I want all of you who took the time to send your most welcomed remarks congratulating me for receiving a citation (DreamKEEPERS Citation for Outstanding Leadership) to know how grateful I am that you did so.
A friend of mine told me long ago that a human being could do “a lifetime of good deeds and not receive even one eagle feather for doing so.” Such is the greatness of the respect and honour we have for the Creator’s messenger. The eagle feather should never be given to any person unless an action or actions connected to the promotion of health and well-being for all the goodness placed before us by Creator, lest the feather lose its power and what it symbolizes to us who treasure it as one of our most sacred objects.
The citation I received on January 16, 2017 was a proud moment for me to be sure. You can watch the whole DreamKEEPERS award ceremony at this link to RogersTV. My reception of the citation and speech is at approximately 32:00. I do not know who nominated me nor do I know who the committee members are who voted for me. I only know that I am truly humbled and will keep the moment I received the citation forever close to my heart.
It feels pretty darn awesome to know that good-spirited people are ready to defend our constitutional right to freedom of spiritual expression. Any Canadian not prepared to do so should hide their face in shame. I heard faith leaders speak on Martin Luther King Day about how they united after synagogues, mosques and churches were attacked by vandals who wrote hateful graffiti and painted swastikas on their revered houses of worship. My heart went out to them, for no one knows more than the Indigenous Peoples what it feels like to have the sacred places, where our people have gone to pray since time immemorial, defiled and taken from us as an attempt to rob us of our own ancient spiritual beliefs. I speak now about the Chaudière Falls (Akikodjiwan).
The swastikas which were painted on the houses of worship in this city were removed, doing so did not take long. The physical evidence of hate may be gone from view but all sensible people are well aware that hate is still present and is ever lurking in the shadows. I stand in solidarity with faith leaders dedicated to defending their holy places from any further attacks hate mongers may try to bring upon them. I’ll do whatever I can as an activist to help. But I call on the faith leaders to do likewise for us.
Akikodjiwan, the most sacred site within the boundaries of Algonquin territory appears to be on the verge of destruction at the hands of Windmill Development/DreamCorp. Their claim is that Akikodjiwan is now privately owned. This is not true. Lindsay Lambert has researched it and has found evidence that proves most of our sacred site is still Crown Land (land stolen from the Algonquin Anishinabe at a time when we were rendered helpless through European oppression).
A great swastika in the form of the Domtar buildings now defiles our sacred site. The faith leaders, all of them, from one end of Canada to the other, up and around, over and under must stand as one with us. If they are true to the teachings of their holy books then they will demand that the people of their congregations assist us in the removal of the swastika now present at Akikodjiwan. If they are real in their claim of solidarity, then they will call on the politicians to have our sacred place returned to the People. If they do not, they prove to all people that the traditional spirituality of the Indigenous Peoples is worthless and is not recognized by the God who speaks to them through the words of their prophets. I challenge any faith leader to tell me why Akikodjiwan is not worth defending in their eyes.