The Oblates lands – Opportunity for Truth and Reconciliation in Old Ottawa East

The Oblates administered over a third of all federal Indian Residential Schools, including ones where unmarked graves were located earlier this year and ones where local Algonquin children were taken. Their historic headquarters is being refurbished for a new community centre and elementary school, amidst a larger residential redevelopment of the lands, situated by the Rideau River.

This is an opportunity to include commemorative aspects in the building and on the grounds, related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call To Action #79. Although this isn’t a residential school site, it is an important site related to residential schools.

Read more about this story in an article/editorial I wrote:

As an addition to the article itself, I’m posting some relevant images and links below, that weren’t able to be included with the article. They provide additional, valuable context and visuals – but they don’t all make sense without having read the above piece first.


  • APRIL 2022:
    The City of Ottawa is hosting the next phase of their public input / consultation on the new Old Ottawa East community centre and (mini) Forecourt Park. There are three Town Hall Zoom sessions – Tues (1-3pm), Wed (6:30-8:30pm), and Thurs (6:30-8:30pm) – the last week of April. Register + details at this link. This is opportunity to push for specific commemoration installation(s) at the site.

There is background information below on the Oblates site and the new development, on the commemoration of residential schools, and on how to get involved in advocating for some suitable commemorations at this site.

Oblates site / new Greystone Village development:

  • Community grassroots initiative to help coordinate and support the creation, facilitation, and advocacy for Indigenous-led visions of commemoration at the Oblates site – Contact via: algonquinakimedia [@]

  • For those not familiar with the location, another element to potentially inform the form(s) of commemoration installations is that, just this year, at least fifteen nests were laid by mother snapping turtles along the riverside corridor as well as in the adjacent upstream Brantwood Park (see baby turtle nest video)
    It is as Robin Wall Kimmerer – founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment – asks in a different situation: “Why did they [the turtles] come to us, to do their most important thing, not hidden, not covert, but as if demanding to be the center of attention?”

  • “the original Algonquin name for the Rideau River [is] “Pasapkedjiwanong,” which means, “the river that passes between the rocks.””
    – Stephen McGregor, author of “Since Time Immemorial: Our Story. The Story of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg”, via

Indian Residential School commemoration:

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