Update On Marlene Carter

I have just been notified that Marlene Carter has experienced another incident of self-injury. It occurred on Thursday, February 4th of last week. Marlene was in the confines of her seclusion cell when she began striking her head on the floor. It had been a long time since her last episode of self-injury (early January 2015). Am I surprised this has happened? Not in the least! What surprises me is the length of time she lasted in seclusion (over 3 months) before she totally mentally collapsed. I expect I would have been banging my head, screaming and climbing the walls after only a month of being forced to endure the type of solitary confinement poor Marlene was subjected to. Make no mistake, seclusion for long periods of time is torture in every sense of the word. Who the hell can emotionally tolerate it for long periods of time? I guess only heroes in books and movies. The rest of us don’t have a chance!

Example of seclusion room in BC. Full Article on Solitary Confinement:  http://bit.ly/1T3PEen

Example of seclusion room in BC. Full Article on Solitary Confinement: http://bit.ly/1T3PEen

The time has come for new mental health practices to be developed into how our citizens overtaken by mental illness, are treated. Tying them down is not the answer, neither is keeping them in restraints or locking them away in an 8’ x 10’ seclusion room. No one wants to be overcome with a mental illness. No parent wants to see a son or daughter caught in the space of relentless fog and confusion of mental illness. Are we not duty-bound as human beings to treat our citizens suffering in such a way with compassion and understanding? Are we being tested? What will it signal to Creator when no one no longer cares?

I’m not advocating for the coddling and pampering of people whose minds are lost in a whirlwind. I’m only stating a fact: empathy, trust and patience is what will work best in returning victims of mental illness to some kind of existence where a purpose of life for them will be served.

The rally for Marlene begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 11th. Women of the Ottawa community are stepping forward to support a Cree Anishinabe Kwe (Marlene Carter) with drumming and songs. Speeches will be given and our message of “End Seclusion Now” will be heard across this country. We must not let Marlene Carter down. Bring your placard. Make your statement. Make time for this event.

Try to be at the protest site at 1831 Oxford Ave., Brockville by 9:45 a.m. The directions are as follows (from Hwy. 401): Take North Augusta exit, stay on N. Augusta Road until you reach King St. E. Turn left and go straight until Oxford Ave. Turn left and continue to the entrance of the Secure Treatment Unit.

I will be in Brockville early at Winniebee’s Cafe, 23 King St. West at 9 a.m. I’ll see you at the protest site at 9:45 a.m.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind

FB Eventhttp://on.fb.me/1ZXzNOG
Press Releasehttp://bit.ly/1Q74P7x

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Press Release: Protest Calls For End To Inhumane Treatment Of Mentally-Ill First Nations Woman

For Immediate Release – 9 February 2016, Ottawa, Canada

Protest Calls For End To Inhumane Treatment Of Mentally-Ill First Nations Woman

What: Rally for Marlene Carter: End the Use of Seclusion!
Where: Brockville Mental Health Centre, 1831 Oxford Ave, Brockville, ON
When: 10:00-11:00am on Thursday February 11th, 2016

Marlene Carter, a First Nations woman (Onion Lake Cree Nation, Sask.) has been held in seclusion at the Brockville Mental Health Centre, Forensic Treatment Unit, since autumn of last year. For Ms. Carter, seclusion (solitary confinement) means a tiny 8’ x 10’ room containing a cot and a sink/toilet, no TV or radio or internet, no tea or coffee, no shower privileges, no right to a smudging ceremony (spirituality), no right to private one-on-one counsel with her spiritual advisor, no right to spend even one precious minute outdoors. It also means limited access to the phone.

Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and professor of law at the University of Ottawa, has known Ms. Carter for nearly two decades and says, “Like so many other women, especially Indigenous women and those with disabling mental health issues, Marlene should be in the community – her community of support – with supportive and therapeutic resources, not in isolated and dehumanizing conditions of confinement. The monies being used to keep Marlene in such isolation should be invested in the community and utilized to provide appropriate therapeutic supports with and for Marlene. Prisons are not and can not be treatment centres!”

