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Short video from the Spirituality is Unity walk June 22, and audio report from the Ottawa City Council meeting’s $61-million grant to the Zibi development June 13. Also transcripts of both.
Also, please see the latest post, Sacred Waterfalls Site in Ottawa – Annotated Resource Guide, and browse all of the Chaudiere Falls Sacred Site content on this site, here.


Walk to protect sacred site at Chaudiere Falls Translation of Radio-Canada newscast


Ottawa City Council grants record payout to Zibi developers to decontaminate land at sacred site Groundwire Radio News segment


Walk to protect sacred site at Chaudiere Falls
June 22, 2018 – Translation of Radio-Canada TV News broadcast segment

[Daniel Bouchard, Radio-Canada]: The Algonquins and other Indigenous people and Faith leaders are concerned about the future of the Chaudière Falls. For this reason, today a few hundred people walked from Victoria Island to the Parliament to call for their protection for future generations.

[Gilles Taillon, Radio-Canada]: Women, children and Faith leaders joined with numerous Indigenous people to draw attention to the majestic beauty of the Chaudière Falls. It is a jewel of nature in the heart of what has been an industrial site for two centuries. However, the neighboring islands will soon be taken over by a new condo and commercial complex, straddling Ottawa and Gatineau, named the Zibi project.

[Rachèle Prud’homme, Algonquin]: We never ceded our lands so I don’t understand how a government can sell lands that don’t belong to them. This is our temple. We are here to protect the sacred waters, where our ancestors performed ceremonies since time immemorial.

[Gilles Taillon, Radio-Canada]: The symbolic meaning of the three Chaudière islands were on everyone’s mind.

[Alex Akiwenzie, Chief]: What’s at stake here is really based on spirituality and pride and protection of a sacred place.

[Gilles Taillon, Radio-Canada]: We must free the Falls affirm the activist, even if development has begun.

[Anne-Marie Hogue, Ally of Indigenous people – Free the Falls]: This is not a done deal because these lands are federal lands, lands that are for all Canadians.

[Larry Rousseau, Canadian Labour Council executive VP]: This land was always occupied by industrialists for industrial purposes, and now that the industrial era is over, the government has given permission to develop a residential project on Crown land. This makes absolutely no sense.

[Gilles Taillon, Radio-Canada]: In closing, architect Douglas Cardinal reminded the gathering that it is the Indigenous women who have always taught the importance of living in harmony with nature. Those opposing the condo project promised to return and demonstrate again next year.


More information at – www.FreeTheFalls.cawww.ItIsSacred.cawww.AlbertDumont.comwww.Asinabka.comwww.EquitableEducation.ca/tag/chaudiere-falls

This video is on Youtube, on Facebook, and on Twitter

Translation by Anne-Marie Hogue. Original video in French from Radio-Canada (‘fair use’) was broadcast on the Gatineau/Ottawa 6pm TV newscast, 22 June 2018.

Original transcription in French / en Francais:

[Denis Bouchard, Radio Canada] : L’avenir des Chutes de la Chaudière inquiète les autochtones et les communautés religieuses de la région de la capitale nationale, alors c’est pourquoi il a eu quelques centaines de personnes qui ont marché de l’Île Victoria aujourd’hui jusqu’au Parlement afin de réclamer leur protection pour les générations futures.

[Gilles Taillon – reporteur Radio Canada] : Des femmes, des enfants, des prêtres se sont joins à de nombreux autochtones pour souligner la beauté majestueuse des Chutes de la Chaudière, un joyau de la nature au cœur d’une exploitation industrielle depuis deux siècles. Mais les îles environnantes feront bientôt place à un nouveau quartier résidentiel à cheval entre Ottawa et Gatineau, notamment le projet Zibi.

[Rachèle Prud’homme, Algonquine] : On a jamais cédé nos territoires donc je ne comprends pas comment un gouvernement peut vendre ce qui ne lui appartient puis, c’est notre temple ici. On est là pour protéger les eaux sacrées où nos ancêtres ont toujours fait nos cérémonies.

[Gilles Taillon] : La signification symbolique des trois îles de la Chaudière était sur toutes les lèvres.

[Alex Akiwenzie, Chef] : What’s at stake here is really based on spirituality and pride and protection of a sacred place.

