Nuclear Waste in Algonquin Territory – I Pray NOT

“The Kichi Zibi (Ottawa River) is as much part of my identity as is the blood travelling through the vessels of my heart. The many places on the Kichi Zibi where spirits are active, reach deep into my soul with their healing energy when I go to its shore and make a request through a tobacco offering, for it do so.

When my physical life ends, my spirit will continue to live on in a sacred land where the waters of Kichi Zibi flow eternal, strong, pure and free and be ever present for me.”

The above words are for me, a spiritual reality as an Anishinabe Algonquin man. All Algonquins should feel the same way. Actually, if it was up to me, all good people living  within the perimeters of the Ottawa River watershed (Algonquin Territory) today, would feel as I do about the Kichi Zibi. No matter the colour of their skin, no matter where the beginnings of their bloodlines are, they have much to lose as a community and as a society, if some kind of catastrophe ever befalls the Kichi Zibi.

A nuclear waste dump in Anishinabe Algonquin Territory? I’ll tell you what I know about it.

18 years ago an ‘elder’ from Manitoba (I knew only slightly at the time) contacted me via a phone call and let me know that representatives of a nuclear waste organization were hoping to have a meeting with me. When I asked what it was about, the elder replied that he wasn’t sure but urged me to oblige the nuclear waste people with their meeting request. I did!

The meeting was in a suite of an Ottawa hotel. As I recall, there were three representatives of the nuclear waste group present in the room, two men and one woman. All of them unknown to me. They let me know it was their hope that I would endorse their plan of building a nuclear waste dump in Algonquin Territory.

Keep in mind that this was 18 years ago, shortly after I was first asked to attend the Kumik Lodge as a visiting elder. Also, at the time, I was already established in the territory as a human being who dedicated many hours of his life to activism. I suspect that these are likely the reasons why the nuclear waste people thought it important to have my support.

I let them know right away that not I, nor any other Algonquin, male or female, young or old, would ever endorse any plan to have a nuclear waste dump to be constructed on our traditional lands. They asked about gifts. “What gift,” they wanted to know, “might be given to leaders of the Algonquin Nation to persuade them to sign up with their plan?” – “No Chief will ever agree to nuclear waste being brought into our lands,” is what I told them.

To be truthful, I really don’t know much about nuclear energy. However, I do know what the word ‘waste’ is connected to. ‘Excrement’ is ‘waste’. It is poison! I don’t want excrement ending up in the Kichi Zibi. And I do not want nuclear waste in it either.

Fast forward 18 years and lo and behold, a nuclear waste dump is at this time, been given to go-ahead in Chalk River, Ontario, Algonquin Territory. The Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) are supporting it. A ceremony was held at the site not long ago. A man, (wearing a ribbon shirt) Dan Ross who identifies as an Algonquin elder, was there with representatives of the AOO (see photo). The AOO have even given the nuclear waste site a name: ‘Minwamon Building’.

The leadership at Pikwàkanagàn is supporting the plan for a major nuclear waste disposal site to be built in Anishinabe territory (Chalk River, ON). All other Bands who make up the Nation are against it. It makes my blood boil that one Algonquin community can decide to stand in support of a deal which can potentially, at some point in the future, kill the waters of Kichi Zibi. Did the Algonquin Nation give the Chief and Band Council of Pikwàkanagàn that kind of power? No, it did not! So where the hell do they get off doing it? The leadership at Pikwàkanagàn does not speak for me nor for all other Algonquins of our Nation. I wonder how the citizens of Pikwàkanagàn feel about what their Chief and Band Council are getting them into?

Chalk River is in an earthquake zone! It is very likely that there will come a time in the future when the earth will tremble violently around where the nuclear waste dump is, causing the walls of the storage place to crack. The waste will then surely make its way to the Kichi Zibi (only a kilometre away). Such a catastrophe might happen! If I’m wrong, tell me where I am!

Do they (nuclear waste people) know with all certainty that it will never happen? Fifty years from now? A hundred years from now? When it does and I believe it surely will, the people of our bloodlines living at that time in the future, will condemn us, their ancestors, for not stopping this project to be built.

I object to this project taking place. I condemn it! My spirit instructs me to do so as well. Can we even continue to call ourselves Anishinabe Algonquin if we do not at least vigorously protest the bringing of nuclear waste into our territory? The setter community needs to fight this, too.

Only our people who respect the notion that ‘water is life’ will not be OK with the nuclear waste dump being built on Algonquin Territory.

