Reflections On The Spirituality Is Unity Walk

Spirituality is Unity Walk

Spirituality is Unity Walk reaches Parliament Hill.
Photo: Dr. Peter Stockdale

Over 200 good and compassionate people walked in spiritual solidarity with Jane Chartrand (Algonquin, Pikwakanagan) and I, Albert Dumont (Algonquin, Kitigan Zibi), on Friday, June 22, 2018. The walk was a special event. I truly believe that the blossoms of reconciliation have a chance of blooming once again at sacred Akikodjiwan because of it. Together, and alive like a moving, pulsing circle, people of non-indigenous bloodlines who trust in faith, spirituality and religion stood with Algonquins to defend the right Indigenous spirituality has to exist.

The sky was blue, Grandfather Sun shone down and touched human skin with his warmth and magnificent energy. The breeze was gentle and at Victoria Island, the birds were singing as we began our walk to Parliament Hill. Gifted orators, clergy from churches and mosques and other guests brought their powerful messages of peace and harmony into the Anishinabe circle. We stood as one, around the drum. June 22nd was a good day to be alive and to be an activist.

I am a man of faith. I believe in a caring, loving and honourable Creator. The spiritual confidence I have in the circle and in the things of my sacred bundle is something I have in common with all my relations who came before me at a time long ago, when only the First Peoples lived on these resource-rich lands.

The ‘Spirituality is Unity’ walk of June 22 was one the Algonquins and their true supporters planned for many months. It was hoped by its organizers that the walk would be supported by many of the people of Indigenous bloodlines who live and thrive on the traditional lands of the Algonquin Anishinabe but whose home communities are from both neighbouring or far away nations. We also called on the region’s faith leaders to walk alongside of us in solidarity with our cause of defending the ancient sacred place of water and rock, beloved by the late Algonquin elder, William Commanda.

A couple of years ago, a troubled young man went into the night and painted swastikas on churches, mosques and temples. The faith leaders of the region at that time gathered in front of cameras and in one voice, condemned the desecration of their holy places. “An attack on one faith,” declared Rabbi Reuven Bulka, “is an attack on all faiths.” And with that the faith leaders promised to do everything possible in protecting all houses of worship from further assaults.

A swastika is what it is. It symbolizes cruelty, hatred, oppression and death. All righteous people emotionally and spiritually cringe at the sight of it. But in this world of dollars and gold, a swastika can come in many shapes and forms. The holy place of the Algonquin Anishinabe, perhaps known to you as Chaudière Falls and its islands, and known to the Anishinabe as Akikodjiwan, is under threat of being forever spiritually lost to us. And lost to everyone, too, as parkland and greenspace. A swastika in the shape of condos and buildings of commerce is being readied for placement at our ancient sacred site.

For the June 22, 2018 walk we called on the faith leaders who, only months ago, boldly stood in front of cameras condemning the desecration of their holy places to join us behind the words, “An attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths.”

Two of the prominent faith leaders we invited declined our invitation. The faith leaders we asked to attend the peaceful walk and to speak on behalf of their religion on Parliament Hill chose, in the end, to not support the ‘Spirituality is Unity’ walk. What does this tell us? What happened to “An attack on one faith”?!! Have these faith leaders been convinced by malicious forces that Indigenous spirituality is not a spirituality after all? Or have they decided, in all their spiritual wisdom, that Akikodjiwan is just not worth standing up for? Do they fear that supporting the walk would be offending a person they regard as a friend or offending a person of wealth?

These leaders need to understand that Indigenous spirituality was here in Algonquin Anishinabe territory for thousands of years before their religion or other faiths ever even arrived on our lands. If any faith or spirituality should be shielded and protected, tooth and claw, from desecration and harm in this country, it should be Indigenous spirituality. Any faith leader who doesn’t see it as such is spiritually warped.

The people of Canada and their governments outlawed Indigenous Spirituality in the past. Today we work to bring it back again in its purest ways, as it was long ago. The faith beliefs of immigrant religions are not greater than are the beliefs found in the circle of Indigenous Spirituality. The faith leaders who did not support the ‘Spirituality is Unity’ walk made a bad mistake (a great sin) in the eyes of Creator. But in this world of dollars and gold such mistakes are made far too often than they should be. And sorrowfully, they are sometimes made by people who should know better. Will they admit it? Time will tell.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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5 Responses to Reflections On The Spirituality Is Unity Walk

  1. Dannielle Ayotte says:

    Good and truthful words. Thank you.