[Gilles Taillon] : Il faut libérer les chutes affirment ces militants même si l’aménagement des îles a déjà commencé.

[Anne-Marie Hogue, Free The Falls] : Nous disons : « Ce n’est pas un fait accompli, parce que d’abord ces terres là ce sont des terres fédérales et ce sont des terres qui sont là pour tous les Canadiens.

[Larry Rousseau, Canadian Labour Council VP executif] : Ce terrain a toujours été occupé par des industriels à des fins industrielles et maintenant que cette époque est révolue le gouvernement accorde une permission sur des terrains de la Couronne pour faire un développement résidentiel. Ça n’a aucun sens.

[Gilles Taillon] : L’architecte, Douglas Cardinal a eu le mot de la fin, en rappelant que les mères autochtones ont toujours enseigné à vivre en harmonie avec la nature. Les manifestants ont promis de revenir à la charge l’an prochain.

Ici Gilles Taillon. Radio-Canada. Ottawa.



Ottawa City Council grants record payout to Zibi developers to decontaminate land at sacred site
June 19, 2018 – Segment from bi-weekly 1/2-hour GroundwireNews.ca. Piece by: Michael Welch CKUW | Host: Susan Huebert CKUW | Files from: Greg Macdougall EquitableEducation.ca

Defenders of an Indigenous sacred site were dealt another blow on June 13th when Ottawa City Council approved a record $60.9 Million grant to Windmill Development Group for the decontamination of land on two islands at Chaudiere Falls. The islands on the Ottawa River near Parliament hill had been left derelict and toxic after a century of industrial activities there. It is also unceded Algonquin territory and considered sacred to the Algonquin and all Anishinaabe peoples. Windmill’s ZIBI development in construction clashes with an existing Indigenous vision for Asinabka to have Indigenous healing, as well as peace-building and environmental harmony, at the traditional spiritual gathering site.

Supporters of that vision briefly disrupted the Council meeting…
(clip from June 13 Ottawa City Council meeting: https://youtu.be/-ncSFT5o6HM?t=1h43m34s)

Lindsay Lambert is a historian, and one of 5 people who attempted unsuccessfully to appeal the rezoning of the islands to the Ontario Municipal Board 4 years ago. He had expressed his objections at the previous week’s Finance and Economic Development Committee hearings on the issue.
(clip from June 5 Ottawa Finance & Economic Development Committee meeting https://youtu.be/r1CccAjN8VE?t=1h52m5s)

Public messaging from Windmill before the rezoning approval suggested that the developer would take on the full costs of the clean up. On Friday June 22nd, faith leaders will hold the third annual Spirituality Is Unity Walk​: Walk For Our Sacred Site, Akikodjiwan, in support of restoring the site to the Algonquin Anishinaabe. More details can be found on the event’s facebook page, or at www.AlbertDumont.com


This is an expanded and updated version of a segment on MMIMB from March 2015, posted now in solidarity with #JusticeForColtenBoushie discussion guide. It was part of a larger feature article on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls based on an interview and presentation with Pam Palmater, as well as the Walking With Our Sisters exhibit, and on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Two-Spirit and Trans People referencing the work of It Starts With Us – the full piece can be found here and a full list of multi-media (articles, video, audio, more) on MMIWG from 2009-2015 can be found here.

Note that the article below is also available as a 1-page PDF for use as a handout, in classrooms, etc.
Text version of image:
StatsCan table with homicide statistics for 2014, 2015, 2016.
Aboriginal males victims of homicide: 90, 107, 113 = 24.26%, 24.77%, 24.57%.
Non-Aboriginal males victims of homicide: 276, 321, 341= 74.39%, 74.31%, 74.13%.
Aboriginal females victims of homicide: 30, 41, 29 = 19.87%, 23.16%, 19.21%.
Non-Aboriginal females victims of homicide: 120, 134, 119 = 79.47%, 75.71%, 78.81%.
Online source: StatsCan table 253-0009 CANSIM



by Greg Macdougall – March 2015, online and in print: The Leveller newspaper

Although there is much popular and media attention given to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and justly so, the documented murder rate of Indigenous men in Canada is actually higher than that of Indigenous women.