We should file a class action lawsuit against the Province of Ontario and the nuclear waste company for bringing poison near the Kichi Zibi.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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My Bloodline is Strong

Years ago, when I was still “working the trowel” (bricklaying), on a fine summer day I found myself repairing a chimney for a Pontiac County farmer. Soon after arriving on the jobsite, I noticed that the farmer had a dog who walked on three legs. The fourth leg was kept bent upwards about 6 inches off the ground by the otherwise fit-looking dog. I noticed too that when the dog was in a state of excitement such as at times when he chased after a squirrel or groundhog or when a strange car drove into the yard, the dog would, as if by some miracle, run towards the object of his curiosity on all four legs.

“What’s the story on the dog?” I asked the farmer. My employer explained that the dog had been hit by a car when he was young. The vet had tended to the dog’s injuries, a splint was applied. Over the period of time his broken bones healed, the dog “got used to walking on three legs,” said the farmer. After the leg was all healed up, the dog, who was now as fit as he had ever been, chose to continue to walk on three legs as he had been doing during the weeks of his recovery. The helpless mind, traumatic memories, surrounding influences, the inability to be sensible, whatever the case, make man or beast believe that he can never truly heal.

Thinking about the wretched 3-legged dog (he had 4 good ones but …) years later and realized I too had convinced myself emotionally and spiritually that I was crippled because of negative situations which had come into my life during my youthful years. “Alcohol”, dear, dear alcohol, how I convinced myself that I needed it in my life to relieve the pain of past sufferings. It made sense to me or so I thought that alcohol, the good medicine, was a friend I could rely on to see me through the day. How wrong I was!

I always had and always will have, the ability to cure myself of any circumstance bringing emotional distress into my life, it’s just that I was unaware of it when I had convinced myself otherwise. My mind is strong, it was never weak, but like the farm dog, I fooled myself into believing that I was an emotional cripple. A dog is a dog, a man is a man, Creator help me, if ever the day comes when I feel helpless, useless, worthless, dumb, and in the need of a mental crutch to lean on. Never! It just won’t happen, not to this kid. Nope! Not in a million years! My bloodline is strong.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Gaza: Over 7,000 Dead Children

Life “it is the flash of a firefly in the night” (Chief Crowfoot, as he lay dying in 1890)

It’s not a long life that we have. All too soon it will be “dust to dust, ashes to ashes” time, for all of us. In the short space of time we live, we should at least do our best to instill in the minds and hearts of our children, a true sense of what justice and fairness is all about. Isn’t it what the human heart expects of us?

As a human being whose culture directs its people to be sensible in how they live today, to assure that health and wellbeing will be a fact for our generations 7-fold from today, I do all I can to defend the right we all have to live in peace and in a dignified manner. To what degree would I go to defend my bloodline 7 generations from now? Let your actions now, signal to me that you plan to severely oppress their human rights at some point in the future and you’ll find out.

“If the Indians are starving, let them eat grass or their own dung,” so said a settler when told in the 1800’s that Indigenous Peoples had no food to eat. The innocent children in Gaza have no food, no water, no medicine, what are they to do?

I offer a view now of the world I see around me. It is an observation from an old man whose family lineage has faced prejudice and oppression on their traditional territory since even before Canada was a Confederation. My dad and his dad, my mom and her mom were people who never gave a thought (so it seems) to the idea of violent protest to put a stop to the oppressive laws and policies many governments heaped on them throughout their lives. They endured the pass system, the outlawing of their original spiritual beliefs, the right to vote and so on.

Not so for me. An oppressor would only push me so far before an ugly rebellious response came from me. I fight back! I believe in self-defence. I stand against oppression and will do what I feel needs to be done to put an end to it if my family suffered greatly in mind, body and spirit because of it. Rest assured however, that I would never harm the innocent, even if they were being used as human shields by my oppressor.

I saw film footage the other day of a little Palestinian girl about 3 years of age. She was sitting on rubble created from an exploded bomb. Her tiny body covered in dust, vibrated in a way I would never have imagined was possible. In between gasping breath, she shrieked in horror, her eyes wild and panic-stricken. It was a sight from the worst of nightmares!

Do I believe that Israel has a right to defend itself? Yes, I do. 

Do I believe that Hamas terrorists committed war crimes on October 7th. Yes, I do. 

Do I believe that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza today? Yes, I do.

The son of an Israeli general recently said, “To stop terrorism, you must first stop oppression.” He is a man who believes Israel’s actions have gone way too far, now and in the past, in how they treat Palestinians. Do I believe that Israel is guilty of oppressing the people of Palestine? Yes, I do.

Do I believe that Palestinians have a right to defend themselves against oppression? Yes, I do.

Who is responsible for the terror of the 3-year-old Palestinian child? Who will Creator hold into account for the horrors the child witnessed before someone filmed her?

