The Chaudière Falls – a Truly Sacred Site

The prophecy, so I am told, speaks of a time yet to come, when human beings will find themselves at a crossroads. A choice will then need to be made. If the wrong path is chosen, destruction, mayhem and death en masse will occur for the Peoples of Turtle Island. Many good people worry that when the prophesied time arrives, the wrong choice will be made.

My dear friends, we the First Nations, were at the crossroads many moons ago. And with the turning of our backs away from our beautiful ancient spirituality, we doomed ourselves and our future generations to destruction, mayhem and death en masse as never before experienced by the Peoples of these rich and beautiful lands at any time since their creation.

Look at what has happened to us since we renounced our spirituality as “the devil’s work”. Diseases, warfare, residential schools, addictions, suicides, gangs, abuse of our women … the list seems never ending. Hundreds of years of suffering. But take heart, the ceremonies are being revived. A chance exists that the wrong choice made at the crossroads long ago, can today be reversed! God knows more and more of us are all for it!

What does this all have to do with the Chaudière Falls? Everything!!!

This is an illustration of Chaudière Falls before it was dammed in the 1800’s.

This is an illustration of Chaudière Falls before it was dammed in the 1800’s.

Too many times I have heard people say, “Victoria Island is sacred ground.” Goodness gracious, is there any “ground” on my ancestral land which is not “sacred”? The whole of Turtle Island IS sacred ground, every circular inch of it! Let us never say that anywhere of our earth is not sacred simply because it has structures atop it where creepy things are occurring (Parliament Hill as an example). Don’t deny the sacredness of the land because of what human dysfunction has done to it. In placing too much focus on Victoria Island, we neglected the Falls and now, our neglect of a truly sacred site is coming back to bite us.

Will we as a community find the power to stop the development of the land around the Falls? It is possible. The churches who were instrumental in driving the Algonquins from the Falls in the first place, need to come forward and demand that the City of Ottawa cease and desist with any and all plans being made now which would allow Windmill Developments to bring machinery to the Falls and thereby disturbing a glowing spirit awaiting our tobacco offerings in its churning waters.

At long last, we need to understand and appreciate the power of our spirituality. The circle is strong, the fasting ceremony and the purification lodge, these things need to be accessed. If we do, which force will win out? The power of corrupt and greedy politicians, or the strength of our prayers and ceremonies? If you have doubt, back off until you feel ready and are confident that prayers do indeed work.

Let’s get together at a place on the land and there through spirituality, we will see to it that the Falls will be freed and that they will once again assist us with bringing health and wellness into our lives as they did before the wrong choice was made at the crossroads many moons ago.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

Along with prayer and ceremony, here are ways you can help:
– Sign the Petitions listed here
– You can read more about the rezoning in Greg Macdougall’s article in Richochet
– If you spoke or submitted to the 2 October City Council planning committee meeting on rezoning Chaudière: there is a meeting on Wednesday 22 October at 7pm at Kitchissipi United Church (630 Island Park Dr.) to discuss appealing the rezoning decision at the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board)

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Migwech To You

little bird editA prayer I wrote years ago has the words “And I am grateful, Good Spirit, for the ability you have given human beings which allows us to express words of support and comfort to one another in times of troubles and in times of anguish.”

To all my friends and acquaintances who took time from their busy day to contact me and offer words of sympathy to me and family while we mourn the death of our sister, I say a heartfelt “Kichi Migwech” (greatest expression of gratitude).

On the day Pauline died, I went to my cabin. Her spirit name “Little Bird” was revealed to me as I reflected on my memories of her. My mind, heart and soul travelled back in time to the earliest memory of Pauline and moved forward from there until at last I reached in my recollections the visit I had with her the week before she passed away. Some of my reflections were of times when my actions were less than noble and for these slights I offered her my sincere and most heartfelt regret for any pain caused to her because of what I had done. I recalled in my memories, too, her acts of kindness and generosity for me when as a teenager, I was lost, having been overcome by the cruelty of a dysfunctional society. And I thanked her for extending her hand to me at such times, pulling me away from thoughts of self-destruction.

Pauline was a woman who insisted on keeping things “simple”. The life of a bird is not complicated. The bird has a routine. Its actions are not directed by “instinct” as science would have you believe. All of a bird’s actions are directed by spirit. For them, it has always been as such and thus it will remain until birds no longer exist.

Pauline came to me at the cabin in the form of a little bird. She was telling me, “Here in the world of spirit I am known by the name “Little Bird”.”

