Rest in Peace, Matt Brown, you were a Good Activist

An Ottawa Citizen newspaper obit let me know on Saturday, March 27 that Matthew Morgan-Brown passed away of unknown causes on March 16, 2021. Matt was only 43 years of age. Far too young to die!

Matt’s hope for our world was one where poisons capable of killing water would be outlawed, a world where birds and animals would never go extinct at the cost of money being made, a world where there would be no such thing as corrupt politicians and a world where the so-called Almighty Dollar would be stomped, tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail. The world Matt would have loved to live in while in this physical realm can only be imagined. Such a world truly is a pipe dream with no chance of ever coming to pass. Only where Matt Morgan-Brown is now in that spiritual plain of his new existence, does he enjoy the world he fought so desperately for on God’s green earth. The waters he finds around him now can never be poisoned, let there be no doubt about it.

Matt had a big heart for the spiritual ways of the Indigenous Peoples. He stood loyally with the Algonquins when the activists among our Nation made a stand in defence of trees (Barriere Lake) or when we made demands of health for the territory’s waters (Akikodjiwan). He got my respect because of it! The truth and all it stands for was something of the greatest importance to Matt. He enjoyed deep, meaningful conversations with fellow activists he knew would be truthful in the opinions and views they shared. He just didn’t have the time of day for BS.

Matt was a poor man so far as bank accounts go but the spiritual wealth he acquired over the short time of his ‘earth walk’, placed him in the upper class so far as I’m concerned. Matt celebrated his birthday every year. He’d choose a restaurant, make a few phone calls and at a time appointed by him, his friends would meet to dine and have a few laughs as one. I was always proud to pick up the tab for the meal Matt had selected for himself.

Matthew Morgan-Brown. If you didn’t know him, I ask that you mourn him just the same. And I’ll tell you why you should! If you care about the health of this precious planet of ours, mourn Matt. If human rights mean anything at all to you, mourn Matt. If you have ever been victimized by politicians, the police or by the ruthlessness of the super rich, then mourn Matthew Morgan-Brown. Mourn him with all the power of your heart because Matt fought with all his might to bring righteousness to all of those things. He did so on his own nickel. Never forget that he lived in poverty (often eating in soup kitchens) and that he would have given up his life to save yours in a heartbeat. I know with all certainty that he would have done so.

Enjoy the life you have now, Matthew Morgan-Brown. I’ll be seeing you again at some point in the future.

With eternal respect,

South Wind

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Fraudsters Attempting to Destroy Algonquin Nation (Part 2)

I address the following to the People of the Algonquin Anishinabeg:

Are you, as a status member of the Algonquin Nation, aware that the Algonquin Land Claim is being partially settled (Ontario) without your input being requested nor wanted? An ‘Agreement in Principle’ has already been signed between the Crown (Canada) and an ‘organization’ calling themselves the ‘Algonquins of Ontario’ (AOO). Excuse my language but all of this is pretty weird shit, given the fact that there is no such thing as the Algonquins of Ontario. There is only the Algonquin Nation, period. As such, it is members of the Algonquin Nation (all of us) who should be the beneficiaries of any compensation forthcoming when our land claim is finally settled.