I know that Israel has the fourth mightiest military force on planet earth. I know that Palestine has no air force, or navy, nor do they even have bomb shelters to run to when bombs fall. I know that Stuart Seldowitz (a former advisor to Barack Obama) said, “killing 4,000 Palestinian children wasn’t enough” (that’s what the count was at the time he said it). Link: Ex-Obama Advisor Arrested Over Harassing Food Vendor, Islamophobic Rant In Manhattan

Children are being slaughtered. A blood bath, that of innocent children, is occurring before our very eyes. And we do nothing! The Holy Land at this time, is soaked in the blood of children. And yet there are people like Stuart Seldowitz who sleep well at night and are at peace with it.

The Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel on October 7th will not steal my soul but Benjamin Netanyahu will not claim it either. Powerful politicians in the western world have given their souls to Netanyahu and his war cabinet. When you stand in solidarity with a war monger, his sins become your sins. Let there be no doubt about it.

Please see Bernie Sanders’ latest statement on how he feels about Israel (link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uJAhmIufZPU). Bernie Sanders, you are an awesome human being! Your good heart is most welcomed in my home now and forever will be.

Hamas terrorists! Netanyahu! They are cut from the same cloth. That’s how I see it.

If I was 20 years of age and an enemy country of the state of Israel had blown 7,000 Israeli children to bits, I would volunteer to join an army who was setting out to destroy who was guilty of doing so.

But what about Palestinian children? They are being slaughtered by Israeli bombs! What has the Nation of Palestine ever done that harmed Canada? What has the Nation of Palestine ever done to bring death and destruction to the USA? What has the Nation of Palestine ever done to Israel that her citizens should have their cities, towns, schools, hospitals levelled by Israeli bombs?

I saw film footage of a Palestinian family fleeing their bombed-out dwelling in a cart being pulled by a donkey. The Palestinians are an impoverished people who have been living under oppression for generations. 7,000 children slaughtered! Yet our political leaders remain silent. Silence = complicity! It’s pure insanity!

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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A proud Moment in my Life’s Clock has come to pass

My poetry is being studied and reflected upon by all Grade 11 students of the OCDSB (see below) as part of their Indigenous Studies Program. WOW! Poetry for me, is something solemnly/joyfully produced from the life experiences of a human being. It takes roots in the mind and oftentimes, the roots travel from there to the good heart of the person who will piece together a poem, capable of bringing emotional and spiritual wellness to those who read it.

When I was a child going to school in Pontiac County, I had the misfortune to have a mean-spirited teacher who failed me in Grade 4. She did all she possibly could “to kill the Indian in the child” as instructed to do so by Canada’s first prime minister.

There she was again when I went into Grade 5 (after repeating Grade 4). Guess what? Yup, she failed me again in Grade 5. I met up with her again in Grade 8. Wouldn’t you know it, she failed me again. I want you to be aware that when she wasn’t my teacher I did well. I only failed when she was in charge of the lessons in the classroom. In her eyes, I was dumb and did not possess the ability to learn.

I don’t know what she would say today about me being chosen English Poet Laureate of Ottawa (2021-2023) and now having my poetry being emotionally and psychologically absorbed by Grade 11 students as part of the Board’s High School Curriculum. Maybe some day in the Spirit Land she will tell me “Albert, I’m so very proud of you!”

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

Introductory Lesson: Albert Dumont Poetry

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There is deep tradition and immense beauty steeped in poetry.  Poetry is one of the oldest forms of language and is rich in storytelling and tradition.  Poetry captures beauty in a moment, an experience or in one’s life.  It can capture the essence of being, identity and important messages and knowledge to share with generations to come. 

When reading poetry, it’s important to pace your reading, to read the poem aloud, pay close attention to the words used, their individual and collective meaning and most importantly, what is the poet trying to convey.  

Albert Dumont is an Algonquin poet, storyteller, speaker, traditional teacher and spiritual advisor.  He is Ottawa’s Poet Laureate.  Read, reflect and enjoy the poems from Albert’s anthology Sitting by Rapids. 

The following five poems are written by Albert Dumont. Each has questions to answer. You will submit answers to each question and one reflection. There is one dropbox at the end to submit your answers and reflection.

Albert Dumont’s “Sitting By the Rapids”

 where is the bird

  1. What effect does the repetition of the question “Where is the…” at the start of the first three verses have on the reader?  What is the poet trying to convey in repeating the question?
  2. Literary devices are prevalent in this poem.  Choose 2 examples of imagery and explain the importance of the use of sensory detail.  How does imagery help to convey the poet’s experience?
  3. What is meant by the following:
    1. My friend, the lake you search for/Is any of your territory….
    2. The trail leading to the circle/Is the only trail necessary
  4. What does the poem mean to you?  How does your knowledge of First Nations perspectives help you to understand this poem?

