only to request safe journey on the river but also to pray for the health of the waters everywhere. It is truly sad and disheartening that such rituals and ceremonies no longer occur at the place that was once the most sacred site of my ancestors, the ‘People of the Great River’ (Algonquin).

Today, at a time in history when the voice of ‘money’ is louder and more powerful than ever before, a developer makes plans to construct condos 12-storeys high on a sacred space. Holes will need to be drilled into the shale rock before the foundations of the many high-rises can be poured. The earth will scream in agony and I believe our ancestors too, will sing a long mournful song, released into the wind. But who will hear it? Only the spirit of the Falls. And after the condos are built, who among us possesses the fat bank account necessary to afford a home where a world wonder sits in your backyard?

I beseech you to take the time to go to the Falls, take a long and careful look at the ‘Kettle of Boiling Water’, close your eyes and imagine what it was long ago and what it might be today.

Let us ask ourselves what we lose as a community if condos are built around the Falls. We will miss out on a rare and precious moment in time where we could have created a glue capable of bonding the emotional, psychological, and spiritual domains of the citizens of Ontario and Quebec. As the Falls were long ago, they can once again become a gathering place where all peoples can come to pray, to understand the purpose of life, and to build on things that unite them. Imagine a park which would no doubt become the envy of all world capitals because we are so blessed to have as a neighbour, the Chaudière Falls, a natural world wonder.

Many politicians are nothing more than well-greased mistake-making machines. The mistake they make allowing development around the Chaudière Falls will be a mistake our descendants will condemn all of us for a couple of generations from now. Mark my words!

The common folk should decide what happens to the Falls. Together we must demand a referendum (Ottawa and Gatineau) on whether or not we want condos to be built on land Creator placed on earth to guide our way to a better place after death takes us away. Our sacred sites are not for sale.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

 

Ways to help:
Learn more about Chaudière and the work to stop the condo development at http://freethefalls.ca/
Sign the “Free the Falls” petition

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Invitation: Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Event at Rideau High School

I hope this post finds you well.

After eight extremely busy weeks I was more than worn out. I truly felt like my wings had been clipped and that climbing the sky wasn’t going to happen again for me at least for a while. Luckily I had scheduled my spring fasting ceremony to begin last Wednesday (May 6th). What an amazingly spiritually enriching time I had among the trees. I now feel refreshed and reinvigorated. I recommend fasting for all who search to find their purpose as a human being. Be it ever so humble, there is no place like the soul. My experiences at the fasting site were many but one in particular jumped out at me.

As I was sitting in my forest circle, I saw all around me the leaves fallen from the trees last autumn. They lay on the forest floor, rust-coloured and brittle, maple leaves, oak leaves, yellow birch and elm leaves. Their tips clutching those of the leaves around them. In life, they had sung their own unique songs. The tree unto which they were attached proudly displayed them for all to see. The leaves waved to their neighbours day and night. All was well.

Now in death, they lay side by side, returning to the earth that gave them life. The brush of the wind brings forth a song from them. Together at last, in a hauntingly beautiful symphony. I meditated on this for a long time. And after I did so, I lit my pipe and smoked a bowl full of sacred tobacco in thanksgiving of another teaching being added to my bundle.

Aboriginal Lecture Series Invitation May 21 2015Now that I’m back, I want to share with you that TRC Commissioner Dr. Marie Wilson will be at Rideau High School, 815 St. Laurent Blvd. in Ottawa, on May 21st. Please click here to read and share the flyer.

As an activist and as a human being, I am requesting your presence at this event. Dr. Marie Wilson will make an hour-long presentation about TRC. The coordinators of the event need you to be there. Please show your support. Wawatay Catering will be there. There is no charge. All are welcome.

SEE YOU THERE.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Healing Heartache

As weightless fluffy flakes of snow slowly tumble from the windless sky to form their own distinctive layer on the already snow-covered frozen earth, I find myself in deep meditation of the heart beating in my chest. I marvel at the power of my heart in its amazing ability to receive or reject the music of life offered to it by the world we live in! The musical notes it can find harmony with, it allows to enter its domain, the notes “out of key” with its own song, it rejects! Over the course of our lives we demand much of our poor hearts. A heart beating in the chest of a human being who has suffered greatly, truly is a survivor in every sense of the word.

A young couple may enjoy many good and happy memories together but then something gives way in the relationship and “WHAM”, in a heartbeat it’s all over but the crying. Some might describe such an experience as “heartbreaking”. I’ve been there and I wouldn’t say “broken-hearted” would best describe what I went through! The feeling for me was more in line with imagining that the bottom of my heart had opened up and all the joyful memories connected to the person no longer in my life, came pouring out, like apples from a bushel basket whose straw underside had suddenly let go in the hands of a picker. The laughter we shared, the support and solidarity, the love and counsels, the intimacy and trust, all of it gone forever. I’ve felt as if my heart no longer existed, only a void remained where it had been. An empty space as big as the sky without even a small island within it where peace and recovery might occur.

Such a feeling is not unique to the ending of a relationship involving lovers, it is similar in many ways to what is felt when a dearly loved relative dies. A parent or sibling, a beloved grandparent, a death sometimes creates anguish so severe we’re left wondering if we will survive.

Creator has not left us helpless however, we do have the strength to eventually come to terms with the loss we have experienced and to pick ourselves up and continue to move forward with our lives. If ever there was a reason to bring spiritual beliefs into our lives, it is after our hearts have been left feeling empty and barely alive.

winter(1)Spirituality allows us to shed heartache no matter how many layers of it might exist for us. Like the snow falling now, it will have its place in the many other storms which will occur before spring arrives. But no matter the thickness of the snowbank at the end of winter, the new season will render it down until no sign of snow is left to knock us off balance. The heart recovers likewise!

Why am I writing such a blog? I’m not sure, it’s just the way I’m feeling today. Be kind to your hearts, feed your heart with prayers, nurture it with good songs. Blessings to all.

Keep the Circle Strong,
Albert “South Wind” Dumont.

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Where’s the Snow?

Where’s the snow? What effect would a snowless winter have on the plants, birds and animals of our territory? My beekeeper friend also farms garlic. The crop won’t do well if snow doesn’t come soon, he tells me. Garlic needs insulation!

I know that the partridge needs snowdrifts to dig into to find himself a cozy spot to wait out a spell of bitter cold temperatures. The rabbit needs snow to establish his trail (runway). He follows it for the duration of the season to assure his survival!

My mother used to say that a stretch of bitter cold is needed now and then over the course of the winter. Kills the cold and flu viruses running amok, she claimed. Makes sense!

It seems to me that this winter is gearing up to be a doozy where misery brought on by sickness is concerned. Everywhere I go I hear noses being honked, wheezing throats being cleared, spitting, groans and moans, left, right and centre. All this even with the amazing cure-all, better known as the ‘flu shot’ (never got one myself). I just hope it all stays under control.

One of the things I hate to see is a child, especially those from infant to toddler age, worn out by a bad cold or flu. I feel so bad, I’d take it from them and bring it to myself to deal with if I could. At least I’d know what was going on, they don’t. No child should suffer!

winter forestBecause there is little snow, I was able to get into my camp from the road just a few days ago. The kilometre-long walk in was nice, I moved slowly along, hoping to catch a glimpse of deer or any of the other forest dwelling creatures. Had no luck with that, but I was fascinated by the evidence I saw of how busy the bush is when human beings aren’t around sending out their negative energy, causing animals to run for safety. The little snow which remained in the forest had plenty of animal tracks on it. I saw deer, raccoon, rabbit and squirrel footprints. They are easily identified, even for a city-Indian such as I. There was an impression in the snow however, I could not figure out. An animal with feet as big in the front legs as are the ones in the back legs, made them. The tracks were about 3/4 the size of my fist with long nails protruding from each toe. I asked myself if they might be wolverine. I don’t know! I’ll ask around though and if one of the community’s trappers tells me it is one, I’ll be happy indeed. The wolverine is a creature of myth and legend. He is awesome in strength and spirit. I wouldn’t mind roaming the woods as one of them at some point in another life. If it is a wolverine, I hope he does me a favour and persuades a large squirrel colony wreaking havoc at my camp to steal away from my cabin and set up housekeeping elsewhere.

I take prayer seriously. And yeah, I’ll be putting my tobacco down so the snow will come. Not too much of it, and not at times when our good people will be placed in harm’s way on the roadways, but the right amount nature needs to make this winter a good one.

Please stay safe and be extra cautious while working and playing on the ice and snow. It’s a new year, keep in mind the power of prayer. Let’s access that power and keep our loved ones free of severe sickness and be safe this winter. Why not vow to offer up prayer for health and wellness for our family and community throughout 2015.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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