The AOO say they reached out to all Algonquin Bands years ago but according to them, our leadership responded “we aren’t ready for it”. The AOO then proceeded without our Chiefs, as if no other option existed in their negotiations with the Crown. Out of respect for the Nation as a whole, no negotiations on the land claim should have ever occurred until All Algonquin Bands were ‘ready’ to commence with negotiations in the land claim process. The Agreement In Principle worked out by the AOO calls on the Crown to pay $300million (chump change) to the AOO for our Algonquin lands on the Ontario side of the river. You, the Status Algonquins of Kitigan Zibi, Barriere Lake, Kitcisakik, Lac Simon, Abitibiwinni, Long Point, Timiskaming, Kebaowek, and Wolf Lake never had a say in this agreement. It’s like you owning a house and having a bunch of pirates suddenly come in and sell the main floor of your home and then expecting you to be happy with it. It’s like an inheritance has been left to you by your grandparents and then have unscrupulous fraudsters charging in, pushing you aside, to stake claim on what is rightfully yours. I say fraudsters to describe these people because even the ‘Indian Act’ states that any land claim settlements being negotiated must be done between a First Nation and the Crown. Nowhere does it say in the Act that negotiations can take place between the Crown and an ‘organization’ to settle a land claim. Especially with an organization like the AOO who have among their members people with point one of one percent Indigenous blood in their veins. You’ve got to wonder, at what time are these people going to ID as Métis? (Check my past blogs to read opinions I have expressed on this topic.) Always keep in mind that our ancestors never gave away nor sold Algonquin lands to an organization (AOO). Algonquin land is Algonquin land is Algonquin land! These lands are our inheritance! Take a look at yourself in the nearest mirror. Ask yourself, “Am I or am I not a member of a Nation? The Algonquin Nation!” If you answer to the affirmative, then by George, do something about it! It’s time for the youth of our grassroots communities to rise up and take the lead!

The AOO evicted 2,500 of their members a few years ago. Why? Apparently it was discovered that the 2,500 people thrown out of the AOO were not REAL Algonquins. The question we want answered is, how did the 2,500 people identifying as Algonquins get on the AOO membership list in the first place? How many more fraudsters are still on their membership rolls?

The Algonquin Land Claim cannot be settled in bits and pieces. Ancestral lands cannot be bargained away by any one organization. The Crown cannot negotiate the Algonquin Land Claim with people who are NOT recognized as Algonquins under the definition put forward in the Indian Act. There are billions of dollars at stake, not millions. Money Algonquins receive in a land claim settlement will build our economies. (The entire land claim must be settled in one package.) We will finally have better schools, healthcare, homes etc. etc. If we allow the AOO to settle our land claim, we get NOTHING!

We, as REAL Algonquins, need to do whatever is necessary to stop the Agreement In Principle the AOO and the Feds have put together. If we fail, then we fail not only ourselves but also our future generations. Algonquins not yet born will shake their heads in dismay. “How could our People be so stupid?” they will say. My descendants will be well aware that Mishòmis Oshki Nodin (Albert Dumont) tried to do what was right on the subject of the Algonquin Land Claim. I hope and pray that ‘your’ future generations will be able to declare the same about you.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Fraudsters Attempting to Destroy Algonquin Nation (Part 1)

According to scientists who study animal evolution, dogs are descendants of wolves. Personally, I have my doubts about that. But for the sake of avoiding argument, let’s say that I agree that the old hound I saw today, tied by the neck to a bike railing at Loblaws had indeed an ancestor from long, long ago who was the alpha of a marauding wolf pack. Just between you and I, the old hound with his droopy, sad eyes, floppy ears and short legs does not have, in my opinion, any resemblance to the fierce wolves, science claims he possesses a blood connection to. The hound looks more to me like someone trained to track and take down wolves in the most cruelest of ways. I wonder what the wolf howling up at a summer moon would have to say if he were informed that the old hound, was claiming a close kinship to him. What would the wolf of the rugged and free forest say if the old hound one day, let it be known to all including the wolf that he (the hound) was renouncing his ‘houndness’ and wished forevermore to ‘identify’ as a wolf. I wonder if the moon, the birds and animals would believe Snoopy when he stepped forward and declared, “Behold, before you I stand today as a noble and proud wolf.” What would Creator think of it all?

To be clear, the view I share here is directed at people who, even though they lived a life of privilege (never experiencing the oppressive torment of the Indian Act) ID now as First Nations citizens. Too many of them do so to pillage grants being offered by Arts Councils put in place specifically for artists of Indigenous bloodlines. Other reasons why fraudsters declare themselves as Indigenous is their hope that they will become respected in the community as elders and spiritual leaders. Jobs created for Indigenous Peoples are being stolen by workers who self-ID as being First Nation. Who knows, some of them may even believe that their European bloodline alone, qualifies them to step forward as some kind of saviour of the poor, defenceless, ignorant ‘Indians’. It’s as if some self-ID people believe that if not for the Joseph Boydens and Michelle Latimers of this world, there would be no success to speak of in so-called ‘Indian Country’.