Elder Albert Dumont (Kitigan Zibi, QC) has served as Ms. Carter’s spiritual advisor for the past year beginning in January 2015, approximately 6 months after she arrived in Brockville. He is leading a rally outside the Brockville Mental Health Centre at 10am on Thursday, February 11th to demand that Ms. Carter be released from seclusion. The rally will condemn the use of seclusion for long periods of time against any Canadian, regardless of cultural background, anywhere in the nation’s prison system.

The Current Situation at Brockville Mental Health Centre

Marlene was transferred from Saskatchewan to the Brockville Mental Health Centre Forensic Treatment Unit in the summer of 2014. At the request of the Brockville therapeutic staff, Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont began to visit Ms. Carter regularly as her spiritual advisor in January 2015. They were allowed to sit outdoors and smudge, something Marlene had not been permitted to do for a number of years. Mr. Dumont witnessed an amazing transformation, with Ms. Carter going from a mind-frame of mistrust and inner rage to becoming calm and hopeful. He also observed that she was intelligent and soft spoken. But by the fall of 2015 she deteriorated once more after Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT’) was imposed on her against her will. A series of assaults followed soon thereafter, leaving staff members shaken and fearful. There are still two outstanding charges for her assaults on staff members, one as recent as Jan. 6.

Mr. Dumont believes that Ms. Carter’s traumatic past combined with the way she is currently being treated are responsible for any regression Ms. Carter has experienced.

“Marlene Carter is neither a criminal nor is she a rabid dog,” states Mr. Dumont. “For most of her adult life, especially the past 7 years, she has been treated as one or the other by Canada’s mental health system and by our justice system. She is a woman whose mind has been devastated by a mental illness brought down on her by the unspeakable traumas of her past. She should be treated with kindness, patience, compassion and proper medication until she recovers to find peace of mind and can live a life worth living supported by her family and community.”

Mr. Dumont also wants to draw attention to the fact that numerous reports and studies confirm that no one – in particular those with mental health issues – should be subjected to seclusion (solitary confinement).

The Ontario Review Board determined in January that Ms. Carter should be returned to Saskatchewan to be closer to her community and family. However, she is still being kept in seclusion and the date has not been set for when she will return to Saskatchewan. At the very least, she should not endure seclusion while she waits to go home.

– 30 –

Contacts

Albert Dumont, info.albert.dumont [@] gmail.com

Julie Comber (bilingual), info.albert.dumont [@] gmail.com

Background on Marlene Carter

Ms. Carter was sexually and physically abused as an infant and throughout her childhood. Due to the abuse, Marlene attempted suicide on a number of occasions.

The mental and spiritual downward spiral that lead to much of Ms. Carter’s adult life being spent in institutions began with a conviction in 1999 for non-violent offences. She was sentenced to nine months, but an assault with a weapon while incarcerated extended her sentence until 2003. She was then convicted of several assaults on correctional officers and inmates in 2004. She was in and out of custody on breaches until 2006. In 2009, she was convicted of several assaults on peace officers and a stranger in the community. She received a 30-month sentence, but further assaults while incarcerated extended her sentence until 2014.

From 2009 to 2014, Ms. Carter was in Saskatoon’s Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC). She began hearing voices instructing her to bash her head against the floor or other hard surfaces. RPC responded by keeping her in restraints for so long her muscles atrophied, leaving her unable to stand or walk on her own.

In 2014, Saskatchewan tried to have Ms. Carter designated a dangerous offender. The judge did not label her a dangerous offender, and instead stated she should be transferred to a mental health facility that would focus on supporting her mental health.

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Stand Up For Marlene Carter

What a miserable season it must be in the life of a human being to have to sit, through the use of force, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month in the same spot with absolutely nothing to do. Imagine as days and weeks pass, not even being able to look forward to washing your body under the water of a bath or shower. Such has been life for Marlene Carter since last October. Her only crime is having the misfortune to be stricken with a mental illness brought down on her because of the unspeakable traumas of her past. The people inflicting ‘seclusion’ on Marlene would likely tell us that they have ‘sound’ reasons for doing so. But where is the common sense or the humanity in placing her in a small (8’ x 10’) room, without TV or radio, no right to tea or coffee, no smudging or one-on-one counsels with her spiritual advisor, for months on end. Why do they not understand that seclusion for long periods of time is something guaranteed to build rage? Where would their breaking point be if they, themselves, had to endure it?