Thank you, all of you, I am truly comforted by your words. See you soon.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Pauline Daley (Dumont)

dandelionThe Dumont family has lost one of our pillars. My sister Pauline passed away just before 2 a.m. on the morning of Friday, June 6th, 2014. Her health was poor for many years, still her passing was a blow to the collective heart of all her siblings.

Although perfection is impossible for a human being to attain, at least not in the minute definition of the word, a more perfect “sister” could never be found anywhere on God’s green earth. Pauline sacrificed much for her younger siblings, especially after Mom was stricken with tuberculosis and hospitalized for two years. Pauline did more than take up the slack, she was the protector and guardian of all living in the Dumont household.

Pauline passed away at a time of year when wild strawberries are in blossom and the first crop of dandelions have moulted, transforming them from a plant with a bright yellow head to fragile circles of weightless, delicate spikes who wait for a wind to take them to a place on the land which might welcome them.

I took note of the blossoms and of the moulting dandelions before entering my forest sanctuary where I went to spiritually process the great loss I felt at losing a sister from whom I had learned so much. In my circle I feasted the beings of the spirit world whose love and devotion had directed them to re-assure Pauline that she had nothing to fear in the strange new world she had awoken into.

I can easily imagine the world Pauline found herself in after her body lay motionless on her deathbed and with life forever gone from her heart. I have no doubt she was instantly surrounded by spirit beings who had known her embrace while here on earth, her brothers and dear sister for example, who pre-deceased her. They greeted her as they would the greatest hero. And in this new place of wonder and power, the few of her life’s shortcomings were shed from her soul by the breath of Kichi Manido (God) in the same way the wind pulls the seed puffs from a moulting dandelion. And then in the purest state, free of imperfections, Pauline will reap forevermore the spiritual rewards granted only to people who lived an honourable life.

Pauline was a woman of sacrifice who delighted to be in the presence of babies and toddlers born to members of her own and extended family. She loved her siblings with all her heart. She was the keeper of old family memories and of those times when life was simple and the poor had their own wonderful dignity. Rest in peace, my dear sister. When I see you again, we will pick berries together and feast, sing and dance in a circle of everlasting love.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Free the Falls

ChaudiereI received a call a day ago from Lindsay Lambert. Lindsay is a friend of the community and a lover of the natural world. He called to notify me of a site on the City of Ottawa website (http://www.ottawa2017.ca/ideas/) where citizens are asked to submit their ideas of what they believe would best mark Canada’s Sesquicentennial 2017 as a legacy left by Ottawans of today to the inhabitants of the city living here in the far off future. Lindsay sent in his suggestion immediately after reading about the initiative put forward by Mayor Jim Watson himself. Lindsay’s response to the Mayor’s idea came in the form of three simple words: “Free the Falls” (Chaudière).

Lindsay Lambert is asking that as many people as possible sign on and do the same.

Count me in and count me on! Let’s run with this! This is a rare opportunity to create awareness for a noble cause. A cause which, I might add, was also part of the late Algonquin elder William Commanda’s vision for Chaudière island. Imagine if tens of thousands of people were to shout “Free the Falls” through printed words on the city’s website! It could very well end up being that extra little push the mayor and council need to say “yes” to freeing the Chaudière Falls.

To me, the Falls as they are now, can be likened to a great turtle, old and filled with wisdom whose legs are clasped in irons leaving her a captive of technology, unable to roam freely where God intended her to go.

I long to see the waters of the Chaudière Falls flowing through the eyes of my ancestors. And my ears to hear their song in the same way as did the Algonquins of thousands of years ago. With that I would transcend completely into spirituality, grace and fortitude with the waters of the Falls.

What measure of a man would I be if I did not dream of a time when the pines of my territory aged to know more than 400 winters? Of a time before technology began stabbing the heart of my once pristine homeland. If the Falls were free, we would have at least something original and something real again. “Free the Falls!” Let’s do it together!

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

TAKE ACTION: Just click on http://www.ottawa2017.ca/ideas/ and write “Free the Falls” or use your own words to tell Mayor Watson to free the Chaudière Falls. It only takes a few seconds to submit your idea. Do it now! And please ask your friends, too!

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Big News!!!

I have a new grandchild, a boy. My heart is swollen with joy that he and his mother have begun their sacred journey together with both in good health.

grandsonThe beats of my drum carry the promises I make to my grandson into the spiritual lodges of our ancestors, where they are heard and not forgotten. The centre of the forest circle where I went to pray on the day of my grandson’s birth accepted my tobacco offering along with the placenta I retrieved from the hospital after the birth had occurred. The voice of a bird called out to me there, telling me the name my grandson carries in the spirit world. The spirits of the land which gathered around me bore witness to my sacred vow, that I would do all I could to see to it that my grandson will grow into a man who will always honour and respect women. My grandson will be protective of the women he loves and do all he can to help them regain the powers they had but lost long ago. I promised too, that my grandson’s steps would be gentle on the land. I will see to it.

