The small Christian church at Kitigan Zibi (Algonquin unceded territory, QC) is the pride of many residents of this Anishinabeg community, 135 km north of Ottawa on Highway 105. Many a wedding and baptism ceremony have occurred there over the passage of the church’s years on our reserve. My parents had their funeral masses held there. It was for them, in life, a sacred place.
Though I myself am not a Christian, I would do all possible to save the little church should anyone ever threaten her existence.
If someone, for example, entered our community and said, “I have been given authority by the government to remove this church from its very foundation, board by board, pew by pew. And upon the place where it once stood, I will build condos where only the very rich will live. To pacify you, I will create jobs for your community until the condos are built.”
I’m well aware that no one would dare support such a thing at Kitigan Zibi. If they tried, a great protest would arise. I would stand in solidarity with the people protesting the destruction of a sacred place, even to the point of risking the spilling of my own blood to save the church. I am not a Christian, but I stand behind Rabbi Bulka’s words, “An attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths.”
An ancient place of prayer and ceremony within the perimeters of the homeland of the Algonquin Anishinabe is under threat of being destroyed by a developer. There was a time in the past when “Akikodjiwan,” as it is called by Algonquins north of K.Z., or “Asinabka” as it was called by the late William Commanda, served the People so well that we were always spiritually at peace because of its existence. It is truly heart-wrenching and frightening to think that Akikodjiwan will become a place of condos and commerce if the developers, Windmill and Dream, get their way. Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, if you feel that Indigenous spirituality is worth preserving, we call on you to stand as one with us.
Remember that when only Indigenous spirituality existed here on our traditional lands, the People went, in an honourable and humble way, to places like Akikodjiwan. They requested guidance in their thoughts and healing for any negative deeds they perpetrated. There was no need for prisons at that time, nor were there the things of addictions to sink our People. There was no suicide epidemic! Our Indigenous spirituality was given to the First Peoples by Creator to honour and respect all life, especially that of water. It was beautiful and powerful. This is why our spirituality was outlawed by the colonizers who feared it and knew that with our spiritual beliefs intact, we as a people would never be controlled nor manipulated by anyone.
On June 22nd, at Victoria Island, let us meet and walk in peace and solidarity to Parliament Hill. Together, we will tell all Canadians that Akikodjiwan can and should become greenspace, parkland and a place of sacredness for all of us to benefit from.
Click here for more information about the walk.
Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind (Albert Dumont)
PS – Please promote the walk on FB and here is my latest Newsletter you can share.
My friend and I are coming.
As settlers whose shame is never-ending over this colonial and corporate grab of most sacred space in the year 2018, we will walk with you in the way our ancestors failed to do. Its right destiny is as Grandfather William Commanda imagined it: a place for people of all nations to heal, and for the healing of Algonquin Anishinabe. This is a site like Mecca, like Jerusalem, like Rome–it cannot fall into the hands of wealthy shoppers and condo speculators. What a trite desecration.
This is the twenty-first century and this government must make good on its claim to reconciliation.
Please understand that the shame of past injustices against the First Peoples is not yours to bear. It belongs to the men who created the “Indian Act” and the Residential School system and to anyone whose racist and corrupt actions sink the possibility of a fair and just society.
Welcome dear friends to our walk.
Join me and the world to pray, to walk, as One.. it is time now to see we can be the change we yearn to see once we awaken to what is truly happening in our own back yard.. let us open wide our minds, ears, hearts and voices as One Universal Family we must care for each other.. and restore balance to all extreme polarities or we are just as guilty as those whose vested interest is materialism and fear before spirituality and love to be our cause to walk and live restorative ways of justice to a deeply challenging world where the rich get richer and the original peoples of Canada’s deep wisdom and spirituality we need so powerfully to be heard in our own hearts awakening to why we have come. To be the change we yearn to see we are all called thanks for your presence and prayers this Friday June 22, from 10 am to 1 pm let us be One human Family universally awakening in each other the best inside ourselves.