In this crazy world we live in we have people like Joseph Boyden and Michelle Latimer who claim a blood connection to the Indigenous Peoples. The ancestor they oh so lovingly embrace could be from several hundred years ago. The identity thieves exploit the unknown relative for all it’s worth. These shameless people, the ones who are outright liars, don their ribbon shirts and slip on moccasins before promoting themselves as artists, storytellers, elders etc. hailing from Algonquin, Cree, Huron or whatever other Nation they pull from the hat of many Nations. They go with pen on the ready to wherever money is being dished out supposedly for access to Indigenous People. They look for and then check off that small but powerful box in a grant application ‘are you First Nation?’. The pen comes out and they mark their X. Some of these people, who hardly have any more Indigenous blood in them than did the mosquito who sucked blood from my skin last spring, sadly, have a better than average chance of securing a grant simply because they were never weighted down in life by the oppression of the Indian Act. When you live a life of privilege the ‘con’ is much easier for the crooked-minded to pull off. The ‘self-ID’ gets the grant, his/her voice is heard while the voice of the First Nations artist whose family line was confronted by the ‘Indian Act’ for generation after generation falls silent. What a lot of the self-ID (the outright liars) produce is popcorn, hocus pocus, new age crap. Sickening as it is, the fraudsters want to tell ‘our story’.

Getting back to the wolf and the hound, if you want to hear the story of what life is for a wolf, do not expect to get an accurate account of it from a hound. Go to the wolf. What the wolf has to say will be authentic, what the hound tells will be make-believe. Make no mistake about it, a lot of the liars who self-ID as Algonquin are not in solidarity with the Algonquin Nation. What they really are is a nuisance, another obstacle, another tactic from an oppressive society to keep the Anishinabe down. If someone among them truly does have Indigenous blood in their veins/heart, then I, as a human rights activist, will stand in their defence. All I ask in return is that if your blood connection to the Anishinabe is from hundreds of years ago, please do not get in our way as an artist, nor steal jobs meant for Algonquins, nor as someone who expects to have a vote on the Algonquin land claim.

If Michelle Latimer is a talented artist, good for her. She did not however, have to ID as an Algonquin to be successful. Believe me, grant money that she got by checking off the box in an application is money an authentic Algonquin artist could have secured. Michelle’s voice was heard. The REAL voice was silenced. Let’s have some faith in our First Nations artists. They are talented. They are genuine. Give them a chance to prove it!

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Bob Nesbitt, Friend and Founder of Grassroots Festival

Bob Nesbitt
born April 26, 1939 
passed away February 27, 2021

Bob Nesbitt had an honourable heart. And he kept it well through the doing of good deeds and service to his community. He was a man who understood fully, what it is to be a human being never allowing the fact that his skin was white to interfere in how he lived his life. Bob Nesbitt’s eyes searched only for what was good in the hearts of all people he met. There was no mountain he couldn’t climb, such was his energy, such was his spirit. A friend called on Sunday afternoon to let me know that Bob had died. But people like Bob Nesbitt do not die. They live on and on, led into eternity by the hand of all the world’s tomorrows to become a legend and as the old saying goes, “A legend never dies.”

I met with Bob several times at North River Road Park for egg salad sandwiches and homemade cookies, in the months before cancer gained on him to the point where he said to me, “I’m in a lot of pain. The thought of not being in pain anymore brings a smile to my face. Do you know what I mean, Albert?” I replied that yes, I did know what he meant. Bob didn’t fear death. A good man with an unburdened conscience never does!

As an Algonquin man and as a human being I can say that the day I crossed paths with Bob was a blessed one in my life. He was the type of man who truly wanted to leave this world better, not just for his family and friends but for everyone. In Bob’s eyes the citizens of Ontario and all of Canada were deserving of being treated with respect and dignity.