Record your answers to submit below.

To listen to Albert Dumont read his poem, press the arrow (play).

our young people

  1. How does the poem “our young people” voice the strength of First Nations people?  
  2. What is meant by the use of the simile “our young people…are like the dawning of a long anticipated spring?”
  3. How does the poet’s voice reveal determination for the future?

Record your answers to submit below.

To listen to Albert Dumont read his poem, press the arrow (play).

man of the blackberry moon

  1. The poet uses many examples of personification in nature to capture the importance of its identity.  What are two examples of personification and how do they contribute to the poet’s experience?
  2. What does the poet mean in the line for the balance in all things
  3. The symbol of the circle is prevalent in many of the poet’s poems.  What do you understand it to symbolize for the author?  Does the symbolism resonate with you and your life experience? Why, why not?
  4. What do you feel are the teachings of the blackberry moon? Does nature serve as a guide in your life? Reflect on your connection between the land, nature and your needs as a human.

Record your answers to submit below.

To listen to Albert Dumont read his poem, press the arrow (play).

Spring

  1. The poem Spring uses many active verbs to convey the meaning of the energy that nature has in one’s life.  Choose three active verbs and detail the contribution to the poem.
  2. Describe how Dumont establishes a distinctive voice in his poetry?  How does he modify language and tone skillfully to connect to the audience and convey purpose?
  3. Reflect on the final line of the poem The spirits of our sacred bundles, what does it mean to you?  What do you understand the poet is trying to convey to the audience?

Record your answers to submit below.

To listen to Albert Dumont read his poem, press the arrow (play).

leaf-bearing trees

  1. The first verse contrasts the second verse:
    1. What symbolism does the first verse convey?
    2. How does the second verse contrast to the first?
    3. How does the line I am as a leaf-bearing tree provide a transition.  What does the transition symbolize?
  1. What does the poet mean in the line, I am a leaf-bearing tree? What hope does this metaphor provide to the audience?
  2. Reflect back to the welcome video Albert shared at the start of the course. How does this poem of Albert’s connect to what was shared in the welcome video?

Record your answers to submit below.

To listen to Albert Dumont read his poem, press the arrow (play).

Reflection Questions about Albert Dumont’s poems:

  1. How does the poet use words to convey his voice?
  2. What questions would you ask Dumont about his approach to writing poetry?
  3. How has studying Dumont’s poetry help you build understanding of his Algonquin perspective? What key ideas stand out as important to the poet and how do they connect with your own learning about Algonquin perspectives?

Submit your answers to each set of questions and a reflection Albert Dumont Poetry Dropbox.

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Gaza: The Suffering of Innocent Children

If there is anything I’m 100% sure of in this so dysfunctional and troubled world, it is the fact that babies and toddlers are sacred representatives of the purity and wisdom of Creator. Even the most holiest of religious leaders, not the Pope, nor Imams or Rabbis, is closer spiritually to God, than is a child of only days or short months old. Our Indigenous spiritual beliefs tell us that human beings whose earth walks have just begun, are still in constant communion with the spirit world from which they came. To hurt them as an act of retaliation or vengeance, is to doom oneself to the worst of the worst of spiritual reckoning human beings will face after the hour of their death takes place.

I am compelled by my human heart, to record my feelings on the horrors ripping the emotional health of the Palestinian children in Gaza, to shreds. I can’t help but look at my grandchildren who are safe in Anishinabe Algonquin territory, and imagine with my mind’s eye, what would be going on spiritually within me if they lived where bombs are falling.

I travel spiritually to Gaza and hear the screams of a child whose body has been torn apart by a bomb. I weep! I do the best I can do for her/him, I pray, “May the power of my offering of sacred tobacco save her mind. May she recover and live long and contribute to restoring humanity to those responsible for her injuries.”

No matter what kind of horrors anyone could do to me, to my daughters or to my grandchildren, I would never, ever attack their babies and toddlers to get revenge upon them. Doing so is against the human heart and spirit.

My Indigenous spiritual beliefs tell me that there is no such place where eternal fires burn human beings whose actions in this life were against humanity in the worst of ways.

Our belief is that no one and I mean no one escapes justice. The soul/spirit lives forever. Those people who do not object to the blowing to smithereens, the bodies of little children in Gaza will answer for not speaking out, I have no doubt about that.

The eternal spiritual life of such people might be finding themselves in a dark place where sunlight never goes, where no song is heard, only the final screams of the children of Gaza, forevermore present. I would rather burn in hell’s fire for eternity than hear forever the torturous screams of children. There is a spiritual price to pay for not speaking out when little children suffer because of the actions of adults. The babies who died from shrapnel wounds will tell about how death took them from this world to Creator. Their testimonials will be spiritually acted upon.