Hear my prayer, Great Spirit, that little heart now filled with the bounty of your love, carries the blood of my grandfathers and grandmothers. Their memories abound in its freshness. I bring my grandson’s heart into mine and say to him:
“As the day passes into night and as the seasons unfurl their greatness, giving purpose to all life on the land, I will teach you, my grandson, and stand by your side through your joys and sorrows and I will love you into and beyond eternity.”

A grandchild is a heart, a soul, a wind whose presence and songs can uplift the deflated spirits of a grandparent and carry them on high to soar with the eagles.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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“Honour Your Word”

The documentary “Honour Your Word” to me, is a call for Canada’s citizens to go on the march in defence of the sacredness Canadians claim to place on the threads which connect the hearts and souls of all the good people who populate this great land. Watch the film and if, after doing so, you are not motivated to help make things right in La Verendrye Park where justice has been drawn, quartered and burned at the stake, then you are as spiritless as the perpetrators of the human rights violations taking place there today. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are standing alone against tyranny and oppression. They are a brave resourceful people living in Third World poverty whose plight is documented in a film produced and directed by Martha Stiegman.

Where is the mirror that would show Canadians what really is looking back at them when they peer into it? It does exist, but most of us (Canadians) will have to wait until death carries them to a new world to see it. The ugliness of their ways will be revealed and an accounting of some kind will surely come to pass at that time.

We, the First Peoples, live in a world where only the human rights violations directly impacting settlers or injustices being perpetrated against people in far off countries like China or the Middle East are worthy of Canadians’ support and sympathy. When human rights violations are occurring against the Aboriginal People of this land, Canadians turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. Canadians need to ask themselves why this is so. To me, the answer begins and ends with ‘greed’.

“Honour”, the real definition of that word does not exist in our Parliaments only because Canadians do not demand it as a trait alive and strong, in the men and women we send to the Red Chamber to represent us before the world and before God. We must ask ourselves how our children and their children will be impacted by our negligence of duty to them when we do such a thing. Surely we doom them (our children) to a world where dog eats dog, where the weak are spat upon and where peaceful protest is laughed at and ignored.

The film is interesting throughout but several powerful scenes stand out to me as highlights. One scene is particularly moving, it shows a young Barriere Lake Algonquin man standing before the camera telling about what is being lost of his beloved land when clear-cutting occurs. His words are strong and heartfelt, he is overcome with emotion and though weeping almost uncontrollably, he finishes his statement. I wept with him while sitting in the darkness of the theatre and cannot banish the scene from my mind. It will be my inspiration and motivation to get involved and help with this cause in whatever way the Algonquins ask of me.

One thing the film makes clear to me at least, is that the peaceful protest of the Algonquins up to this point, is nothing more than an exercise in pointless frustration. They protest peacefully to protect the trees and their way of life. Their leaders are thrown in jail when they do so. “Next time you will not be jailed for short periods of time but for years,” they are warned by the courts. Knowledge of such injustices and oppression makes my heart sick.

What is happening in La Verendrye Park is proof positive of just how racist a country Canada is. Only a people who are capable of raw, unadulterated hatred against a segment of the community not their own would allow what is happening to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to occur in a country like Canada. God help us.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

 

 

 

 

More on the film and the struggle of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, courtesy IPSMO:

Action items:

HYW-poster-jpg

Resources for Barriere Lake:

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With Spring Comes the Fast

I need spring to arrive! I’m longing for it much in the same way as I would for the sight and company of a dear friend disappeared from my life long ago. I want to feel the warmth of the spring sun on my face and to hear the songs of happy robins once again. My spirit stirs in my heart even as I recall memories of glorious spring days of my past.

The winter was/is long. The snow will not melt away quickly, so high its layers rest now on the valleys and hills of my ancestral land. My bet would be that there will still be traces of snow through to the end of April.

I remember a fasting ceremony I partook of in Northern Ontario a few years back. It was mid-May, yet snow was still in great abundance that year in the traditional territory of the Temagami First Nation. At least 25% of the landscape was covered in snow. It might be hard to believe, but one morning I left my fasting circle and as I made my way to the sacred fire to make a tobacco offering, to my surprise, I encountered a snake. The snake was a messenger who foretold that changes in how I viewed life were soon to arrive for me. And they did.

Fasting at a special site in the forest is big medicine, you gain greatly in both the emotional and spiritual realms when you complete it.