  2. Eric G Hof says:

    Albert Dumont / South Wind. I could feel the pain in your Heart as I read your passionate words. Yes if First Nations People cannot or will not take a ” Last Stand”. On their Sacred Falls and Islands soon, then all will be lost. The energy of spirit(uality) is very real. You and your people must decide what the outcome will be. Godspeed your actions to stop the Swastika of destruction of the beauty. Eric G Hof Toronto. June 28.2018

  3. Faith is Beauty says:

    I was following the walk and thought it was beautiful. It is so sad that there are faith leaders who did not respond to your call. I understand you may not want to shame them by naming them, however I think it is important to name those that chose not to support this effort. There was a powerful speech by Shehnaz Karim from the Rhoda Institute where in it she asked “where is everybody?” Naming the ones that were present honours the presence of those that came and also highlights the gap that needs to be filled.

    • South Wind * says:

      Yes Fatiha, faith truly is something of extraordinary beauty. It is magical and is so powerful. Faith can bring peace and love into a damaged heart. It can bring sobriety and purpose into a broken human being. It is worth saving and protecting.
      The faith leaders who chose not to walk with us know who they are. I leave it to them to state why they made the choice they made.
      Perhaps another day at a future walk, they will be there. I hope so.
      All the best,

  4. It is with deep concern that I see a world of confusion and so much well intended busyness. That in our best endeavors to create initiatives we as humans even when trying to do our best in purity of intent sometimes play the game of assumptions. Where we create because we are human, mistakes and errors in assuming once a task is completed, and the asking of an important guest is approved by the planning Group and Elder. That the asking completed and approves is now passed on ones task is completed and now the next action is passed on to the Planning Group overseeing which guests to invite to attend will now follow up with the guest to welcome them officially to speak and remind them of the date, place, time.

    This in my understanding that this follow up did not occur in the “Spirituality is Faith walk of 2018!” Human error and imperfection entered not realized by me until after the event. And passed on to Elder Dumont in this one case of one of our guests not arriving as we had expected. I now understand that there may have been many others he had expected to speak who could not come and that is deeply hurtful.

    So lessons in life are learned. To see with better eyes that even when we are trying our best we can create events that project hurt and misunderstandings. And so it is that important lessons are to be learned to not be so sensitive and to not pre-judge that because some leaders may not have been there who were expected that they are at fault for not showing up.

    As One Human Family we are living through great times of urgency and challenge. We are seeing that all ordinary grassroots citizens will be supported by the “Sacred Tree of Life” where in these times of awakening to the deep spirituality of our ancestors we will live the wisdom and become the fruit of the sacredness of our own lives.

    Beyond judgement to live the love and the peace we all yearn to see. Deep Gratitude to Elder Dumont and Grandmother Jane Chartrand and all those working so hard on each Annual Walk. May we in future annual walks have many more volunteers and more clarity in our communications and strategies to make each walk a true example of how as we all share in our human mistakes there is much room for spiritual understanding and for growth.

    Last Sunday, Sept. 17. Near the Sacred Tree of Life on Asinabka Island we once again we met with Elder Albert unfortunately not able to attend because of other duties. A sacred circle gathering was created by the free the falls ad hoc group and others. To help us celebrate the 12 th Annual Peace Festival in the Nations Capital and the 8th Annual Crystal Heart Universal Family celebration and despite the noise of water craft zooming up and down this sacred river one of the five most important rivers on the planet. Wisdom was shared and a Blessing of the Water Ceremony with Drumming and Dancing of the Eels and sacred smudging occurred.

    As I listened, observed and held space I held the sacred Eagle Feather gifted to me at the Truth and Reconciliation Walk Closing many years ago. I looked up twice at the sky above and was blessed to see. Despite the noise of the world of tour boats and recreation boats that high above the sky of this sacred circle. Twice first flew two Eagles flying up stream to Chalk River and about 15 minutes later as we drummed and sang and danced a second lone Eagle came flying towards the Supreme Court of Canada and the Parliament Buildings to its left.

    What is this sign? For me as a Spiritual Irish Grandmother with roots all over the world from lived experience as a citizen of Canada and a most blessed human being to live on this sacred unceded undeeded land where ancient spiritual nomadic peoples have come since time immemorial. Vision plus action and commitment are creating a new world and affirmation of our efforts is occurring.

    It is a sign of the great awakening that all life is sacred, all life is precious, and in us all we no longer need to carry and the pain of past generations, it is time to heal our own pain and become the compassion the world needs to see us all choose to rise up as One Universal Human Family!!

    To walk together in peace, hope, love, and harmony to connect with each other from our own indigenous hearts for we all of us are the One’s we have been waiting to meet and in each of us is the sharing the truth that will set us free.

    We can create each year together the “Annual Spirituality is Faith Walk” that will unify our minds and hearts and souls and it will become a Unity Walk of our faith uniting us all in our diversity.

    Creating together more clarity and and communication in our mutual understandings and mindfulness. We can see in sharing our unique perspective that sometimes things may not be the way they seem to seem. We can express as I am doing in this message the truth of our own experience to hopefully bring more clarity to any misunderstandings.

    Deep Gratitude Meegwich to Elder Albert Dumont and Grandmother Jane Ann Chartrand and all citizens of the capital of Canada who walked in faith with me and many others this past summer.

    And especially to Elder Douglas Cardinal as we walked at the very end of the walk we took some time to interview him in conversation in front of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Justice Dept. To hear why this walk is so important to us all.

    Above the extreme noise of the traffic of Wellington St. This brave Elder spoke of the ways and the why’s of how Spirit Love calls him every year at age 84 to walk with others in a day that truly honors the deep spirituality and wisdom of such leaders of the Algonquin People as the late Spiritual Leader William Commanda whom some consider Canada’s Nelson Mandela and the continuing of his wisdom lived and shared and passed on to us from Elder Albert Dumont and Grandmother Jane Chartrand.

    Faith and Spirituality in Action and Wisdom lived each day, each year. I am blessed to walk, travel and learn each day on this walk that connects us together as One Universal Human Family. We have much to gain from each other from all we have gained from all our human experiences.

    For me this is the fruit or our own awakening and must be shared in gratitude for mistakes becoming our greatest teachers. In our diversity is the unity of our Minds, Hearts, and Souls as One Universal Family not just the human family but all of creation.

    We are all called to decolonize our old ways and to walk together the sacred path of listening and opening our minds to open our hearts to live once more from Spirit Love from our eternal souls.

    I look forward in 2019 to grow the circle larger to embrace Parliament Hill and both sides of the Sacred Heritage Algonquin Ottawa River Watershed linking hands and hearts to celebrate the light replacing the darkness of our old ways of being and now truly honoring together this Sacred Algonquin Lands the watershed of this Holy Sacred Spiritual Mecca being returned once more back to their peoples by our elected Privy Council, the Treasury Board and the Fiance Minister to care for and protect for all Canadian citizens.

    Quite clearly it is time no to do before election 2020 for it is land of interest and immense importance to all Canadians it is our birth rite and heritage to remember the past not give it power, learn from it and in each moment create a new future by learning the wisdom of our past mistakes to create new chapters in our country’s History of how we are all called to learn the wisdom of the ancestors simple spiritual ways of living. Before arrival of others. Of how to live in peace, hope, love and harmony using just enough.

    It is the right thing to do for it quite clearly reflects a time on Mother Earth where Canada will come of age to be a true World Leader bringing light to darkness by ourselves moving forward to bring balance and light to a world yearning for hope.

    This is the true path of a great nation to listen to the people and to rise up to bring light to all misunderstandings. In the darkness is a dam being freed, an oppressed people rising up to inspire a world where all citizens can live on this sacred land and come to visit to listen to the voices of wisdom of all Elders of all Cultures.

    To live the legacy of all those passed on we are the ancestors now all called to walk in faith of our own ancestors deep spirituality to live in mutual faith, fairness, quality, trust, integrity and peace the ways in which all humanity can see in Canada we as a Nation of many refugees and cultures are becoming the vision planted in many hearts by an Algonquin Spiritual Leader that carries on today each day as we walk and work together. A Culture of Peace and A Circle of All Nations grows. A spiritual path in which together we are the Peace we all want to see and to leave for all future generations.

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