The Oblates administered over a third of all federal Indian Residential Schools, including ones where unmarked graves were located earlier this year and 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 editorial – linked here* – I wrote in the October 2021 issue of The Mainstreeter, the community newspaper for Old Ottawa East. *There is also a 1-page PDF for printing.



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

There is background information 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 [@] riseup.net

  • 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 bytown.net


Indian Residential School commemoration: