Is the soft, rich earth under our feet sacred? Indeed it is! So too are the circles of the sky, the sun and moon, also the wind our children take into their lungs and the waters which flow before a birthing occurs. All of these things are truly special in the eyes of the eagle.
Weak and unsure of life at the time my sobriety began, I searched aimlessly to find a healing place. At last, I found it where the waters fall over the ancient rock of a small, obscure river. Slowly but surely, the songs sent forth from the water at that sacred place, washed away from my aching spirit, all the filth my severe addiction had placed upon it over those many wasted years of my alcohol-fuelled life.
Some people teach us today that sacredness exists in many places, that Akikodjiwan (Chaudière Falls) is not necessary as a place of rejuvenation and healing. They point to places like the one where my sobriety began and say, “Healing occurs there, too.” To me, comparing the small falls where my recovery began to the spiritual grandness of Akikodjiwan is like the comparing of a single needle from the branch of a majestic pine to the wonder and greatness of the entire tree itself. Akikodjiwan stands alone as the one true leader of all healing places in Anishinabe Territory. Let there be no doubt or confusion about it!
If there are Algonquin chiefs who fail to understand this, it would not discourage me all that much. You see, the chiefs are responsible for their own spiritual journeys as I am for mine. The chiefs have no authority to interfere with the right Creator gave me to embrace a spirituality placed on Turtle Island since the time of our creation. No chief, nor politician, nor developer, nor any amount of money can take that right from me nor from anyone else. The right to freedom of religious expression cannot be toyed with. Even Canada’s Constitution protects it. Even the United Nations defends it. The chiefs who would block the Peoples of Turtle Island access to Akikodjiwan need to back off at least until all the voters they represent know full well what is spiritually at stake here.
As emotionally troubling as it is, there are human beings among us who believe that ‘spirit’ is no longer present at Akikodjiwan. (I’m serious.) Driven out they say, by industry and pollution. But the fact is and always will be that the so-called ‘Almighty Dollar’ itself will never possess the strength to chase the spirits of our ancestors from our most sacred site. Only the People can do so by rejecting the fact that we too are entitled to our own spiritual beliefs. When we no longer call out to them (the spirits at Akikodjiwan) during our time of need and when we find ourselves in a time of sorrow, the songs at Akikodjiwan will then only be heard by the animals of the field and by the birds of the sky, soaring over our once perfect homeland. The Almighty Dollar will finally have conquered the People and will rule over us brutally and ruthlessly, and without conscience. Our ways will be lost, existing only as shadows or caricatures of something which had served human beings so well in the past before the arrival of money and technology.
I give fair notice at this time: I intend to initiate a class action lawsuit, ASAP, against the NCC, Catherine McKenna, the Governor General of Canada and Justin Trudeau for their failure to do what is right and for their roles in continuing the genocide of the First Nations Peoples. If Akikodjiwan is further defiled by the erection of condos and by commerce upon it, the people and institutions named above will pay dearly for their part in allowing it to happen. This is my promise!
I call for a peaceful protest march to be organized in the near future, led by the city’s faith leaders. The faith leaders would take their place at the forefront of the protestors to prove their recent claim that “an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths.”
If a developer dared to give notice to the rabbi, the imam, the priest or minister, and informed them that their house of worship would be ripped down regardless of their protest and be replaced by condos, I would stand with the faith leaders in their opposition to such an outrage. I would donate time, energy and resources to protect their sacred place. I would do so, boldly and without fear of political repercussions. I expect the faith leaders of Ottawa and of the world to do the same for me. The original People will fight to return the faith and spirituality of our forbearers back again to assist us in our recovery as Anishinabeg nations.