Bob was a former carpenter and forester. His love of trees, their beauty and grandeur, their wisdom, were things always by his side. Bob understood the forest. To him, there was no better place to be. The waterways, the trails, the canoe, a campfire, time with his adoring wife Susan, wit, humour, conversation, a hearty laugh, these things meant so much to Bob. I see him now, in my mind’s eye. He is there again in a forest, far, far away from cancer. He is pain free, he is smiling.

Bob Nesbitt founded the ‘Ottawa Grassroots Festival’. It was important to Bob that an Algonquin open the Fest with welcoming words and a prayer. A friendship began. The Festival will carry on. Bob will always be there in spirit. He was an earth shaker, a rare one indeed. Ottawa has lost a community builder. Who will fill Bob Nesbitt’s boots? It won’t be easy. Whoever takes up the challenge, my advice, call Bob by your side and you’ll be fine. Bob Nesbitt won’t let you down.

Keep the Circle strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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An Algonquin Perspective to the Algonquin Land Claim

I have a vague recollection of a biblical story from my tender years. It went something like this.

A young man had come into an inheritance, a substantial amount of gold. He took it and left the family home, heading straight for the high life. He wasn’t wise with the wealth he had inherited. He partied hearty, foolishly spending his money as if it would be everlasting. In a short while he was penniless. In rags, dirty and starving he returned to his former home and family, begging for forgiveness. The young man’s family welcomed him back into their loving circle. The fatted calf was slain, a great feast was prepared to celebrate the homecoming of the ‘Prodigal Son’.

The family’s decision to welcome a member of their bloodline, a close family member, back into their midst was a wise and proper one. The story being told today by the Algonquins of Ontario is much different than that of the Prodigal Son. The story the AOO tell, speaks of a large, proud family living in a grand house. One day, a distant cousin, ten times removed shows up on their doorstep. “Kwey, kwey,” he shouts into the house. “It’s me! I’m here! Step aside, I’m taking over your home.” The AOO would have you believe that their story makes every bit of sense. But to many, like perhaps 99% of status Algonquins, the story they tell makes absolutely no sense at all. REAL Algonquins ask, “Who the hell is this long lost cousin? What gives him the right to take over negotiations on our land claim?”

I recall very clearly back in the 1970’s that in Pontiac County a group calling themselves ‘The Indian Alliance’ suddenly showing up. They lobbied for housing and other benefits for citizens of Indigenous bloodline. A lot of people in the Pontiac saw an opportunity and signed on as an ‘Indian’. In short order subsidized housing became available to them. It was pretty crazy! Hardly 10 years before the Indian Alliance appeared, the Dumont family (my family) was on their own as ‘Indians’ in the Pontiac. But with the creation of the Indian Alliance and the promise of something in it for them, people who had shouted at the Dumont family to ”Go back where you came from, you damn Indians” or “Monje Savage” or “Fuckin’ Redskins” were all of a sudden identifying as Indians. None of them were identifying as ‘Algonquin’, only as Indians (this is an important fact, keep reading). Today, those former Indians are referring to themselves as ‘Off Reserve Algonquins’. I expect that they’ll be making a push to be recognized as legitimate voters in our land claim in the near future.

The experience of the Dumont Family in Pontiac County is more likely than not to be also that of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn. People who cussed down ‘Reserve Indians’ back in the 50’s and 60’s are now claiming to be Algonquins. Not only are they claiming to be Algonquins but they expect to have voting rights when Algonquins eventually decide what will be proper compensation for our unceded territory.

On the matter of blood quantum and how and why it matters on the topic of the Algonquin land claim, my feelings are this: The Algonquins who endured the oppression of the Indian Act and have become known as ‘Status Indians’ should decide on what blood quantum is acceptable to those who hope to have a vote on our land claim. If your blood quantum is at a level deemed to be too low by the Algonquin Nation, then step back. You do not have a right to a vote.