The centre of the fasting circle is a sacred place where the bad become good, if that is their intent, where the addict will find the strength to turn away from the bottle and where the mind of a dysfunctional human being learns a new way to deal with bitterness and rage. At the fasting site every sound coming from nature is spiritually noted by the individual hearing them. The fragrances emitting from plants, those alive in the circle and even those decaying on the forest floor around you, sit on your tongue and you give thanks for it as if it was the most precious and sweetest of candy. And your soul sings gleefully with each breath you take. Such is the power of the fasting circle.

Prayers at a fasting site often come with tears. You see, your physical self is weak and when your spirit speaks in the circle, you are eventually overtaken and tears flow. Prayer is something serious. Your words of prayer must come from the heart. Prayer, the heart, the spirit, the fasting site, spring, a human being, when we are one we conquer all of life’s challenges. I bring the hands of my children and grandchildren with me when I go to the fasting site. I hold them tightly and though my loved ones are not physically with me, they gain spiritually as I do from the fasting ceremony. Of this I have no doubt.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Omushkegowuk Walkers

Another group of First Nations heroes are on their way to Ottawa from the far north of Ontario. They are travelling by foot, one step at a time, over pavement and snow-covered landscape on their way here (Ottawa) to deliver a message to government officials. They are the “Omushkegowuk (People) Walkers” who are “Reclaiming our Steps, Past, Present and Future”. Danny Metatawabin, who was Chief Theresa Spence’s spokesperson while she fasted at Victoria Island, is leading the walkers and gives daily updates as to their progress. And to share with all following on Facebook the acts of kindness and generosity of the First Nations communities they come into contact with as the walkers slowly (30 km a day) make their way south. Danny is one of four original walkers, the other three are Brian Okimaw, Paul Mattinas and Remi Nakogee. All are mature men.

The walkers are true heroes. What else can we call them? They selflessly sacrifice of their time, giving up out of their lives the many days which have already passed since beginning the walk and the many more days the walkers will count before they enter the Nation’s Capital. At this point of their journey the walkers endure pain in their feet and legs brought on by the continuous lifting of heavy winter boots with each step they take, leaving that much less space before their destination appears on the horizon. They are weighted down with layers of heavy coats and thick sweaters, necessary to keep out the bitter cold following them all the hours of the day. But these men are focussed and determined to stay the course so they can arrive in Ottawa, standing proud and ready to deliver their important message to government leaders. The walkers are heroes but they need our monetary support and our prayers so they will not worry about accommodations or travel back home. Give them money and prayers if you can but either one or the other will be greatly appreciated by them. I’m sure!

The walkers pray each morning before taking the first steps of their daily 30 km quota. They pray silently, too, as they walk. Their prayers and meditations are heard by the trees along the roadside. The eagle and ravens and owls carry the prayers of the walkers to whomever it is, the walkers have directed their words to. The sound of the heartbeats of the walkers will forevermore be remembered by the hills and ravines the walkers came across on their life-altering journey. Let there be no doubt that the spirit of the land took note of their sacrifices and the walkers will hear an honour song composed special for them by the spirit of the season at a point in the future.

The walkers have no doubt benefitted spiritually since the beginning of their journey. The road cutting through the forests they travel through are trails from which the walkers can see, hear, smell and even taste what is alive in and around the trees of a forest surrounding them and even taste on their tongues the amazing scents emitting from all life therein. The walkers notice that the rabbit of winter reclaims his steps from the night before. The rabbit does not stray from the pathway he designed for himself, to do so would be dangerous and could bring great harm to him. He reclaims his steps and is healthy for doing so! On the waterways the walkers pass the beaver rests in his lodge, secure and confident that he will survive another winter. It is a time for the walkers, if they wish, to reflect on these things and then to offer words of contrition for any harm, we the human beings, have needlessly brought to the forest and to the animals and birds living there. For me, I can say how sorry I am for any tree I have ever cut down without good reason or any animal or bird who ever suffered or died because of my foolishness. If the walkers were to put tobacco onto the land for me I would be most grateful to them for doing so.

I will make a contribution to this cause. If it pleases you do so, the banking info is: RBC account, transit #05112, account #1010669

Migwech to all.

To follow their journey, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reclaiming-Our-Steps-Past-Present-Future/768816863131863

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Standing up to the Haters

The ‘Big Spirit’ moon (January 15 – February 13) has shone a beam of her precious light into the dark valley of racism so it seems, with the editorial ‘Standing up to the haters’ which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. Let us acknowledge the message of the Citizen’s editorial with a word or two expressing gratitude to the Citizen’s editorial board for doing so. It will only take you a moment. DO IT NOW!!

The “Citizen” is about common sense and balance whereas Ottawa’s other newspaper is all about promoting hatred.

