Soon after Friday night’s restful hours began for me, I collapsed onto my bed where I promptly fell into deep, peaceful slumber. The events of September 30, the closing of the SJAM Parkway for a couple of hours, the hundreds of people who somehow through the blessings of the good spirit, were able to bring their hearts together spiritually, to offer to Creator the music of one beautiful gigantic heart while all the time a hawk watched from a nearby tree branch – these things, put a smile on my face and delivered me into dreamland.
A few minutes after 3 AM that night I awoke, the memories of the ‘Every Child Matters Parkway’ and the ‘Acknowledge the Truth Walk’ again brought joy to my heart. Wow! What an extraordinary day!
Today, my dear TEAM members are openly sharing their feelings about how rewarding the ‘Acknowledge the Truth Walk’ was for them, too. There exists in the fibres of life’s web, mysteries that will never be really comprehended by human beings. The fact that a spiritually enriching moment in one’s life can take an iron-hold on the spirit, blessing it with a seed from which a beautiful flower will grow! The person it is attached to feels it and knows that the energy coming through their bodies, like the currents of a mighty river, will be part of their spiritual selves for all the remaining years of their life. Know with all certainty, my friends, that the strands of your life’s web will surely become stronger because of it. We will never fully understand what is going on with such an energy transfer. But are 100% aware that it was the honourable deed we took part in which created it. Friday was such a day. All of you who were present know what I am talking about.
I want to identify some people who, if not for them, the walk we were part of on Friday, would never have come to pass. All of these extraordinary people are equally deserving of being honoured. They were and are dedicated beyond measure to actions of reconciliation. What a joy it was to plan and then deliver, alongside them, something as great as Friday’s walk. I begin:
Sylvia Smith, retired school teacher and founder of Project of Heart
Dr. Lisa Howell, former teacher and Ottawa University professor
Pamela Naymark, mother, perpetual optimist, health equity advocate, lover of food, travel and cultural diversity
Bruce Tate, father, partner, mentor, friend, learner, volunteer
Laurie, volunteer with Justice for Indigenous Women
Diana Brushey, eco-educator with CanaDiana UnlimiTed, and Faith Formation Leader at Kitchissippi United Church
Élaine Simon, immigration and refugee lawyer, activist, musician and dancer
Nicola Whitehouse, Vice Principal with the Ottawa Catholic School Board
Lindsey Barr, Founder of World-Changing Kids
None of them nor I, received even a nickel in honoraria for planning and bringing awareness to the cause of removing SJAM’s name from the Parkway. We only wanted to be part of something of reconciliation between the Anishinabe Algonquin and settler people. The children who suffered and died in residential schools called on us to do so.
If a reader of this tribute to the best TEAM ever, was with us whether in person or in spirit, I want you to know that you are not taken for granted. YOU! You are so special. Your open, gentle and kind heart instructed you to answer the call of the innocent children who were forced to endure untold miseries and death, at far from home residential schools. You did, what too many others do not want to do. You lent of your person, you were counted at the Walk and my heart rejoiced to see you there.
When the team gets together before October is gone, we will honour you and feast you. A spirit plate will be put out for you and all the good people of your bloodline. Migwech for being present on September 30, 2022.
Anishinabe Algonquin elders and Residential School survivors joined us in a smudging ritual before the Walk began. How grateful all of us were to have their energy and spirit, add strength to the purpose of the Walk. Because of the death of Mary Whiteduck, also a Residential School survivor and respected elder who was laid to rest on September 30, some Algonquin elders dedicated to our cause, could not attend.
It was said in the sacredness of the smudging circle that each step of the ‘Acknowledge the Truth Walk’ would be a prayer being offered to Creator for all the children who died in the residential schools. Myself and others among the walkers kept Mary Whiteduck in mind as we walked along. Our people who felt the cruelty of white supremacy will never be forgotten by us who were so fortunate to not be taken from loving family to the hell of a far-away school.
Others who are folks I admire and respect and who I embrace as true and real friends are:
Bishop Shane Parker of the Anglican Diocese
Claude Latour, artist and activist and a member of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation
Chris White, founder of the Folk Festival which delighted thousands of people during its years at Britannia Park
Tito Medina, audio engineer, composer, singer, songwriter, cultural activist
Kyrstin Dumont, advocate, activist and motivational speaker
The shy children who spoke the words “Every Child Matters”
Christopher Elle for his song
Diana Brushey for her song
Julie Comber for her song
Ken, Jenessa and Nathan from Kitchisippi United Church for their time and talent
And of course the hawk who watched (from beginning to end) from the branch of a tree near where the ‘Every Child Matters’ sign stood.
A big ‘Thank You’ also to Beth Bretzlaff, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral for being there to support the walk.
The Walk was made stronger because of the good people from the PSAC-NCR. Their members were present. They acted as marshals and worked the table. They also made a monetary contribution (without being asked to do so) which helped over costs related to the Walk. Thank you, my dear friends.
A big ‘Migwech’ too, for the Indigenous Action Circle. You guys rock!
Oppression and genocide took place on beautiful Turtle Island. Too many are still broken because of it! In Anishinabe Algonquin territory, goodhearted people have decided that no more will they remain silent. Their wish is to help mend the wrongs of the past by standing with those who suffered because of colonization’s cruelty and barbarity. They do so because the human heart tells them that it is the right thing to do.
This movement needs your support. Please help out by standing with us at our next event.
Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind (Albert Dumont)
Thank you Albert, for putting this forward and leading us. I was able to join you in the walk using my brand new walker. First time in years that I have walked with out pain and without being hunched over gasping for breath. This was a personal triumph for which I thank God. And then to hear that the NCR will be changing the name in January, I am praying that it will be the name that the large sign/banner suggested.
Thank you for all of your leadership and goodness Albert.
Migwech ever so much for reaching out with your kind sentiments. I am a man who lives with chronic back pain. Sometimes excruciating! But on Sept. 30th I felt no pain whatsoever as I walked backwards most of the route. I believe it was the energy of the walk’s participants. The young and the old and those in between were as one on the parkway. To describe it as good medicine is an understatement.
All the best,