Biography

Family

Albert is father of 3 daughters: Jessica, Katrina and Mary (who was born prematurely and passed away hours after birth in 1978).
As the dad of girls, Albert has always stood in defence of women and their ‘right’ to take their proper place as leaders in the community.
Albert is also the grandfather of 5 grandchildren: Kyrstin, Madeline, Alyssa, Callan and Russell. His first great-grandchild (Carter) was born in the spring of 2023. Unfortunately Carter arrived in this world with health issues and passed away 7 weeks after his first breath of life was taken.

Work and Life Experience

Albert’s working career began in 1967 after he completed an apprenticeship course in one of the building trades. His years of working as a bricklayer/stone mason taught him a valuable life lesson: Bricks and mortar equals bonding and solidarity! When there’s unity, there’s success.
He retired in 2007 from construction work.

In the spring of 1991, Albert fell from scaffolding (43 ft.). The worst of his many injuries were 2 crushed vertebrae, 2 cracked vertebrae and cracked spine, above and below the damaged vertebrae. As a result he lives in constant pain. He takes no medication to lower the pain, preferring instead to offer gratitude every day that he was not killed or paralyzed at the time of the accident.
‘Living in constant pain,” says Albert, “helps me to identify with the pain of others.”

Albert put a life of severe addiction to alcohol behind him in the spring of 1988. His past life experiences, the good, the bad and the ugly, allow him to identify with people who hope to overcome a reckless lifestyle. He is an empathetic and compassionate counsellor for grassroots individuals who sit in circle with him or attend his workshops on sobriety.

Spiritual Advisor / Traditional Teacher / Mediation Facilitator / Motivational Speaker / Consultant

  • Opening prayers, request for blessings, smudging ceremonies
  • Visiting sick and dying Indigenous patients (Ottawa Hospital, Civic and General Campuses)
  • Wellness and Healing – Assisting in the recovery of people suffering poor health because of addictions. Through his own experiences and through the healing spirits of our homelands, he works to bring strength, pride and health back into peoples’ lives.
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Spiritual Advisor (since 2021)
  • Algonquin Spiritual Teacher in Residence to Bishop Shane Parker, Anglican Church, Christ Church Cathedral (since 2019)
  • Grandparents Counsel for Well Living House, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto (since September 2017)
  • Elder on the Elders Advisory Committee of the Ministry of the Attorney General (October 2016 to February 2020)
  • Elder for Parole Board of Canada at Elder Assisted Hearings –  (November 2013 to March 2017)
  • Spiritual Advisor for Indigenous offenders of J Unit at Millhaven Institution (October 2010 to October 2013):
    Worked as a spiritual advisor at Millhaven Institution (2010-2013). Several days before the commencement of Albert’s work at M.I. began, a young Indigenous inmate was shot by guards. The bullet struck him in the outer area of the chest (flesh wound). There was tension in the prison because of it. Several months later another young Indigenous inmate was shot dead by the guards. A riot and more bloodshed was expected!
    The Warden, Curtis Jackson, asked that Albert do all he possibly could to prevent a riot and further bloodspilling. “You have carte blanche,” the Warden advised.
    Albert was able to convince the men not to riot and instead help plan a “feast for the dead” for the slain inmate. The inmates agreed. And thus, the life of an inmate killed by guards was celebrated and feasted. Never had such an event occurred in any prison the world over, ever before. And because of it the inmates did not riot.
    Still there was much tension and violence among the inmate population. To put a stop to the violence Albert created the ‘Harmony Circle’. He invited the leaders of the 6 communities which made up the 130 inmate population of J Unit, the Christians, Muslims, First Nations, Rastafarians and two lifers groups, all of which lived in cell blocks of J Unit. The Harmony Circle was more successful than hoped for.
  • Elder for Government of Canada – Health Canada, RCMP, Kumik Lodge – Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Canadian Forces, HRSDC
  • Elder in Residence, Iskotew Lodge – Health Canada (total 5 years)
  • Sentencing circles in Ottawa (periodically)
  • Motivational Speaker in many high schools, church groups, halfway houses, shelters and one-on-one circles
  • Young Offenders Program (1996-2005)
  • Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health:
    – Circle of Care (CAS) 2013-2021
    – Summer camps 2016, 2017
    – March Break camps 2014, 2019, 2020, 2021
    – Share Your Story Advisory Committee 2019, 2020
    – Medicine Walks 2015, 2018, 2020, 2021
    – Culture Night (teachings) many times over many years
  • PSAC (Aboriginal Action Circle) 2000 to 2016. Albert helped out as a motivational speaker, counsellor, healing circle facilitator and with opening and closing ceremonies for their many meetings. He was respected across Canada by their membership.
  • RCMP 2005 to 2018. Albert assisted in bringing emotional and spiritual wellness to RCMP officers and staff using traditional teaching stories and the sharing of his personal life experiences. His contributions of wellness with the RCMP were acknowledged with an official blanket ceremony honouring Albert. Also, he was requested by the RCMP commissioner to spend a day at HQ going floor to floor to speak to staff after the unfortunate incident at the Vancouver Airport (the death of Robert Dziekanski who was tasered by officers).
  • National Defence: Albert was spiritual advisor for our military from 2010 to 2018. He facilitated workshops and sharing circles and helped out as motivational speaker at many of their meetings. He was presented with a plaque in 2021 for his contribution.
  • Kairos blanket exercises 2014-2015
  • Canada School of Public Service, Indigenous Learning Series and blanket exercises 2017-2020
  • Library and Archives Canada since 2018
  • City of Ottawa – Algonquin Anishinabe Nation Civic Cultural Protocol and Implementation Plan since 2019

Workshop / Training Facilitator

  • Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health:
    • Aboriginal Crime Symposium 2006
    • Symposium on Aboriginal Culture 2008
    • Culture as Treatment 2009
    • Youth Justice: An Aboriginal Perspective 2012
    • Creative Writing Workshop 2012
    • ‘Clay Bears’ Workshop 2013
    • Aboriginal Perspectives on Child and Youth Mental Health Symposium, Youth in Criminal Justice 2013
    • Conflict Resolution Training 2015
    • Indigenous Cultural Safety Training 2015-2020
    • Creation – Poetry Workshop 2016
    • Writing Workshop 2017
    • Workshop on Addiction 2020
    • Circle of Care Conference (CAS)
  • Public Service Alliance, 2005 until present
  • Aboriginal Action Circle since 2006- 2016
  • The Spiritual Connection – to Love, Justice, Education, Health & Healing, Child Rearing, Relationships, Poverty and other areas of life, 2006-2007
  • Canadian Authors Association Annual Conference, 2007  – the first Indigenous writer to appear as a presenter at a CAA Conference in 86 years (2 hour writers’ workshop)
  • Canadian Authors Association (writers’ workshop), Toronto 2008
  • “Rethinking Poverty” workshop participated as workshop facilitator “poverty and the healing circle” 2007
  • Non-violent Communications Workshop participated in the capacity of spiritual advisor and facilitator at 4 such workshops 2007-2008
  • Canadian Authors Association,  Algonquin College (full-day writers’ workshop), Ottawa 2008
  • Odawa Friendship Centre, Art Camp
  • Cultural Awareness Training CREDDO 2021-2023

and numerous others

Special Events

Canadian Forces Transformation Ceremony 2006
175 Years Rideau Canal celebration Jones Falls Locks 2007
RCMP Change of Command 2007
RCMP Establishment of Command Ceremony 2008
Memorial Service Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary of the RCMP National Memorial Cemetery 2009
Ottawa Folk Festival opening 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Obabika – Change of Season Ceremony 2010
Jane’s Walk 2011
RCMP Change of Command 2011
Ottawa Police Service Change of Command Ceremony 2012
Ottawa Grassroots Festival – since 2012
Northern Scene NAC 2013
Sakahàn Exhibit at National Gallery 2013
CBC Human Library Stories – 2013, 2014, 2015
Indigenous Human Library, Carleton University 2014
Wabano Sunrise Ceremony 2014
Kitigan Zibi Pow Wow male elder 2017
Forces, Aboriginal Awareness Week 2018
LRT Opening Ceremony 2019
National Defence CMP Change of Command Ceremony 2019
Canada Day (Canadian Heritage) 2019, 2021
Consecration of the Right Reverend Shane Parker as the 10th Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa (2020)
National Defence National Day For Truth And Reconciliation 2021
Royal Canadian Navy Change of Command 2021
RCAF Battle of Britain 2021
National Commemorative Services for HRH Prince Philip (2021)
National Commemorative Services for Elizabeth II (2023)
Canadian Celebration for the Coronation of King Charles III 2023
National Aboriginal Day (many times)
Indigenous Peoples Day (many times)
Aboriginal Awareness Week (many times)
Indigenous Awareness Week (many times)

Storytelling in schools, universities and cultural centre

One of Albert’s greatest beliefs is that our Anishinabe ancestors were keepers of great oratory skills. He believes the great wisdom of the forests, rivers and lakes and hills of our homelands can inspire healing in people suffering from addictions. On many occasions Albert is called upon to go before student bodies to enlighten, entertain and teach life lessons to the youngsters before him.