The AOO tell us that they “lived as Algonquins”. Let them agree then that investigators randomly choose 500 from the 1000’s of them claiming today to be ‘Real Algonquins’. If they are indeed REAL Algonquins, they won’t mind to be scrutinized so as to prove their claim of blood quantum and/or Algonquin ancestry. I know that in Pontiac County, members of the Indian Alliance did not ID as ‘Algonquin’. I recall a lot of them saying, “My grandma told us that her grandma was an Indian” (could have been Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk etc. etc.). Such a revelation should not give a person voting rights in our land claim. An Algonquin Chief recently stated, “The AOO are Michelle Latimer times five thousand.” The land claim cannot be partially settled as the AOO would do in Ontario. A land claim can only be settled in its entirety. The Michelle Latimer types do not have voting rights.

I end by saying that those people of my long ago memories who claimed ‘Indian’ bloodline will never become the Prodigal Son, to be welcomed with open arms as members of the Algonquin Nation. The Indian Act, for all of its destructive measures, clearly defines what an ‘Indian’ is. We do not need the Crown to tell us who we are and we’ll never let go of our right to say who it is that we bring into our community as a strong and contributing member.

Check out the song ‘Where Were You When’, one of my heroes sang. The words are as follows:

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN

Where were you when we needed you our friend
Where were you when we needed you to bend
Now you claim to be part Sioux or Cherokee
But where were you when we came close to the end?
When our land was being stolen, you just stood by
When we were being massacred, you didn’t even cry
When they put us on reservations, you didn’t lose any sleep
When we were starving half to death, you had enough to eat.
Where were you when we needed you our friend
Where were you when we needed you to bend
Now you claim to be part Sioux or Cherokee
But where were you when we came close to the end?
When we had no voice, you never said a word
When we cried out to you, you never even heard
When our freedom was bein’ denied, you never questioned why
And when we needed help, somehow the well was always dry
And, where were you when we needed you our friend
Where were you when we needed you to bend
Now you claim to be part Sioux or Cherokee
But where were you when we came close to the end?
Where were you when we needed you our friend
Where were you when we needed you to bend
Now you claim to be part Sioux or Cherokee
But where were you when we came close to the end?

Floyd Red Crow Westerman

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Letter to Mayor Watson re: Algonquins of Ontario

Dear Mayor Watson and Council Members,

‘Respect Every Algonquin Life’ (REAL) is something human rights activists stand to defend on the traditional lands of the Algonquin Anishinabeg.

It might well be true that some members of the leadership at Pikwàkanagàn recognize the ‘Algonquins of Ontario’ (AOO) organization as a legitimate body holding the right to determine how the Algonquin land claim settlement finally plays out. The politicians of the City of Ottawa, of Queen’s Park and the Feds might also agree with this outlook, failing somehow to see the nonsense in it. Why not, it serves Federal and Provincial politicians well to do so! But the fact that Algonquin territory is Algonquin territory no matter what side of the Ottawa River it is on is a fact impossible to dispute. Therefore, all parties involved must accept that the Algonquins on the Québec side of the river have a Creator-given right to be at any negotiation table where things of interest to their future generations are at stake. It’s Algonquin land, our spiritual DNA is in all things of our territory. We never surrendered it to anyone, including people who are presently pointing to an Algonquin ancestor from many, many generations ago, as a bulldozer pushing away Status Algonquins from land claim negotiations.

If at the end all else fails, let the Supreme Court of Canada decide if the Algonquins from Québec Reserves have a say in the Algonquin land claim, yes or no! I have faith in the wisdom, the intelligence and the fairness Supreme Court judges are capable of to say who does and who does not have a right to be heard on the issue of the Algonquin land claim. Negotiations for a settlement should no longer move forward without a strong REAL Algonquin presence being at the centre of the negotiation circle. Some of my Algonquin friends who defend Algonquin rights are peaceful in their protests but denying them their right to be heard on this matter, would be testing their limitations to a dangerous zone.