When will Marlene be free of seclusion?

I worry that if these human rights abuses continue, Marlene will be driven to the point of no return so far as her mental health is concerned. There certainly will arrive a time when her mind will no longer be able to tolerate what is happening to it and crumble under the abuse. We cannot allow this to happen. We need to rally in support of Marlene before it’s too late. She deserves a chance to have a life worth living.

Marlene’s favourite song is ‘Rebel Yell’ by Billy Idol. There is a line in the song that tells it all about Marlene Carter. The words of the song say, “She don’t like slavery, she won’t sit and beg.” Marlene will never under any circumstances ‘beg’ any authority in the physical domain for anything and because she refuses to do so doesn’t mean she is unfit to enjoy the human rights the rest of us take for granted.

I wrote the poem ‘Voices’ for Marlene after she had begun healing because of getting brief access to the outdoors after many years of not being allowed outside.

Voices
Inspired by and dedicated to Marlene Carter
by Albert Dumont ©

The voices
Of birds, rapids and leaves
The songs
Of spirits emitting from the land
The whispers of ancestors
Promising, love for you will never die

These voices
Call to you, to be at peace
And to extend lovingly, a gentle hand
Surround yourself with their healing, wrapped
In a blanket lifted from the earth
Made of your birth season’s medicines

And those voices from the dark
Which call to you
To bring forth rage and mistrust
Banish them forever from your mind

Your prayers are strong, dance spiritually
With them in Creator’s love
Your drumbeat and soul
Now gentle as a baby’s heart
You stand in beauty, with the voices
Of birds, rapids and leaves

The protest on the 11th of February, beginning at 10 a.m., is about stopping ‘seclusion’, not just against Marlene Carter, but stopping it from being used against any Canadian regardless of their cultural background. Take the time to stand with us. Let’s make the world a better place.

Keep the Circle Strong,
Albert ‘South Wind’ Dumont

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A Call for Action: Rally for Marlene Carter on 11 February

Marlene Carter, a First Nations woman (Cree, Onion Lake, SK) is still being held in seclusion at the Brockville Mental Health Centre Forensic Treatment Unit after being confined there in the autumn of last year.

Why is Marlene in seclusion for so long? Is it some kind of a monstrous act of revenge on Marlene by the Ministry of Labour for her assaults on nurses which incidentally began after she was subjected to electric shock treatments? Marlene warned at the time, “If you do that to me (ECT’s), I’ll bite you, kick you, punch you, I don’t want them.” Someone needs to investigate to what extent the Ministry of Labour is involved in Marlene’s care. Make no mistake, the Ministry is playing a role, a big one, in how a mentally ill First Nations woman is being treated in Ontario. When the hell did our healthcare system sink to that level? This is an outrage!

I have had the honour and privilege in the last year to get to know Marlene Carter, a human being I believe is the most spiritually strong and most spiritually beautiful woman I have ever known in my life. Marlene Carter is extraordinary in so many ways. She has survived where most, if not all of us, would not have. Marlene is like that little bird who had the misfortune to get lost in the eye of a storm and carried far, far away into a strange and frightening place (her mental illness). Balance for Marlene needs to be regained. It takes time. Her mind needs to adjust and recover from many years of abuse. Marlene Carter was scooped up by that storm not once but numerous times over the course of her tortuous life.

Marlene needs to get back to Saskatchewan where she’ll have the love and support of her family and community by her side to help her recover from over 7 years of being emotionally, psychologically and spiritually abused by Canada’s mental health system. The way she has been treated by a warped, spiritless system is NOT our way. Who in their right mind would think that the taking of a First Nations woman and placing her into seclusion, a tiny room 8’ x 10’ containing a cot and a sink/toilet for months on end is something of health to the human mind? Seclusion means no TV or radio, no shower privileges (she is given a sponge), no right to a smudging ceremony, no right to a private one-on-one counsel with her spiritual advisor (me), no right to spend even one precious minute outdoors. She is in that deplorable, wretched little room for 24 hours a day most if not all of the days of a week.