Both the Toronto Star and APTN have had stories reporting on Statistics Canada’s figures of Indigenous murder victims between 1980-2012. StatsCan documented 745 Indigenous female homicide victims and 1,750 Indigenous male homicide victims. That’s 14 and 17 per cent of all female and male homicide victims, respectively, despite the fact that, as of 2011, only 4.3 per cent of Canada’s population self-identified as Indigenous.

The female figure of 745 Indigenous female homicide victims differs from the 2014 RCMP report of 1,017 murdered and 164 missing Indigenous women since 1980 (The RCMP has yet to provide such a figure for murdered and missing Indigenous men.) Regardless, these figures still show a disparity between Indigenous and settler Canadians’ experiences of violence.

Such violence scars communities all across Canada. Lydia Daniels, whose son Colten Pratt has been missing since November 2014, told APTN that “we also wanted to make a statement that we also have murdered and missing men in our communities.” Sandra Banman, whose son Carl was murdered in 2011, stated “In balance and unity with our people, we also need to think about our men. We don’t love our daughters more than we love our sons, so when our sons go missing or are murdered, it hurts the families just as much.”



In Fall 2015, annual homicide data was published by StatsCan that for the first time differentiated between Indigenous and non-Indigenous victims. There are now three years of data (2014-2016, see table below) and they show Indigenous men disproportionately murdered at a per-capita rate approximately seven times higher than non-Indigenous men and three times that of Indigenous women (Indigenous women are six times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women). *StatsCan does not provide statistics specifically for Trans or Two-Spirit People.

In January 2016, Jennifer Mt. Pleasant published her Master’s research work at Wilfrid Laurier University on “Violence Against Indigenous Males in Canada with a Focus on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men.” She also built a database of victims, that had over 700 names at the time. A university profile quotes her as saying, “There is nothing really out there that advocates for Indigenous men. This leads people to believe that Indigenous men aren’t worthy of inquiry.” The profile describes how “her research has been met with mixed emotions from within the Indigenous community” and that she’s been denied funding opportunities.

University of Saskatchewan professor Robert Innes was quoted in the National Post in 2015 as saying, “It is a difficult issue to raise because you don’t want to say one is more important than the other and it can come across like that. When you raise it, you want to make it clear it’s an issue facing men and women.” In an Aboriginal Policy Studies journal article cited by the Post, he wrote regarding the fact that Indigenous men also commit and are charged with murder at disproportionate rates: “Placing the emphasis on the violence of which Indigenous men are capable while at the same time ignoring their victimization is caused by a specific kind of race and gender bias many white people have towards Indigenous men.” Video of his recent talk in Toronto “The Moose In The Room: Time To Talk About Indigenous Male Violence” is on Facebook; he along with Mt. Pleasant’s academic supervisor Kim Anderson lead the Biidwewidam Indigenous Masculinities project.

There was a push to include men and boys as part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. A coalition that formed to advocate for this, Expand the Inquiry, led by Musqueam chief Ernie Crey, received more grassroots push-back than support, largely due to the problematic involvement of non-Indigenous Men’s Rights Activists like CAFE (Canadian Association for Equality).


* To paraphrase some Indigenous researchers, all the statistics listed here (above and below) are more “informative” than “definitive” in that they may not be fully inclusive or accurate
2019 UPDATE:

There were at least two Fathers’ Day walks to honour Murdered and Missing Indigenous Men and Boys – one in Winnipeg (2nd annual) and one in Rapid City, South Dakota.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Federal Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly now promises a new CRTC mandate supportive of Indigenous languages and reconciliation

Wawatay's president Mke Metatawabin (R) at the Future of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Broadcasting convergence June 15 2017. Source: @radioautochtone on Twitter

Wawatay's president Mke Metatawabin (R) at the Future of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Broadcasting convergence June 15 2017. Source: @radioautochtone on Twitter

by Greg Macdougall

The future of Indigenous radio and media in Canada shifted dramatically on June 14 with the CRTC’s awarding of Indigenous radio licences in five of the country’s most populous cities.

“Literally my heart broke,” John Gagnon, CEO at Wawatay Native Communications Society, told the audience at the Future of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Broadcasting national convergence the following day in Ottawa.

“It was a great wretching in my heart, because they threw away [Wawatay’s] plan that was for our youth, and for the future, and to build the capacity through our people, through our stories, by our selves.”