The tactic being used by ‘white negotiators’ in the land claim settlement is disgusting beyond imagination. They dare to ignore REAL Algonquins, preferring to negotiate with people having absolutely no right to speak for us. If such a tactic to resolve a land claim is successful here on Algonquin territory, a precedent will be set. The morbidly ridiculous manoeuvre being tested now on Algonquin land, if successful, will bring forth others, just as determined as the AOO is to silence true voices. Expect an organization calling themselves the ‘Algonquins of Québec’ to rise up! They’ll be ‘recognized’ by the Province of Québec and the Feds, and as is the case in Ontario, in a few years, the ‘Algonquins of Québec’ will be at the negotiation table in greater numbers than REAL Algonquins and we’ll end up only as mere observers in our own land claim (that’s what’s happening now in Ontario). Land claims across Canada will be settled ‘on the cheap’ by a pasal of wannabees, all because we allowed it to happen here.

I heard the CBC interview with Lynn Clouthier (AOO, Ottawa Negotiation Representative). Ms. Clouthier, after describing generations of AOO members (excluding Pikwàkanagàn) living in the Valley, stated, “We (AOO) lived as Algonquins with other Algonquins.” If this is true then where are the AOO’s Algonquin language speakers? Who among them were birchbark canoe builders? What are the stories passed on to them by their keepers of Indigenous Knowledge? If they exist, then I want to know who it was who taught them and how much the cost was? What evidence can the AOO produce that they were ‘living as Algonquins’ prior to the 1970’s?

People like Ms. Clouthier never felt the full extent of the poisonous bite the monster called the ‘Indian Act’ sunk into the hearts and spirits of ‘Status’ Algonquins. I ask, did her parents experience the ‘Pass System’? Were her parents forced to wait until 1960 to vote in a federal election? Did her parents or brothers and sisters attend Residential School or Day School? If the answer is no, then how dare they demand to be front and centre at the negotiating table on our land claim. At best, Ms. Clouthier might be accurate in describing herself as ‘Métis’, but she crosses the line when seeing herself as a human being having voting rights with the Algonquin land claim.

A REAL Algonquin would never ignore, forget nor dishonour their Brothers and Sisters from Reserves in our territory when it comes to land claim negotiations. Only desperate phoney imposters would do such a thing. The land claim cannot be settled in part (Ontario). It can only be settled in its entirety. Our lands in Ontario were given to the Algonquins by Creator at the same time as were those on the Québec side of the Ottawa River. It is the Ottawa River watershed! It is us!

I urge the authentic Algonquin Chiefs (from status communities) to request ‘Fifth Estate’  type investigators to look into the activities of the AOO leadership to discover where, what and why their organization was founded. A lot of corrupt, criminal and deceitful actions involving politicians, developers, business people and perhaps even Indigenous leaders will no doubt be uncovered. I urge the Real Chiefs to acquire the best of legal representation to sue the AOO leadership for interfering with a land claim process through the use of false representation. They (AOO) call themselves ‘Algonquins’ but are coming across more like pirates and pillagers. The Province of Ontario and the Federal Government are also liable for recognizing the AOO as legitimate representatives in our land claim. I urge all REAL Algonquins to contact their Chief and Band Councils and demand action on this extremely critical matter. We need now, more than ever before to get an iron grip on our identity as Algonquins. If we allow the AOO to continue in destroying us as a People, we fail our next generation to a degree that will bring shame to our ancestors and because of it, we will forever be the laughing stocks of all Turtle Island for allowing it to happen.

To the people who, outside of Pikwàkanagàn, call themselves ‘Algonquin’ I say this, “If this is what rocks your boat, then do it. There are people in Germany who each summer, build teepees and sing powwow songs while dancing in buckskins. Do what you want as long as you steer clear of our land claim. You don’t have any business in it.”