I ask all who read this to hear the speech in Congress by Bernie Sanders (see link). I ask that you tell your political leaders how you feel about it.

At some point in the future, the bombs will stop falling on the children of Gaza. They will no longer fear starvation or dying from thirst. Will it mean the war is over? For the children, the war will not stop for perhaps many, many years.

The bombs will keep falling in their nightmares and when they hear planes in the sky, when they see anxiety in the eyes of their mothers. After the bombs stop falling on the children of Gaza, they will need help. I intend to be generous in my support for them. I think all people of good and kind hearts will do likewise.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Buffy Sainte-Marie – My Perspective

When Buffy’s song ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ first hit me in the centre of my soul, oh so long ago, a gigantic tear washed over my entire being. Her song had such power over me, for different reasons. One reason was that the book of the same title ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ by Dee Brown, was the first book I had ever read from cover to cover. Man, what a life-altering read it was for me! Another reason was that Anna Mae Aquash (the Mi’kmaq activist, killed execution style on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota at 30 years of age) is mentioned in Buffy’s song. To this very day, I keep a photo of Anna Mae in my home but it was there before Buffy’s song came out. I saw/see Anna Mae as one of the people who demanded, because of how she lived and died, that my activist spirit step forward. Buffy’s song brought it all to a head and I became a fan of Buffy who called herself ‘a sweet little Cree” (I heard her saying it in an interview back then).

Question, true or false: Is Buffy Sainte-Marie Indigenous? Yes or no?
A simple DNA test done on her would instantly declare which answer is the correct one! As a long-time human rights activist I have fought for and have made enemies, in demanding that all of us, you, me, Joe Blow, whoever, is innocent of any and all charges against them until proven otherwise, beyond a reasonable doubt. As for Buffy’s claim to have an Indigenous bloodline and the contrary view presented on the Fifth Estate, there is no doubt now in most peoples eyes that Buffy is a human being of only Caucasian ancestry.

I can say it is true that Buffy inspired and motivated, thousands upon thousands of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island since her career began in 1963. However for me, so too did the quotes of our long dead chiefs and those of our ancestors also bring that gigantic tear to wash over my heart and soul with much more force than Buffy’s songs ever did.

Examples: “Life is the flash of a firefly in the night, it is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is that little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Spoken by Blackfoot Chief Crowfoot on his deathbed. Another example: “The sap coursing through the trees of the forest carry the memories of our ancestors”, Chief Seattle. These quotes touched the universe of my heart and even inspired and motivated me to stay strong in keeping my vow of sobriety. Our People are wise and strong! It’s them we need, not imposters!

What is greater to us as Indigenous Peoples than a real sense of who we are as human beings? So much emotional and spiritual harm was done to us because of the oppression heaped on us by the Indian Act, that today, in 2023, we are still trying to discover our identity as it was long ago.

What if our world was such that white folks (like Buffy) were our only source of discovering who and what we are? What would it say about us if this was the case? I’m sorry if anything I said in this blog has hurt anyone’s feelings but this is how I see it. I speak my truth while standing in the heart of Anishinabe Algonquin never-surrendered territory. I have a “right” to do so, do I not?

Also on my mind, I believe there is a connection:

For over 23 days now, the state of Israel has been dropping bombs by the hundreds on Gaza, in retaliation for an attack by Hamas fighters who, according to news reports, entered Israel to viciously and mercilessly kill over 1,400 Israeli citizens, children included.

News sources also say that over 2,100 Palestinian children are now dead because of Israeli bombardment on Gaza. We must ask ourselves, whose hands are stained with the blood of those innocent children? How does a world leader cleanse his/her hands of the blood of children, mangled by bombs? Any world leader who does not object and demand that a ceasefire occur a.s.a.p. will spiritually face a reckoning at a future time, of this I have no doubt. It is being called a “war”. Is this war? Really?

The people of Palestine have no bomb shelters to go to to feel safe from the bombs dropping on them. I’m not OK with this. I want Canadian leaders to object to bombs killing children. I will contact my Member of Parliament (a Liberal) and let her know my vote next election is going to the NDP unless the Liberals do what is right. I ask that all readers of this blog do the same.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Halloween: Changes come with every generation

To the delight of countless children, the night of witches, ghosts and goblins will soon return, to frighten little hearts once again as it has done in the past for generations of Canadians. Oh how I can identify with the excitement felt by children on Halloween night as memories of trick or treating fly into my 73 year old mind, like a witch riding side-saddle at supersonic speed on a broom of straw.