Human Rights Activism / Advocacy

  • Ottawa Native Concerns Committee – bringing justice to many causes of concern to First Nations since 1993
  • Justice Issues – worked to change the Canadian Justice System for Indigenous people
  • Teddy Bellingham: Activism began in earnest for Albert in 1993 after a story broke in the Ottawa Citizen about Teddy Bellingham, a 5′-3″ tall, 115 lbs, 16-year-old First Nations boy (Chippewas of Nawash, Bruce Peninsula, Lake Superior) was unearthed from a shallow grave near Smiths Falls, ON. Teddy was a ward of the CAS who had disappeared 13 months before his body was found. The CAS had not reported him missing.
    Teddy had been lured into an apartment in Smiths Falls where 8 white men waited. He was set upon and beaten to death over a 5-hour period. Albert played an instrumental role in bringing about justice for Teddy. The group of activists of which Albert was a founding member, the ‘Ottawa Native Concerns Committee’, was allowed to write a Victim Impact Statement for the consideration of the magistrate. This had never happened before in Canada. Albert pointed out to the judge presiding over the trial that Teddy, being a ward of the CAS, was entitled to having the ONCC recognized as “extended family”. The judge agreed. Albert wrote the letter on behalf of the committee.
  • Instrumental in working to place a tombstone on the grave of famed Indigenous Artist Benjamin Chee Chee in 1997
    Albert played an instrumental role in placing a marker on renowned Ojibwa artist Benjamin Chee Chee’s grave (Notre Dame Cemetery 1997). Chee Chee’s grave was unmarked for 20 years before Albert and a group of activists fundraised and were able to celebrate and honour the artist’s life in a good way. The City of Ottawa proclaimed June 27, 1997 as Benjamin Chee Chee Day. Albert designed the tombstone and wrote the words inscribed upon it.
  • Beaver Pond, South March Highlands – ceremonies, opening prayers, candle light vigil, 2010: Albert and other activists did their best to save a forest at South March, ON, where a subdivision was planned. This cause brought him to Ottawa U as a guest speaker. Several of the students in the audience dedicated their lives to activism because of his words.
  • 300-year old pines near Highway 105, Wakefield – ceremonies, 2012
    Albert and other activists put many hours into doing all they could to save several 300-year-old pine trees who were destined to be cut down by a contractor hired to build a bypass highway around Wakefield.
  • Rally outside Brockville Mental Health Centre and Royal Ottawa against the treatment of Marlene Carter, 2016. Marlene, an Indigenous woman (Cree, Onion Lake, SK), suffering severe mental illness, was experiencing human rights violations on a daily basis at the centre. Albert fought for and through his efforts, Marlene’s rights were restored and she returned to Saskatchewan as was her wish.
  • Walk for Akikodjiwan from the Chaudiere Falls to Parliament Hill, 2016, 2017, 2018: Akikodjiwan (Chaudière Falls). Albert worked tirelessly to have Sacred Akikodjiwan revered as a place of spiritual wellness for 4 years. A developer was hellbent to build condos there.

Misc.

Kitigan Zibi School – Writing Contest 2010
Kitigan Zibi School – Summer Camp 2011
Waseskun Retreat: storytelling 2010
Juror: Canadian Authors Assoc. Ottawa, Poetry/Book Contest 2010
Juror: Saskatchewan Book Awards, First Peoples’ Writing Award 2010
Juror: Wattpad, Attys Awards 2012
Canadian Authors Canada – NCR, participated in podcast series 2010
NCC – Lac Philippe, Gatineau Park: storytelling 2011
Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa – monthly storytelling 2019-2020
Wrote land acknowledgements for John Howard Society, Medical Council of Canada, LMIC and many others 2022-2023
MASC: mural project and medicinal plants pillar project 2023
OCDSB Indigenous Team, Native Studies Course Grade 11 Curriculum 2023
His opinions and views on varying topics were sought after by numerous media outlets

Poet / Writer / Storyteller / Artist

Albert writes to encourage healing; using the power of words for healing through poetry and story telling; through words reflecting the wisdom of the forest, of the rivers and lakes, of the birds, animals and fish and of Elders and of children.
Many poems and prayers for special occasions
Many poems were included in publications (Wabano)
Pleasant Park Public School – Mámawi art mural 2015
Poet Laureate City of Ottawa – April 2021 – April 2023
Tribute for Duke of Edinburgh 2021
Tribute for Queen Elizabeth II 2022
Statement for King Charles III 2023