I am proposing a protest. A call to action. Let us gather in Brockville on Thursday, February 11, from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. with placards in hand and rally outside the Brockville Mental Health Centre. Will you join me? I need to hear from you. The human rights of an Anishnabe Kwe are being abused. Are we going to do something about it? Yes or no? We need big numbers of people to show up for this protest. Let us know if you want to sign on. We’ll need cars to carry protestors to Brockville. We’ll need bristol board for placards. Contact Julie Comber at info.albert.dumont@gmail.com if you wish to commit to this. If you are on Facebook, here is the event to RSVP: http://on.fb.me/1ZXzNOG

I’ll keep you all posted.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind

 

To learn more about Marlene’s case, please see:

http://aptn.ca/news/2016/01/20/how-the-federal-government-failed-marlene-carter-one-of-the-most-dangerous-female-inmates-in-canada/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/marlene-carter-brockville-saskatchewan-mental-health-1.3412228

http://globalnews.ca/news/1600745/crown-fights-to-designate-mentally-ill-suicidal-inmate-dangerous-offender/

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The Circle, Power and Healing

If you agree it is a good idea, then please come to take your place in the circle next Saturday, November 21st at 10 a.m. The circle will take place in the park across from North River Road and Prince Albert Street (near Queen Mary). Our purpose? To take a few moments out of your life to express in a circle and to Mino Manido, the Good Spirit, why you support development at Asinabka or why you oppose it. What you express will be your prayer and truth. Your soul and heart, communication to Creator what your definition of spirituality is.

We will speak with honour and humility in our hearts. No one need worry of ridicule or condemnation of any kind for expressing their view. What each of us share will be for our relatives and spirit helpers in the land of our ancestors to weigh and react to.

This is an opportunity for all of us to pray together and to feel free to speak our minds in a good way so we will find peace and understanding with all. And for our community to remain strong and united tomorrow for the sake of our future generations.

Let me know if you are interested in attending. Bring a tobacco tie and a chair. The circle will end with a feast. Please bring your own plates, cups and cutlery.

Please RSVP to info.albert.dumont@gmail.com.

All the best,
South Wind

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Spirit of Asinabka

Albert & William Commanda at a rally to protect the South March Highlands, 2011

Albert & William Commanda at a rally to protect the South March Highlands, 2011

After a friendly discussion with Romola, I will, hence of this day, when speaking of our most sacred site on the Grand River of the Anishinabe Kichesipirini Nation (Algonquin), refer to said place as Asinabka. It is a word which translates to ‘Place of Glare Rock’ in the language of my noble forebears. Deceased Elder and Spiritual Guide of many thousands of people, William Commanda who lived to be 97 years of age, knew our sacred place to be called Asinabka. Out of respect and to honour Morning Star (William Commanda) whose vision we stand in defence of, we should embrace the name Asinabka when referring to Victoria, Albert, and Chaudière Islands and Chaudière Falls. Let us be united in this, so as not to be bothersome to our cause. For some of the good people who protest the disfigurement of a sacred place to claim they defend Asinabka and another group of allies to call the same space Akikodjiwan, only serves to confuse our supporters.

Asinabka has been lost to us for too long. Let us look to the teachings of the turtle, bear and hawk for guidance on how we should proceed from here to retrieve it. If we are always sensible with our plans and push forward slowly and cautiously and soar with joy in our hearts as we celebrate even the smallest of victories by acknowledging spirit, we will overcome the power and influence of money and win out at the end of the day. Let us trust in Creator and in all things of creation to inspire and motivate us.

Hundreds of years ago, before settlers from Europe arrived, Asinabka brought healing and hope to the Peoples. The energy of the waters there carried our songs of honour and praise for all things Creator placed here, into the valleys and hills of our territories so all life could find peace and joy in it. Only kind spirits emitting goodness and health danced in the wind around the Falls of Asinabka at that precious time of our past. How can anyone not want to restore such a place today, as all of us can gain from it again, emotionally and spiritually?