Wawatay, a northern Ontario broadcaster and publisher in operation since 1974, had applied for licences in Toronto and Ottawa, but those were awarded instead to First Peoples Radio, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s new radio initiative that had applied for licences in all five cities.

The CRTC’s decision gave the Vancouver licence to Northern Native Broadcasting (Terrace B.C.), and the Edmonton and Calgary licences to Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta.

The full decision is posted online at http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2017/2017-198.htm

* Sidenote: see posts on NNB(Terrace)’s CFNR and AMMSA’s Windspeaker for those companies’ responses to being successful in their applications; they were not interviewed for this article.


In an interview (full audio below), APTN’s CEO Jean La Rose stated, “We were trying to avoid … what happened in the final decision – trying to partition it to everybody to hopefully make it work for everybody but at the same time making it more of a financial challenge”, expressing his disappointment that FPR wouldn’t be able to offer everything they’d hoped to as a five-city national Aboriginal radio network, but affirming “we understand where the commission came from and we’ll do our best to make it work” with only the Toronto and Ottawa licences.

He expects to have the stations operating within 8-10 months, if the CRTC approves the modified programming that will come with having less than half as many stations as their plan was based on, and states that APTN / FPR will still do all it can to build a national radio network over the longer term.


AUDIO: APTN’s CEO Jean La Rose interviewed by Greg Macdougall, June 15 (14min) mp3 link


AUDIO: CRTC’s Joe Aguiar and Rachel Marleau – CRTC press briefing, questions from Gretchen King (GroundWire Community Radio News) and Greg Macdougall, June 14 (5min) mp3 link



The CRTC stated they didn’t think Wawatay’s proposed economic model was sufficient, with high programming expenses, not enough advertising, and too much reliance on non-yet-solidified ‘third-party’ funding. They may also have been influenced by Wawatay’s financial struggles of a few years ago.

Yet the CRTC over-ruled APTN’s submission of a “non-severable” condition on their five-city network proposal, offering confidence that two FPR stations could still operate successfully on their own.

APTN had submitted that the bare minimum they’d need to offer their proposed programming would be four stations, including both Vancouver and Toronto, otherwise their news, spoken-word, Indigenous language, and local content would probably not live up to the plans in their application.



Wawatay’s proposals had by far the highest amount of Indigenous languages programming and diversity amongst all the applicants, with 42 hours weekly (second most was AMMSA with 23 hours, and then APTN with nine and NNB with two-and-a-half). Wawatay and APTN both proposed offering content in Ojibwe and Cree for Toronto and Ottawa; APTN also proposed Inukitut for Ottawa and Mohawk for Toronto, while Wawatay also had Inuktitut, Mohawk, Algonquin, Oji-Cree, and Michif for both cities.

Programming levels comparison chart. Source: Community Media Advocacy Centre / CRTC

Programming levels comparison chart. Source: Community Media Advocacy Centre / CRTC


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations include (14.iii) “The federal government has a responibility to provide sufficient funds for Aboriginal-language revitalization and preservation” and (14.v) “Funding for Aboriginal language initiatives must reflect the diversity of Aboriginal languages.“ This would seemingly fit with Wawatay’s economic model relying more heavily on ‘third-party’ funding for their higher levels of languages programming.

Wawatay president Mike Metatawabin stated “CRTC’s decision yesterday to grant the AVR* licences to entities that don’t respect the language mandate was greatly discouraging and surprising in light of the recent initiatives announced by Canada regarding language and culture.”

*AVR = the now-defunct Aboriginal Voices Radio that previously held the five licences

Canada’s Minister of Heritage Mélanie Joly opened the Future of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Broadcasting national convergence June 15 with a 10-minute speech focused primarily on support for Indigenous languages, leaving 25 minutes for engagement with the convergence participants. The first question was regarding the CRTC decision; Joly responded by noting that the outgoing CRTC chairman’s mandate from the previous government didn’t necessarily include anything specific on reconciliation or Indigenous languages, but that the mandate she would be giving the new chair would include both as priorities. She stated that although her ministry governs the CRTC, it is an independent body with licencing decisions not subject to her approval.