Mayor Watson said, “It is not the role of Ottawa City Council to judicate internal disputes between Algonquin communities.” He’s probably right. However, if Ottawa City Council is serious about reconciliation, they would not throw their support into one or the other of conflicting camps for the simple reason that by doing so, it chances enraging the other body. An ally or friend does not take such a chance! Ottawa City Council should stay out of this particular matter until the Algonquins (all Algonquins) are at peace with the problem before us. If Ottawa City Council moves ahead in support of Tewin, then they make it known to all that they stand with those who would erase the rights of the Algonquin Anishinabeg. A trust that can never be repaired will be broken because of a bad decision made by an Ottawa City Council with Jim Watson as Mayor. I ask Ottawa City Council that in regards to Tewin, stay out of it. Do not support it!

Albert Dumont
Algonquin, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg


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My First Pipe

28 years ago I participated in my first ever 4-day, 4-night fasting ceremony. I travelled a long way for it, right up to Thunder Bay, Ontario. There was a spiritual twitch deep inside my soul at the time, telling me how important it was that I discover the healing benefits of the fasting ceremony. I would have travelled clear across the country to experience it if I had to.

Upon arrival to the ceremonial site I saw that a sacred fire had already been ignited but also observed that not enough wood was on hand to keep the fire burning for the duration of the fasting time. The fasters were told by the elder’s helper, before he departed the ceremonial site that a truck would be bringing wood soon, assuring the fire would continue to be well fed. The next day with no sign of more wood being delivered to the site, I took it upon myself to draw dried branches from the forest to the circle of the sacred fire. It was good that I did so because the truck delivering wood didn’t arrive until the morning of the fourth day of the fast. There were over twenty people taking part in the fasting ceremony but to my recollection, no one else helped me in bringing wood to the fire. I had laboured without food or water for two days and at the end, I was so exhausted and drained of energy that I was on the verge of physical collapse.

When the elder (Walter Linklater) arrived to complete the fast with a purification lodge ceremony, he approached me and said, “before your return to Ottawa, stop by my house.” When I did so he presented me with a chunk of red pipe stone. It was his way of expressing his gratitude to the person who had kept the fire going.

Years later (1996) I met and befriended Bobby Woods (Lame Buffalo) who was an internationally recognized elder. Bobby, out of respect for me (so he said), carved the piece of pipe stone into a pipe bowl. This was not something I requested he do, it was something he offered. Then in about 2002, another elder (Curtis Hopkins) directed that it would be fitting for me to carve my own pipe stem. By coincidence, my friend Arnold Saulteaux had just presented me with a short piece of dry tamarack. I carved the tamarack into a stem and turned it over to an Algonquin friend (Solomon Wawatie) who slowly burnt a hole through it in a traditional fashion. I was instructed by yet another elder (Raymond Ballantyne) to place the pipe ‘on the land’ for 4 days and nights, allowing the pipe to get acquainted with ‘All Our Relations’ before it would be raised in ceremony.

So, very solemnly, I did as elder Ballantyne instructed. On the dawn of the first day, I placed the pipe on the branches of a spruce tree in Gatineau Park. As it turned out it was in the dead of winter that I did so. The days passed with thoughts of the pipe constantly on my mind. Before dawn of the fourth day I made my way to the spruce tree in the bitter cold, to retrieve the pipe. Around me, the trees cracked loudly, their sap not being able to withstand the freezing temperature without protest. The oxygen in the frozen snow crunched and squished as it was forced out of its bed by the weight of my steps. The wind I breathed into my body froze my lungs only to emerge from my mouth as puffs of white fog which disappeared quickly into the clear motionless dawn. A perfect day, a perfect season, a perfect time to begin a spiritual journey I thought as I lifted the pipe from the embrace of the spruce. The pipe is in my sacred bundle. I light it in ceremony for my family, community and nation. It gives me strength and guides my deeds and actions.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Logo Creation

Kwey to all,

I recently received a call from Child Welfare League of Canada who inquired if I was aware of an artist who could develop a logo for a group, consisting of several organizations who work for the emotional and physical wellbeing of Indigenous families. I asked if I could give the logo design a whirl. They agreed!