I remember myself as a troubled young man, my mind empty back then of thoughts of wonder at what is the purpose of life, my heart hollow of spiritual substances, my spirit in a constant state of despair, feeling helpless because of not knowing what to do to assist my physical self in regaining my balance. I was lost in my state of confusion. My heart, mind and spirit were unable to show me the true glory of what it is to be a human being. In how many ways would Asinabka have helped me back then? I am not sure of the answer, I only know that within the spirit and energy of its sacredness, the life of a reckless and wild young man who did not care whether he lived or died would have changed for the better. He would have shunned a wasteful and destructive lifestyle and become a good son of his nation long before I did in the early autumn of my years.

I learned long ago that a young man with a chip on his shoulder and a 40 pounder of Canadian Club are two things which just don’t mix. When the two get together, there will most certainly be hell to pay. Two more things which don’t mix with any more promise than that, so far as I’m concerned, is money and sacredness. It is impossible to mix the two. Those who try, will find that the devil will sooner or later, take time to collect his due. To see the proof of this, only look at the world’s history, recent and ancient.

For Windmill to tell us, “Oh yes, there will be a piece of space at Zibi left open for spirituality,” is like the carnival barker who shouts to the rube, “The cost? Just one dollar, my friend, even if you miss your shot you win this wonderful kewpie doll, no one loses here,” except for one thing, the carny paid only 10¢ for each of the dolls the suckers have just paid one dollar to ‘win’.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind

What you can do to help protect our sacred site:
-> Read, act upon, and share this call for support from Four Algonquin Communities: http://bit.ly/1RJB5d2
-> Sign and share this petition: http://chn.ge/1VB6x3w

Prayer and opening for 13 Nov "Anishnabe Cultural Demo to Protect our Sacred Site"

Prayer and opening for 13 Nov “Anishnabe Cultural Demo to Protect our Sacred Site,” on Victoria Island (Asinabka)

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Zibi Condo Sales – A Clarification

I want to clarify here and now to readers of my blog that I do not feel I was badly treated by anyone last Saturday, November 7, while participating in a protest at the Zibi condo sales site. Jeff Westeinde and Wanda Thusky were gracious, polite and exhibited no signs of disrespect to me whatsoever. I shook hands with both Jeff and Wanda. There are no ill feelings between us so far as I am concerned. (Here is the Citizen article with the video about the encounter.) I do not see the pro-Zibi supporters, whoever they are, as my enemies. They do what they believe is the best for the Algonquin Nation. It is their right to do so and I respect that fact. I ask only that my right to object is also respected by them. I wish all Algonquin Peoples well. There is no cause or issue which would ever make me condemn them.

As a long time human-rights activist (since 1993), I have seen many times when the cause at hand was placed on the back burner while personal attacks, destructive to both the opposing and pro camps, took the forefront. When a cause goes into such an area it signals a mistake so great that it brings suffering even to the kind and supportive spirits in the outer world. Let us tread carefully in the future. There is no need for name-calling or personal attacks. We are, after all, a community, and however things play out with Asinabka (Akikodjiwan), we will have no choice but to live together as friends, associates, and neighbours. Let us place wisdom and tolerance in the forefront of our actions and wish each other wellness.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

What you can do to help protect our sacred site:
-> Read, act upon, and share this call for support from Four Algonquin Communities: http://bit.ly/1RJB5d2
-> Sign and share this petition: http://chn.ge/1VB6x3w

Douglas Cardinal & myself after our peaceful encounter with Windmill supporters

Douglas Cardinal & myself after our peaceful encounter with Windmill supporters

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Zibi Condo Sales – An Objection

Thanking the youngest picketer

Thanking the youngest picketer

It was important for me, as an Algonquin, to stand yesterday (Nov. 7) with the good people who object to the planned destruction of Asinabka (Akikodjiwan), our ancient sacred space, at the ‘Zibi’ sales site (3 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Québec). I wanted my protest to be documented so my grandchildren’s grandchildren will know something about me which will spiritually endear them to me long after the drumming of my heart has disappeared forever from this domain. My many faults are what they are. Like all of us I need a place to heal from a world, often seemingly to me, gone totally mad.