Books

‘Councils of Encouragement’ 1994
‘With the Wind and Men of Dust’ 2001
‘Broad Winged Hawk’ 2007
‘Of Trees and Their Wisdom’ 2009
‘Maple Leaves of Kichi Makwa’ 2011
‘Sitting by the Rapids’ 2018
‘Grandpa’s Wisdom – An Algonquin Reflection on West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease’ 2020
‘Avec le vent et les hommes de poussière’ 2021
‘I am a Human Being’ Anthology, 2022

Other Contributions

  • Founder of Turtle Moons Press (publishing) 2000
  • Turtle Moons Contemplations Greeting Cards (artwork and verse) 2000
  • Founder of Pagahamatig Poetry Circle 2005- 2013
  • Co-founder of ‘New Dawn’: New Dawn is built on the three pillars of Education, Solidarity and ReconciliAction, and is based in Ottawa, better known as the traditional unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Peoples. New Dawn is simply a team of volunteers with various backgrounds and skills who have come together with similar passions to organize and facilitate events and inspire ReconciliAction. The collective is led by Albert Dumont.
  • As English Poet Laureate for Ottawa, initiated poetry competition with the result being the anthology ‘I am a Human Being’

Actor

APTN – Fire Prevention Video
CBC Television – Anxiety Disorder PSA
Indigenous Radio – Changes to Indian Act
Play ‘Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing’
‘Bloodline’, a one-man play Albert wrote and acted in, performed at TaDa! Festival, the NAC and Meridian Theatre, Ottawa

Artwork

  • Albert has designed T-shirts (pen & ink/silkscreening) after an accident left him unable to continue working as a bricklayer
  • He designed the book covers for his poetry books and artwork and poetry for 11 of his greeting cards
  • The poems ‘The Path My Children Travel’ and ‘Once’ have been widely distributed on ceramic cups, plates and canisters
  • He created many pen and ink portraits
  • Logo designs for the Ottawa Native Concerns Committee, Pow Wow Committees, Mamawi, Child Welfare League of Canada and the Ottawa Catholic School Board
  • Author and illustrator for book ‘The Blackberry Moon’ for Wabano Centre
  • He designed an orange T-shirt ‘A New Dawn – Healing Begins Now’ for Orange Shirt Day 2022
  • He designed another orange T-shirt in 2024
  • Samples of his artwork can be found under ‘Books’, ‘Greeting Cards’ and ‘Photos’ on his website www.albertdumont.com

Volunteering

  • In the spring of 1991, Albert fell from scaffolding (43 ft.). He sustained many injuries, the worst of which was a broken back. Two vertebrae were crushed, two were cracked, the spine above and below the damaged vertebrae was also cracked.
    In appreciation for not being killed nor paralyzed, Albert volunteered for 9 years at St. Vincent Hospital for the chronically ill (1994-2004)
  • Albert was instrumental in bringing 14 Pow Wows to the Ottawa Region (Algonquin Territory)
  • He volunteered as cook with the Little Beavers Camp for 4 years 1994-1998
  • Financed and volunteered to cook numerous breakfasts, turkey dinners and BBQ’s at Shawenjeagamik, 510 Rideau, a drop-in centre for homeless Indigenous people from 2010 to 2019
  • Visited non-Indigenous people dying of cancer at Maycourt Hospice
  • Visited Indigenous people at St. Vincent Hospital and Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital
  • Sits on several activist committees who dedicate time, resources and energies into making Ottawa a safer and better place for families to grow and prosper

Awards

2010 Public Service Alliance of Canada – National Capital Region (PSAC NCR) Human Rights Recognition Award
2017 DreamKEEPERS Citation for Outstanding Leadership
2017 RCMP Blanket Ceremony
2021 National Defence Plaque
2022 Official graduate Hillcrest High School (High School Diploma)
2023 François Bregha Storyteller Award from The Historical Society of Ottawa

One Response to Biography

  1. Leen Matthyssen says:

    Hello Albert, just left work where I spent the day with you and Marc at the MRC Pontiac. Just wanted to let you know personally that I feel like you touched my spirit with your words. I felt disconnected a lot of my life and felt different and after today feel a sense of purpose to just be. I was raised Catholic and made to go to church every Sunday and never really connected with the religion. it is also why I chose not to have my children baptized. I felt I would be a hypocrite seeing as I don’t practice any religion. Anyway, next time I will be in the forest (which I will be this weekend with my boys for the deer hunt) I will make sure to open myself up to it all. I will make sure to thank nature for what it’s giving me and I will give my boys the choice to decide for themselves but will explain why I’m thanking nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


seven + = 14