It sickens my heart to hear people say, “The islands around the Chaudière Falls (Asinabka) are privately owned.”
I am in total agreement that many things of our dysfunctional world can be bought and sold. There was even a time on this continent when human beings were paraded naked, like livestock, to be sold to buyers who placed the men, women and children they purchased into a life of slavery. In those shameful times money could buy everything from summer berries to the scalps of our Anishinabe ancestors. Though it might be difficult to emotionally and spiritually process today the atrocities I mention above were not only condoned but actually praised by most of the colonizers living back then. The horrors which took place on the back of our gentle Turtle Island in the past are truly shameful!
In more recent times, injustices which occurred in other parts of the planet are coming to light. I draw your attention to a conflict I have been tracking, taking place today in Europe and New York City. First of all, a question! To whom do the priceless art collections belonging to Jews seized by the Nazis during the Second World War now belong? Can descendants of the people who lost the art collections justifiably lay claim to what was violently stolen two or three generations ago and demand that the property be returned to them by whoever claims ‘ownership’ of the artwork today? Who will decide what is fair? To me, it is an open and shut case! What was acquired through thievery must be returned to the rightful owners. Wait and see, the courts will decide likewise, I’m sure.
Artwork is what it is! Whatever humankind creates will at some point have a price tag hanging from it! We live in a world where money talks! A sacred site, though, is something created by Great Spirit. It cannot be bought like a bushel of carrots or like one of Picasso’s originals. There is no amount of money existing in the world today, nor will there ever be, that could purchase it. Asinabka cannot be ‘privately owned,’ not even by the People on whose traditional territory it sits upon. Asinabka was stolen away from the Algonquin Anishinabeg at a time when our numbers were few and after our ancestors had been forced away from the sacred site by the ruthless and viscous businessmen of those times.
Asinabka is a place where healing medicine, solitude and culture flow in unison, like the waters of the Great River do. Kichi Zibi carries within it the waters of springs, creeks and of the rain. We need Asinabka to exist so our next generations will have a chance at understanding something about the purity of spirituality and also about the necessity of it in our lives.
Let us look into our own homes. What evidence do we see signalling to us that the spiritual wellbeing of our children and grandchildren is being properly tended to? I ask you to look into the heart of your community. Do you see respect and honour being heaped onto our women and girls? Do you see youngsters who do not know where to draw the line with things of the party world? If we see dysfunction and despair, even a tiny bit of it, and think “money will fix it for money fixes all things,” then we need to be made aware that another piece of what defines us as human beings has fallen away from the light and has been swallowed up by the monster of greed.
If we lose Asinabka, we remove from the grasp of our children an enormous chunk of our already shredded culture and identity. Like us, our children and grandchildren will die some day. Our prayer is that their souls will climb the sky to soar like ravens to the place our ancestors dwell. This is the hope I have for my descendants at least. And I will do all in my power to save Asinabka from being defiled to make their journey better. I will do so for the spiritual betterment of my family. They call on me to do so. I answer the call and will fight with all the strength of my heart to protect the healing place of our ancestors.
I hope it’s not the case, but most likely there are people around us to whom it makes sense that an individual could be bought and sold, or that the placing of a bounty on the scalp of a human being assured the creation of a nation. What is worse by far is that there are people walking the Earth today who believe they can actually ‘own’ a sacred site. It’s enough to make me vomit.
Keep the Circle Strong,
What you can do to help protect our sacred Asinabka site:
-> Read, act upon, and share this call for support from Four Algonquin Communities: http://bit.ly/1RJB5d2
-> Be there for the Ceremony and Sacred Walk lead by Grandmothers on 17 June: http://www.itissacred.ca/