Asinabka (Akikodjiwan), our most sacred site, was stolen from us at a time when no one except the good spirit Mino Manido and Creator cared what the Algonquins had to say about it. We are told over and over again in recent times that a “new relationship of honour and mutual respect is at hand” between us, the First Nations and the settler communities. If Canadians are OK with a sacred site such as Asinabka (Akikodjiwan) being violated in the most despicable manner by the construction of highrise buildings upon it, then their warped definition of ‘reconciliation’ is very different than mine. My mind is not strong enough to even imagine what will be lost to us spiritually if highrises do end up getting built there. I only know with all certainty that our future generations, yours and mine, will suffer the most because of us allowing a place of prayer and ceremony to be raped before our very eyes.

Akikodjiwan_7Nov2015

Akikodjiwan. Will we choose profit or sacredness?

I stand in full support with Algonquin elder Evelyn Commanda’s statement, “Mother Earth is not for sale. If someone was to offer me all the money around the world, no.” Money is nice to have, but when we see our children’s minds swallowed up and destroyed by technology or see them hopelessly addicted to a party and drug lifestyle, what good will money do us then? Would we spread money on the floor and roll in it in the hope of it bringing us peace? When we replace a spiritual base, the natural thing to do on our earth walk, with the one laid before us like a snake in the throes of anguish by the almighty dollar, we will find at the end of our time what a terrible mistake we made. What explanation will we give? “I did it for the money” won’t impress anyone in the land of our noble forebears!

I find the strength occasionally to travel into the swirling darkness, where my life’s most painful memories live like grotesque birds waiting for the opportunity to consume what is left of my sanity. God knows I was brought to the edge of mental breakdown many times by what severe alcohol addiction and the acts connected to it did to my mind. What I survived is not something I ever want my descendants to experience. The spiritual beliefs of my beautiful ancestors saved my life and I became a fit parent because of it. I want spirituality, and the healing it can do, to be there for my loved ones, now, always and forevermore. Akikodjiwan must return again to us as a place of sacredness.

This is what I would have told the people in the Zibi sales office (sales staff and potential buyers) had I had the opportunity to do so. But when Douglas Cardinal and I, two old men, made our way towards the building housing Zibi’s sales office, we were blockaded by Zibi owners, the police, and members of the Memengweshii Council (see the second video on the page, titled “Protesters and Zibi employees share their views”). Still, the experience was worthwhile. Next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I call on our supporters to come out. This is just too important. If you really care about the spiritual wellness of our future generations, then take the time to make a stand.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

What you can do to help protect our sacred site:
-> Read, act upon, and share this call for support from Four Algonquin Communities: http://bit.ly/1RJB5d2
-> Sign and share this petition: http://chn.ge/1VB6x3w

9 Nov Update: I posted “A Clarification” here. Please read it. I did not feel disrespected on Nov 7. And I hope everyone, regardless of their views on the future of our sacred site, will be treated with respect.  There is no need for personal attacks.

Douglas Cardinal & myself after our peaceful encounter with Windmill supporters

Douglas Cardinal & myself after our peaceful encounter with Windmill supporters

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Asinabka (Akikodjiwan)

If at the end of it all, condos 12 storeys high do get erected at Asinabka (Chaudière Falls and its Islands), it will be a great setback to plans honourable people have made in bringing a sensible and lasting process of reconciliation between our country’s Indigenous Peoples and its settler communities. How will we reconcile then, after such an outrage? It will only prove that the overtures of reconciliation made by our political representatives (federal, provincial, municipal) were only sugar-coated words without real empathy attached to them. It will make us (Indigenous Peoples) doubt that reconciliation will ever occur, for our spirituality was our ‘way of life’ long ago and we need to return it as such today. It will also signal to the world that Canada’s claim to be a beacon from which other countries can learn why and how they should protect the human rights of their Peoples is nothing more than a half-baked dirty joke here in the never-surrendered land of the Algonquin Anishinabeg.