The issue of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, in the context of ‘nation-to-nation’ relationships and Indigenous media policy, was also brought up during the CRTC process. But it seems to have not been considered in the CRTC decision, with not one instance of the word ‘sovereignty’ appearing in its full document.

Interventions from Indigenous political bodies that asked the CRTC to give the Ottawa and Toronto licences to Wawatay came from representatives of the Chiefs of Ontario, Union of Ontario Indians, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3, and Shibogama First Nations Council, while only two First Nations – Alderville and Temagami – in Ontario supported APTN’s application (the Metis General Settlements Council supported both Wawatay and APTN).

Without any formal accountability, the CRTC was able to ignore any or all of these requests as it saw fit.

During the hearings, CRTC chairperson Jean-Pierre Blais noted and apologized for the fact the CRTC has no Indigenous people involved in making the decisions, but that it is not the CRTC itself that chooses who its commissioners are.

*Sidenote: The only person of colour who would have had a say in the CRTC’s decision – Raj Shoan, Regional Commissioner for Ontario, who’d been fired in June 2016 – had a Federal court verdict in April finding ‘unfair dismissal’ and ordering reinstatement, only for him to be quickly re-dismissed, which he is also challenging in court.

The CRTC process to re-allocate these licences drew criticism for pitting the national TV station APTN’s application for a new radio company against the three established regional broadcasters, who hold seats on APTN’s board of directors. Chairman Blais commented at the public hearings that the CRTC had hoped the different organizations would have come together with a unified pitch, but the CRTC process was criticized for not allowing enough consultation or opportunity for collaboration.

Wawatay’s Metatawabin and Gagnon expressed their optimism for the possibility that the CRTC decision could be changed or challenged, and that Wawatay may still obtain licences to serve Toronto and Ottawa. Gagnon also commented on the damage to the company’s reputation and business caused by the CRTC decision, noting how companies of foreign countries are allowed to sue under trade agreements like NAFTA when Canadian state policy impacts their business negatively.


— — — —
** Author bio: Greg Macdougall is involved in grassroots media, Indigenous solidarity, and other pursuits, based in Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory, with website at www.EquitableEducation.ca
Disclaimer: The author presented an independent intervention in this CRTC licencing process, in favour of Wawatay’s applications. The intervention is available for listening and/or reading here.

** Note that this article is co-published with Anishinabek News.
It has been revised since it was originally published, last updated at 7:55am June 19 2017.
— — — —


The videos below are clips taken from the livestream archive of The Future of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Broadcasting national convergence, June 15-17 in Ottawa: www.indigenousradio.ca
– archived materials from the regional gatherings held in the lead-up to the national event are also available on the website, along with additional resources.
The convergence’s main aim was to bring together people in the Indigenous Broadcasting sector in so-called Canada to discuss and organize around collaboratively engaging with the CRTC’s upcoming review of its Native Broadcasting Policy.


AUDIO from Winnipeg regional convergence, courtesy UMFM 101.5 (33m19s) mp3 link
Gary Farmer & Kathleen Buddle on the History of Aboriginal Voices Radio


VIDO: Mélanie Joly responds to question about the CRTC decision (2m15s) June 15


VIDEO: John Gagnon comments on the CRTC decision (2m30s) June 15


VIDEO: Mike Metatawabin – the Wawatay story (17m43s) June 15



Wawatay's president Mke Metatawabin with Banchi Hanuse (C) and Monique Manatch (L) at the Indigenous Broadcasting convergence June 15 2017. Source: @radioauthochtone on Twitter

Wawatay’s president Mke Metatawabin with other panelists Banchi Hanuse (C) and Monique Manatch (L) at the Indigenous Broadcasting convergence June 15 2017.
Source: @radioauthochtone on Twitter

Includes: 3min VIDEO | ARTICLE with PDF | WEB LINKS | 93min VIDEO/PLAYLIST of speakers & music — Community efforts to protect the Chaudiere Falls site in Ottawa from the “Zibi” condo plans of Windmill Development Group, just upriver from Canada’s Parliament Buildings. This historic sacred / cultural site on the Ottawa River (Kichi Zibi) is also known as Asinabka and/or Akikodjiwan in Anishinaabemowiin, the Algonquin language (‘Zibi’ is the Algonquin name for river – ‘Kichi Zibi’ means ‘Great (or Big) River’).


