Spirit of Asinabka

Albert & William Commanda at a rally to protect the South March Highlands, 2011

Albert & William Commanda at a rally to protect the South March Highlands, 2011

After a friendly discussion with Romola, I will, hence of this day, when speaking of our most sacred site on the Grand River of the Anishinabe Kichesipirini Nation (Algonquin), refer to said place as Asinabka. It is a word which translates to ‘Place of Glare Rock’ in the language of my noble forebears. Deceased Elder and Spiritual Guide of many thousands of people, William Commanda who lived to be 97 years of age, knew our sacred place to be called Asinabka. Out of respect and to honour Morning Star (William Commanda) whose vision we stand in defence of, we should embrace the name Asinabka when referring to Victoria, Albert, and Chaudière Islands and Chaudière Falls. Let us be united in this, so as not to be bothersome to our cause. For some of the good people who protest the disfigurement of a sacred place to claim they defend Asinabka and another group of allies to call the same space Akikodjiwan, only serves to confuse our supporters.

Asinabka has been lost to us for too long. Let us look to the teachings of the turtle, bear and hawk for guidance on how we should proceed from here to retrieve it. If we are always sensible with our plans and push forward slowly and cautiously and soar with joy in our hearts as we celebrate even the smallest of victories by acknowledging spirit, we will overcome the power and influence of money and win out at the end of the day. Let us trust in Creator and in all things of creation to inspire and motivate us.

Hundreds of years ago, before settlers from Europe arrived, Asinabka brought healing and hope to the Peoples. The energy of the waters there carried our songs of honour and praise for all things Creator placed here, into the valleys and hills of our territories so all life could find peace and joy in it. Only kind spirits emitting goodness and health danced in the wind around the Falls of Asinabka at that precious time of our past. How can anyone not want to restore such a place today, as all of us can gain from it again, emotionally and spiritually?

I remember myself as a troubled young man, my mind empty back then of thoughts of wonder at what is the purpose of life, my heart hollow of spiritual substances, my spirit in a constant state of despair, feeling helpless because of not knowing what to do to assist my physical self in regaining my balance. I was lost in my state of confusion. My heart, mind and spirit were unable to show me the true glory of what it is to be a human being. In how many ways would Asinabka have helped me back then? I am not sure of the answer, I only know that within the spirit and energy of its sacredness, the life of a reckless and wild young man who did not care whether he lived or died would have changed for the better. He would have shunned a wasteful and destructive lifestyle and become a good son of his nation long before I did in the early autumn of my years.

I learned long ago that a young man with a chip on his shoulder and a 40 pounder of Canadian Club are two things which just don’t mix. When the two get together, there will most certainly be hell to pay. Two more things which don’t mix with any more promise than that, so far as I’m concerned, is money and sacredness. It is impossible to mix the two. Those who try, will find that the devil will sooner or later, take time to collect his due. To see the proof of this, only look at the world’s history, recent and ancient.

For Windmill to tell us, “Oh yes, there will be a piece of space at Zibi left open for spirituality,” is like the carnival barker who shouts to the rube, “The cost? Just one dollar, my friend, even if you miss your shot you win this wonderful kewpie doll, no one loses here,” except for one thing, the carny paid only 10¢ for each of the dolls the suckers have just paid one dollar to ‘win’.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind

What you can do to help protect our sacred site:
-> Read, act upon, and share this call for support from Four Algonquin Communities: http://bit.ly/1RJB5d2
-> Sign and share this petition: http://chn.ge/1VB6x3w

Prayer and opening for 13 Nov "Anishnabe Cultural Demo to Protect our Sacred Site"

Prayer and opening for 13 Nov “Anishnabe Cultural Demo to Protect our Sacred Site,” on Victoria Island (Asinabka)

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3 Responses to Spirit of Asinabka

  1. Debra Huron says:

    Albert, it is good to rehabilitate the name Asinabka. Many of us who are involved in supporting an Indigenous vision for the islands and sacred pipe bowl waterfall attended ceremonies with and have wished to uphold Grandfather Commanda’s work to establish a Circle of All Nations. This place can be the place he dreamed it could be…and thank you for announcing your desire to bring Asinabka onto the lips of people speaking about it again.

  2. Karen Bisson says:

    Mishomis Albert,
    Your words brought tears to my eyes. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am and how happy this makes me. There has been so much division over this site. It is good to see people coming together with one heart as Grandfather William prayed.
    Love, light and deep respect,
    Karen

  3. Thank you for your presence and contribution at so many events including Sat., December 19 at the Phil Ochs Fest, closely following the setting up of a public inquiry re: MMIW the final report of the TRC, whose Commissioner Justice Murray Sinclair is advocating rescinding the Indian Act and to form the country with aboriginal sovereignty as it existed at Confederation before Canada interfered with the Rule of Law and started to breach its own treaties it entered into.

    And thanks to Karen Bisson, who shared: http://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/colonialism/doctrine-discovery-documentary/

    After timepoint 8:20 it helped me give a name to what cultural supremacy the City of Ottawa and developers and their lawyers have been ranting about including at the August 17 Ontario Municipal Board pre-hearing re: objections to re-zoning 3 and 4 Booth St. at Ottawa; they are claiming the islands and the Falls have not been used productively to Euro-centric standards by the indigenous peoples for 200 years…. : hence, Terra nullius (/ˈnʌliəs/, plural terrae nullius) is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning “nobody’s land”, which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished … as applied under the Catholic and Protestant “Doctrine of Discovery.” Somewhat curious is the 1537 repudiation of it: http://www.catholicregister.org/home/international/item/18900-doctrine-of-discovery-first-repudiated-in-1537. After that false start finally in “February 2012, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee denounced the “Doctrine of Discovery” that which has been used to subjugate and colonize Indigenous Peoples, and issued a statement calling the nature of the doctrine” fundamentally opposed to the gospel of Jesus”. The Unitarian Universalists also voted in their June 2012 General Assembly to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and to demand that the U.S. government fully implement the standards of the 2007 United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” http://www.ucc.org/justice_advocacy_resources_witness-for-justice_doctrine-of-discovery. Hopefully the new federal government will walk its new talk…

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