The design I created came easy for me. It features a family of five, sitting in the security and comfort of their own fire. The people around the fire are not recognizable as First Nations, Inuit or Métis but are whoever you wish them to be. Other details are attached to the design. I hope you like it. My client did and it is now officially on their letterhead. I must admit, I’m kinda proud!

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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Desecration of Sacred Items by Ottawa Police Service

Here are two letters, one from Kyrstin Dumont and myself, the other one from Pikwakanagan Chief Wendy Jocko:

Dear Chief Sloly, Mayor Jim Watson, City Manager Kanellakos, OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi, and Councillor Diane Deans,

We write to make you aware that we strongly condemn the actions taken by the Ottawa Police Service on Saturday at 3:30 am against a group of peaceful Indigenous, Black, and allied protesters. A promise had been made to the protesters that a meeting would occur (10 am) with the City politicians and other individuals who, if things went as hoped for (by all involved), could have persuaded the protesters to remove themselves from their camp. Instead of a meeting, a betrayal took place. No dialogue, just arrests by a massive group of police, assisted by OC Transpo and City employees and vehicles.

What is extremely disheartening to us is the fact that sacred objects at the protest camp were seized by City employees and the police. Only some of these items were returned. Those that were returned were piled outside of 29 Hurdman, mixed in with garbage and filth, and volunteers had to sift through everything for two hours during a snowstorm to recover them. These items included a sacred grandfather drum, medicines and hand drum. 

Why did you not bring in an elder/spiritual advisor or knowledge keeper to receive the sacred items when the officers discovered them at the site? Why did the police liaisons appear to have no knowledge of Indigenous people or culture or protest? The items could then have been respectfully cared for by an Elder until the objects could be returned safe and sound to the person entrusted to protect them at the protest camp. Our sacred items are held in the highest respect possible by our People. No one has a right to touch them unless permission to do so has been granted by the person from whose sacred bundle the items came from. Even in a maximum security prison, guards have no right to put their hands on the spiritual medicines such as sweetgrass and cedar kept in the cell of an offender for the sake of healing. These sacred items are removed from the cell of an Indigenous inmate by Elders on contract with Correctional Services Canada before a search occurs. Your police officers have once again crossed a line. Forgiveness for doing so will not come easy.

We want to know if you have at the Police Service, a person knowledgeable with our Indigenous spiritual beliefs. An Indigenous spiritual advisor should have been consulted before the camp was attacked. Why did this not occur?

Signed:
Albert Dumont
Kyrstin Dumont

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Virtual Book Launch – Grandpa’s Wisdom – An Algonquin Reflection on West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease

Kwey dear friends,

Many of you are probably aware that I have recently released a new book for young readers. The book is already available for purchase on my website: http://albertdumont.com/books/grandpas-wisdom-an-algonquin-reflection-on-west-nile-virus-and-lyme-disease/. You can view a copy on the Ottawa Public Health website: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/resources/Documents/WNV-Lyme-Story-Book.pdf

“Grandpa’s Wisdom – An Algonquin Reflection on West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease” tells the story of Mahìngan, a young Algonquin boy who reaches out to his Mishòmis (grandpa) for guidance after knowledge of West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease come to his attention at school. Grandpa and Mahìngan spend a day together at the elder’s hunting cabin where the youngster’s fear of the insect carrying sickness is greatly diminished through the power of the old man’s teachings. Mishòmis also offers Mahìngan teachings on the value of insects and their role in nature’s life cycle. The story promotes culture, identity and why common sense should be present in all we do.

I am asking that you attend the virtual launch of my new book. Please be confident that it will be fun and entertaining. 

On November 29 at 7 pm I will speak to you about how the story came about and also reflect on the healing medicines we as human beings can access in any forest.

The book will be available for sale at the launch for anyone wanting to add my story to their book shelves.

Looking forward to talking to all of you on November 29.

All the best,

South Wind

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