Algonquin protecting Asinabka - It IS Sacred walk

Algonquin protecting Asinabka – It IS Sacred walk

This article below was published the morning of the “It IS Sacred” walk led by Algonquin Grandmothers and Elders, and references two June op-eds (opinion pieces) published in the Ottawa Citizen: “Zibi development an exercise in reconciliation with First Nations” by Josée Bourgeouis (a member of Zibi’s Memengweshii Indigenous Advisory Council), and “Zibi Project will show whether indigenous people have a real say in development” by Maurice Switzer. Two additional op-eds have been published in the Citizen since: “The Algonquin Nation demands for Chaudiere Falls” by Harry St. Denis (Chief of the Algonquin Wolf Lake First Nation), and “When condos speak louder than words, and the battle for Chaudière Falls” by Douglas Cardinal.


PDF file

The printable PDF is a two-page document on standard sized paper (8.5×11) — for use as a one-page double-sided handout — of the article, as well as the following web and video links.


Other relevant media & websites include:

Websites dedicated to protect the sacred site:

Websites with some content about protecting the sacred site:

More writing & multi-media can also be found on this site:


VIDEO from the “It IS Sacred” walk (3min)




‘Collaborative consent’ or Indigenous rights
Condo development on Ottawa sacred site?

By Greg Macdougall, EquitableEducation.ca | June 17, 2016
Originally published on IntercontinentalCry.org and rabble.ca


“An exercise in reconciliation” is how the Ottawa Citizen newspaper title describes the “Zibi” development project — timed precisely to counter today’s “It Is Sacred” walk in honour of the at-risk sacred site slated for the development.

But what messages should the general public really be exposed to in order to foster a helpful understanding of this situation?

The Algonquin Grandmothers and Elders leading the walk are doing so with a stated desire to bring unity and protection for their sacred site located at the Chaudière Falls on the Ottawa River just over a kilometre from the Parliament buildings.


Josée Bourgeois of the developers’ Memengweshii Indigenous advisory council opens her Citizen opinion piece by declaring her concerns about the “attacks launched” against the planned development project.

Who is attacking who may depend upon your perspective. Perhaps it is Indigenous rights and their proponents that are being attacked here?

Nine out of the 10 federally recognized Algonquin Chiefs have publicly declared their unified intention to protect Akikodjiwan, the sacred site, from the development — to assert their Indigenous rights for this special site on their unceded territory — but Bourgeois only mentions one Chief in her piece, that of her community of Pikwakanagan, who has been the only one supporting the development project.

She writes, apparently referencing the sacred walk, “These attacks endorse or rely on self-proclaimed Elders and Kokums (grandmothers in the prophetical sense) in order to create opposition to Zibi, a project mixing condos, office and retail space …”

Sacred site

She doesn’t explicitly refer to the area as being sacred — her description is of a historical gathering place for portages, where “in more recent years” the one island not slated for development has become a place of “celebration and spirituality” (referring to Victoria Island, where Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence held her hunger strike).

This is a bit different than the resolutions brought forward by Algonquin Chiefs and passed by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN and AFN-Quebec&Labrador) demanding the return of the site to Algonquin stewardship that clearly state, “The Akikodjiwan (Chaudière) waterfalls and the adjacent waterfront and islands are a sacred area for all Algonquin Peoples,” and the archeology research published late last year that had researcher Randy Boswell describing how, “The newly confirmed location of this [5,000 years old] cemetery, a natural canoe landing that marked one end of a well-worn portage route around Chaudière Falls, only deepens the symbolic significance of that great cataract, an enduringly important spiritual site for First Nations and a natural wonder seen as second only to Niagara Falls by early European explorers.”

Consent? Consultation?

The concept of “collaborative consent” is what Bourgeois uses to describe the “spirit” of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), drawing upon terminology from former AFN grand chief and now oil company collaborator Phil Fontaine, and she urges “the Algonquin Anishinabe people who genuinely care about the site and want to have a say in how it is developed to sit at the table with us or at least find out how Zibi can help realize their goals.”

“Zibi” was Windmill Development Inc’s choice for the name of their condo/business project, an Algonquin word for river selected in a competition without proper protocol through Algonquin communities (no Algonquins were on hand for the company’s public naming event).