Just last weekend Ezra Levant at the Ottawa Sun (the rag) and one of his lap dogs (Lorne Gunter), both wrote opinion pieces bashing First Nations and treaties, calling the latter “fairy tales”.

Want to hear something weird and far out? Ezra Levant calls himself “Canada’s Freedom Fighter”. What the hell is this guy’s definition of “freedom”? The kind of “freedom” he “fights” for is the kind I can do without. Hate literature sucks!

Just two generations ago, Canada’s First Nations did not have the right to vote. My Dad, who was an honest, hardworking man, had to apply to a white man for a pass to leave Kitigan Zibi if he hoped to work in the lumber camps at that time. First Nations children were suffering unspeakable abuses in the government-sponsored and church-run Residential Schools until just a few short years ago. Ezra, the “Freedom Fighter”, couldn’t care less about this, nor does he give a damn that First Nations soldiers who fought on the front lines of war-torn Europe to stop the Nazis from exterminating Europe’s Jews came back home to Canada, not to be welcomed as heroes but to endure further oppression by folks here who viewed themselves as a race superior to that of the First Nations. Our gallant soldiers have never been acknowledged at the Ottawa Sun for their sacrifices. The Freedom Fighter and his lap dogs are too busy promoting hatred of the First Nations to even consider doing it.

There is serious money to be made in the industry of ‘Hatred’. Ezra and his lap dogs know it all too well.

Hatred is not a Canadian trait. Canadians are a people who understand that being open-minded, open-hearted and tolerant are the hallmarks which make Canada a stronger, greater country than any other on earth. A story in the Citizen about a group of knitters who recently wrapped scarves around the necks of statues in this city during the recent deep-freeze says everything about the kind of people we are in Canada. A note is attached to each of the scarves, it reads “I am not lost! If you’re stuck out in the cold, take this scarf to keep warm!” Now that, my friends, is what a real Canadian is all about.

Ezra Levant, the wannabe Freedom Fighter, couldn’t care less if someone was stuck in the cold without a scarf. You know as well as I do that, if Ezra was out in the cold freezing his little buns off, many people would throw him a scarf. I know I would. I would even go further than throwing a scarf at him, I would wrap it around his neck (gently of course and not too tight) and wish him warmth and good health in his future endeavours. That’s the difference between Ezra and people like myself. He promotes hatred while the rest of us reject it.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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Close Call on the 105

A Blessing! I raise my hands skyward and my feet softly touch Mother Earth in gentle caress. My heart emits its song of gratitude and crow, robin and pine spirits sway joyfully in acknowledgement of my song. I have received a blessing and I do not take it lightly.

Just yesterday, I was returning from Kitigan Zibi on Highway 105 and had reached the Farley Road intersection (Val Guertin, Shell gas station) when I noticed a large delivery truck at the Farley Road stop sign. I proceeded without concern, until the truck began moving onto the 105. I assumed at this point that the truck driver was only going to move forward a few feet and then stop. For him to continue onto the highway was unimaginable to me. But continue he did. I was right on top of him by then and had to make a split-second decision. The choice: hit him or have him hit me. I chose the latter. I swerved and sure enough, BANG, an explosion of glass sprayed me like ‘rock salt’ shot out of a barrel of a 12-gauge. Though my foot was no longer on the gas pedal, my car accelerated down the road towards propane tanks being sold by the gas station. I pulled on the steering wheel and found myself in line with a Bell phone booth – didn’t want to go there either. Last choice, a big snowbank to the right of the phone booth. Again I pulled on the steering wheel at the last possible blink and my car plunged into the snowbank with tremendous force. The nose of my car was pointed down into the snow, the rear wheels up in the air spun at a high rate of speed. I calmly pulled the keys out of the ignition. The motor shut down and the speeding tires slowly came to a stop. It was quite the rush, to say the least.

The crash I describe could very well have been deadly, for me or the truck driver or both. There were no injuries and for this I feel as if I have been blessed once again with the turtle shields of my protective ancestors. My car is a write-off but I am intact, to love, to sing, to dance and to stand with enormous humility before the greatness Kichi Manido has placed before me.

My friends, do not take this precious life of ours for granted. Do not go to sites where people are gathered who wish to bring healing for themselves and for the land, only to disrupt their good work with personal agendas. Take the time each day to speak words of love to your closest family members and your sweethearts. Take in a breath, deep into your lungs each day and release it with the words, “I am grateful, Good Spirit, that I am a human being.” Let your heart reach to the height of cirrus clouds.

Not many are aware of when their last moments of life are at hand. Be prepared, make peace and denounce war.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

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