Prayer Ribbons on Victoria IslandWe have a right as human beings to access a circle containing the many things we believe are sacred to us. The circle, which we enter with humility and peaceful hearts, is the keeper of all life thriving in the fields and forests of our territories. It is a place where we go to pray for the health of the winds and waters our children must breathe and consume to assure these things will be there for them, all the seasons of their lives. And it is where ceremonies are done to honour the rising sun for the richness of light and warmth it gifts to the land. Our circle holds special places for human beings to go to, such as where the trees grow and the birds sing, so they can communicate to Creator through honour songs their respect for all which has been placed here for human beings to live well. There is no place more sacred in my ancestral land than Asinabka (Akikodjiwan). People have gathered there at the waterfall since time immemorial to better themselves in their spirituality. In a weakened state we were driven from Akikodjiwan by land-hungry settlers. No one among them spoke for us. The only voices heard were those of men who encouraged abuse upon abuse of our rights as human beings on our own land.

Our human rights – to what limit would we go to defend them? What Canadian with a righteous heart would sit idly by as the basic human rights of their fellow citizens were being trampled by municipal, provincial or federal governments? The greatest right we have is the right to have ready and open access to a site we believe is integral to our spiritual wellbeing.

Our right as human beings is to a circle which surrounds the sacred circles of our spiritual beliefs. When we fail to realize this, we prove that the warmth of the scriptures of our holy books cannot lower the temperature found in the coldness of our hearts and we must then ask ourselves why this is so.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

What you can do:
-> Read, act upon, and share this call for support from Four Algonquin Communities: http://bit.ly/1RJB5d2
-> Sign and share this petition: http://chn.ge/1VB6x3w

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Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there lived an emperor who believed himself heaven sent by God to look after the needs of the richest and most powerful men of the land. The emperor’s castle had many rooms, all of them filled with a vast selection of mirrors. In the second greatest room of the castle (the first grandest room was reserved for the emperor himself) there lived the emperor’s sorcerers. The sorcerers were many. In fact, there were as many sorcerers in the castle as there were mirrors. The sorcerers’ attire consisted of a long flowing gown with deep, deep pockets. The pockets were filled with small dime-sized balls. When thrown by a sorcerer, the balls, on contact with the floor, would explode, filling any hall with a thick mesmerizing purple smoke. On command of the emperor, the sorcerers would leave the castle, each carrying a mirror and go out into the towns and villages where the common folks lived. The common folk would gather around a sorcerer whom they themselves had voted in to represent them at the castle, to hear what good news he might have to report. “My dear friends,” the sorcerer would say (always the same), “all is well, your tax dollars are being well spent.” Before any of the common folk could demand an explanation of what that actually meant, the sorcerer would quickly throw one of his balls to the ground and quick as lightning the space would fill with smoke. The sorcerer would then hold up his mirror, rocking it back and forth in the purple smoke, causing the smoke to sway like an intoxicated dancer. “Abra Gazoo, I fooled you!” he would chant over and over again. The common folk would leave the gathering space at that point, dazed, eyes drooping but happy as larks, and heaping praise to God at being blessed with having such a good sorcerer to represent them at the castle.

But enough about Stephen Harper and his caucus. He has taken the Omnibus to Kokomo. “See you later,” he said as he boarded the bus, “not if I see you first,” responded I.

Let’s vow today to demand that our politicians represent us in an honourable way. Our concerns for the wellbeing of our families and for new immigrants must be addressed. “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian” as Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail. The earth under our feet and the life in the forests of our country must be kept healthy. The waters must be fit to drink and the winds clean enough to take into our lungs. Our basic human right to access a spiritual belief we feel will guide us to a place of equality and wellness after we leave the world of technology must be protected at all cost.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to be made aware immediately about the plan of developers to destroy the sacred Chaudière Falls site. For many thousands of years, Chaudière Falls was sacred to the First Peoples of the Ottawa region. What a great act of reconciliation it would be if parliament decreed that the falls and islands live again as a sacred place of healing, not only for us, the Algonquin, but for all Canadians. Let us write to the Prime Minister and advocate for this.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind

What you can do:
->Sign and share this petition to Trudeau and Federal Party Leaders
->Watch and share this video, which advocates retuning the Chaudière Falls site to indigenous stewardship as an act of reconciliation:

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