Back in my day, when it came to children running like antelopes from one door to the next, no child was left behind. The children of the well-off families and those of the impoverished, stood side by side as equals at the homes of candy givers (actually, in my day the treats were mostly apples and candy kisses, one each per bag). Still, Halloween was a fun-filled few hours for all the youngsters of the town. And I stress, no child was left behind.

I remember well that after teen years began, Halloween was no longer about treats and scary customs. It became a night where the focus was more on the ‘trick’ part of the night. Some of the teenagers went too far. I vividly recall a Halloween night when some boys, likely raised by Bonnie-and-Clyde-type of parents, broke into a chicken house down the street from the Dumont household. The ruthless, wayward teens violently let all the hens loose, sending the panicked birds clucking hysterically into the deep, dark night, some of them never to be seen again. The old bachelor brothers who owned the chickens weren’t impressed. They were elderly men living hand to mouth! The old guys didn’t deserve such a “trick” to be played on them. All their neighbours were upset as well, the Dumonts included. In those days, an assault on one neighbour was seen as an attack on all people living just doors away. Such pranks/tricks often happened in small-town Canada on Halloween night in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Not good!

Back in the 1950’s I recall white people saying that Halloween had its origins with the Indigenous Peoples of this land. It was said that the “Indian” medicine people would put a frightening mask over their faces to scare away sickness from a family or community member. Any truth to this? You tell me!

Maybe it was about 25 years ago or so that stories of pins and razor blades being found in Halloween apples began circulating. A lot of parents believed the stories and took the extreme measure of no longer allowing their children to go door to door for trick or treating. A foolish decision in my opinion. Was a razor blade or pin ever found in a Halloween apple? Not that I’m aware.

Halloween should be safe, exciting and joyful and perhaps a little bit scary to a child. Good memories, happy ones are so very important for a child to experience. If children have them, we can be more confident that they (the children) will grow up to be sensible and mature adults.

For the occasion, I saw a pumpkin, round and orange. I said to myself, “Hey, it looks like Trump.” So I carved a face into it and said, “Behold, a Trumpkin!” It isn’t a Jack-o-Lantern though, it’s a “Wacko-Lantern”.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Just Stuff on my Mind

The Anishinabe Algonquin Nation

The People of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation have never been conquered! (Show me the Terms of Surrender.) No military force ever chased us off our traditional lands. We never gave up our lands in treaty nor did we trade it away to any representatives of the settler people. We never surrendered our lands to any other First Nation nor to the Inuit nor to the Métis! We never gave control of our lands to any organization (Algonquins of Ontario = AOO) or to any real estate company (AOO).

We never agreed to allow lumber companies the right to cut even one tree in our territory. We never agreed to allow Hydro companies the right to dam the Kichi Zibi (Great River) nor any other river of its watershed. We never agreed to allow any mining companies the right to plunder the minerals, gold, silver, copper etc. contained under the soil of our lands! We never surrendered the wealth of real estate value of our lands to any province nor municipality!

Is there something about the words “never surrendered” we don’t understand? It’s time for the Algonquins to start making demands. No more Mr. Nice Guy! We need to stop living our lives as if we have been conquered! We offend our beautiful ancestors when we do so.

Donald Trump

At first glance of Trump’s mugshot I thought, “Ugh, how the mighty have fallen.” 

In the photo, he looks grotesque! He looks deranged! He looks pathetic, like a spoiled brat in the midst of a tantrum! How did such a person ever become the president of a country like the USA? How could so many (millions upon millions) apparently sensible, level-minded people ever be fooled into believing that Trump actually cares anything at all for them. Isn’t he nothing more than a selfish, self-centred egomaniac? It’s so obvious!

The face on the mugshot!

To me it is representative of the look, the horror, the rage of an extremely racist white man as he bears witness to the moment a black man walked into the White House as the president of the USA. “America is no longer great,” he tells himself over and over again, “not until a white man is again the leader of this country.”

It’s the face of the most vicious slave owner of a bygone time, watching as the people he once used and abused walk away from the plantations as “free” men and women. It’s a face no one with kindness in their hearts for their fellow man expects to see someday by the side of Creator.

Bloodline

I wrote an authentic account about how the vile and oppressive Indian Act impacted my family lineage. I compiled the facts of my lineage into segments and with the advice and guidance of Phil Jenkins (a seasoned playwright) created Bloodline, a play. It’s a true account, no fact stretched for the sake of empowering the message, no lies told. Bloodline is a statement revealing the despair, agony and the hope in the heart of a boy coming of age. It journeys into dark crevices, where the seeds of dysfunction and alcoholism are found. It travels on the wing of a hawk to salvation and healing.

I have performed (yes, I’m the actor, it’s a one man play) four times thus far. It seems that all who have seen it had only good comments to say about it to me. The fact that I bring in my abilities as a storyteller and poet to help strengthen the play, I believe, helped greatly in making it a success.

Somebody, I’m not sure who (I have my suspicions), sent a poison-pen letter to a church group where Bloodline was performed. The coward (she/he didn’t sign it) wrote the nastiest things about me.

“His mother is white,” they wrote. Not true, my mom had much more Algonquin blood in her veins than she did that of her European ancestors.

“He misappropriates prayerful openings with his political views.” What does this person mean by these words? I have never gone up to any podium and hollered to those gathered, “In the next election, vote NDP!”

I swear on the honour I have for my eagle feather that I have never hated anyone in my life. Hate is destructive! There is no pay off to hate! I refuse to hate.

The poison-pen writer wrote, “He is full of hate”, “He teaches his grandchildren to hate.” Wow! Those sentences just about ripped my heart out! I guess I’m fair game to the people who dislike me, but for Creator’s sake, keep my family out of it!

I am well aware that there are those who hate me. I accept that fact and do not lose any sleep over it. I’m an activist. I believe I am a good one. Having hate and negative feelings directed at me as such comes with the territory. Bring it on! Give me your best shot! I won’t back up. I never have and I never will.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Tribute to Carter Jay Dumont

Carter Jay Dumont
born May 29, 2023 at 10:57 am (Wàbigon Kìzis – Flower Moon)
passed away July 9, 2023 at 2:15 am (Odeyimin Kìzis – Heartberry Moon)

The Dumont family holds him up today as we would a great chief at the time of his passing: Carter Jay Dumont, son of Kyrstin Dumont and Cameron Shaver.

Though Carter was with us for only a short while, he left us with a great legacy. Because of him, we will, from this day forward, be more compassionate human beings. No elders, no matter how old they lived to be, no matter the amount of wisdom they acquired over a long life, could never, ever have in their teaching bundles, the knowledge Carter shared with us. Carter reminded us with each breath he took, of the message passed from one generation of Anishinabe Algonquin to the next: “never give up!”  He reminded us also that the “Encouragement Song”, sung many thousands of years ago, is needed today more now than at any other time in the past. Carter taught us through his mere presence, to keep well the purity and innocence alive in the human heart, to bring forth a helping hand when you see a young human being in a state of despair. Carter inspired and motivated! All who met him were instantly in awe and in wonder of him. He was so very brave! He was so very courageous! He was the physical presence of a Good Spirit! He had the most beautiful Algonquin eyes! The doctors were all amazed at his strength and willpower. His heart was small, but what a powerhouse!

I have a place in my mind’s eye (we all do) which allows me the gift of seeing spirit. Today I see a glowing Carter, he is in a cradleboard made of fine cedar, being proudly carried by my mother (deceased March 27, 2002). Thick dark coloured hair, adorns his handsome head. My mother came to me in a dream before Carter was born. “I will look after Kyrstin’s baby,” she told me. She keeps her promise now! Carter is safe with her in this sacred space where many long dead relatives spiritually stand, in a line stretching for miles, waiting to take Carter into their arms. A grand feast in his honour will surely take place.

The day Carter was born I went to the forest to perform ceremony with the placenta. His spirit name was revealed to me, “Asin” meaning “Rock”. A few days later I awoke from a deep sleep with a lullaby on my lips. I shared it with Kyrstin and sang it to Carter many times over the short days of his blessed life. I awoke at 3 o’clock one morning and wrote a poem about Carter (see below). I say this now to all, if I live 100 summers, my heart, with every vibration it sends forth, will carry in it the memory of Asin. Kizàgìhin (I love you) is a word I repeated many hundreds of times as I sat near Carter’s bedside. Carter will forever be in my heart as will all of my other grandchildren.

Carter, through my spiritual travels with him (something we did together while I sat close to him at CHEO) takes with him to his new home the songs of my favourite birds, the robin, the oriole, the blue jay! He knows so very well now, the softness and healing energy of the touch of his parents and grandparents. His mom and dad saw a shooting star one night outside of the Roger Neilson House. No doubt, I say, a sign of reassurance from loved ones in the great Spirit Land. Kyrstin and I gave Carter a cedar bath, together, to cleanse him of any negative energy lingering in a palliative care ward.

They say “it takes a community to raise a child.” If this is true, then I say it also takes a community to mourn a child as well. Babies should never be regarded as only “young” human beings. Babies are spirit! They are the wisest of the wise, the strongest of the strong! They are blessed by Creator! When they die, they should be properly grieved by the community, for a great loss has occurred. When we fail to recognize this, it means we have lost our way. Asin, Rock touched many hearts. Tears were shed and sadness entered the hearts of both family and friends. Now that this extraordinary little boy is gone from our midst, let us cast a mournful heart into a swift moving cloud passing over our sky and replace it with a heart filled with gratitude, for a beautiful baby who came among us, to make us better.

In the final hours of my great-grandson’s life, I sang him songs, I recited funny rhymes to him from old country songs, I shared memories, the good and the not so good. Carter laughed with me and he cried with me, of this I am certain! We should never take the life of a child for granted, nor should we take the death of one for granted either. A child dies. There are trails in the human heart that have never been journeyed upon. We must be careful on such a pathway, lest we allow despair and heartache to destroy us. May my beloved great-grandson rest in peace (I know he is being fussed over now by my mother). May his parents, Kyrstin and Cameron, heal in a good way. May Creator bless everyone who cared about us in the weeks of Carter’s short life.

Though physically only a small bundle of human flesh, blood and bone, Carter was a full universe of Creator’s purity and innocence. I spoke to him as such and also as a representative of my future bloodline of my past wrongs and my regrets for perpetrating them. I spoke to him also about my hopes and dreams and joys of life. We, their loved ones, can have such conversations with a dying baby only days old, for they are so in harmony with Creator’s grace and we trust fully that they will speak on our behalf to those of that great spiritual council in the Land of Souls who decide if we are deserving or not of an Honour Song, at the time of our passing. What on this earth is more spiritually powerful than a dying baby? Nothing!

Loved ones never left Carter’s bedside. He was never alone! His gigantic spirit will relate to all relatives, those from Kyrstin’s bloodline and those of Cameron’s, how the love of people in the room with him comforted him every  moment of his short life. Migwech Carter, for all you did in making us stronger and better than we were before you came into our lives.

To me
He is a fearless warrior
He is my Little Big Man

He is my Rock
Now and forever

He will inspire and motivate me
I will draw strength from him
All the days
That remain in my life
He is Asin, my Rock
He is Asin, my son

Though I have yet to hold him
Close to my bosom
He is fully aware
Of the love contained
In the drumming of my heart

He has been loved
For many thousands of years
I know it is so
For I have loved him
Long before his first breath of life
Was taken

We are a People
Who love our future generations
My ancestors, his ancestors
Love him as they love me
I too
Love all my future generations
It is the way of our People

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Carter, my Great-Grandson, Love Never Ends

Yesterday, June 14, 2023, I held for the first time my great-grandson, who is at this time, in bad physical shape at CHEO. In the hours that I held him, Carter and I travelled together to the wondrous places and experiences I keep in my heart and spirit. The account of where we went together is described herein!

South Wind

Carter, my Great-Grandson, Love Never Ends
by Albert Dumont ©

A sleeping innocent child
My blood, warming the vessels
Of his heart
His blood, flowing freely
In mine
I take him through the power
Of my spirit
To the rushing waters
Of my healing place
Where Creator touches him
With knowledge and wisdom
I speak to him
Of the Odeyimin (heartberries)
We see now, on the riverbank
Of Anishinabe Algonquin sacred land
And talk of the Odeyimin legend
And the purpose of a vow
I take him into the scientific miracle
Of the birchbark canoe
We float together in the wonder
Of its creation
On ancestral waters
Calm, pure, peaceful, joyful

Together, we listen
To the songs of leaf-bearing trees
To the whistles and chirps
Of birds, great and small
We hear the bark of Laddie
The loyal, Dumont family dog
Who brought such tremendous joy
To my childhood

We walk together barefoot
My great-grandson and I
On a tamarack needle-covered forest trail
We dance in the pouring rain
Our faces pointed
Towards the sky
To receive sacred waters
Into our opened eyes
We taste side by side
Hand in hand
The magic
Of all four seasons
The energy and inspiration
Of spring season
The beauty and abundance
Of summer season
The wisdom and colour
Of fall season
The peace and spirituality
Of winter season

We sing with happy hearts
Ancient healing songs
We feel the warmth of fire
That of the sun
And of a fire, burning
Where we sit, in its sacred circle
After the sun has gone to sleep
Carter’s face illuminated
The light, the one
Glowing spiritually in him
Builds ever greater
Because of the medicines
Of the stories I tell him
In the presence
Of cedar wood, I kindle
I speak to him
Of the love, honour and respect
I, as his great-grandfather
Have for his mother
I tell him, “celebrate little man
That your parents love you
More than all else
Of this world”
I speak to him of his bloodline
While far, far in the distance
We hear chanting and drumming
I whisper
Carter, Asin, Rock
They all love you
A sleeping innocent child
My blood, warming his heart

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