What “goals” can this commercial development project realize for those who don’t want commercial development on their sacred site?

In terms of “sitting at the table,” the majority of the Algonquin Chiefs have all along been asking for real consultation: not to meet with the developers, but for discussions with the government, who have the responsibility to honour the Canadian Constitution and the UNDRIP, including FPIC (Free, Prior, and Informed Consent).

Unfortunately, governments of all levels have mostly ignored — and continue to ignore — these requests for communication, discussion, and consultation.

As Maurice Switzer noted in a previous Ottawa Citizen op-ed where he described the “Zibi” project as a “litmus test” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promises to improve the country’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples:

“‘We are committed to sitting down early, at the earliest possible moment, on every single thing that will affect indigenous people in Canada,’ [Indigenous Affairs minister] Carolyn Bennett told a CBC interviewer in February, adding her belief that it is ‘hugely important’ that all parliamentarians, government departments, provinces, territories, mayors and municipalities understand this approach.”

But Bennett has yet to meet with the nine Algonquin chiefs about this issue, even though the communications to her INAC office on this issue pre-date her taking the minister-ship last October, and it has been half a year since the AFN-QL and AFN passed their resolutions calling for government action — hopefully the wait will not be too much longer before the “earliest possible moment” she committed to is acted upon.

Situating the situation

This site, Akikodjiwan, is something of a microcosm for the colonial history of the country:

  • a sacred site and meeting place of different Nations for thousands of years;
  • ceremony documented there by Samuel de Champlain upon his first visit in the early 1600s;
  • dispossession and occupation of the site by industry barons at the start of the 1800s, leading to the founding of what became Canada’s capital city, as well as the central processing location of the logging industry that devastated the natural environment and Indigenous way of life for a very large territory;
  • the damming of a free-flowing river for electricity (and financial benefit) at the further expense of natural life;
  • unfulfilled government promises since the 1950s to restore the site to its natural state as soon as industry shut down there;
  • the Asinabka Vision brought together over decades by the late Algonquin spiritual leader William Commanda, to develop an Indigenous Centre and a Peace-Building Centre at this sacred heart of the country in concert with the renatured waterfalls area: a vision supported in words but not actions by those with the political leverage to make it happen;
  • and now a new version of the harmful “divide-and-conquer” tactics that are seemingly used whenever corporate or government desires infringe upon Indigenous Rights and well-being.

What are we respecting?

Bourgeois ends her piece by saying, “One way or another, I hope and work for peace and respect – within our Nation, and with our settler friends and partners.”

Hopefully the government — and all Canadians, including the developers — will agree, and this will mark a turn in the course of our country’s history, with government actively ensuring Indigenous rights are respected instead of pretending not to notice and/or participating themselves in the violation of these Rights. How can we have peace and respect otherwise?

The Algonquin Chiefs cite four different sections of the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples — articles 11, 12, 25, and 32 — that they feel apply in this situation. You can look up what these say if you aren’t familiar with them, and then decide for yourself if you think the Chiefs are correct in their assertions. And if so, what is a good way forward at this point?

Many people may instead end up with the impression that the proposed development is a “no questions needed” model of reconciliation that should be celebrated, rather than seeing the opportunity to really deal with some of the deepest issues of Canada’s colonial past/present — thus allowing for new possibilities of different, more reconciled and hopeful futures.

Author: Greg Macdougall has been involved with Indigenous solidarity work in and around Ottawa since 2008, around the time he helped co-found the grassroots group Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO). His website is EquitableEducation.ca



VIDEO from Phil Ochs Festival – December 2015 (93min)

Speeches & songs, featuring (also available as a playlist or webpost with each as individual videos):

  • 0:57 Barbara Dumont-Hill – Algonquin drum keeper, community volunteer, and spiritual advisor
  • 06:05 Albert Dumont “South Wind” – Algonquin community activist, volunteer, poet, storyteller and spiritual advisor
  • 12:03 Tito Medina – Singer-Songwriter and an icon for Guatemalan revolutionary music
  • 18:00 Douglas Cardinal – World-Class Organic Architect, Anishinaabe Elder and First Nations Activist
  • 26:50 Gabrielle Fayant and Amanda Fox – Spirit Flowers Indigenous women’s hand drum group
  • 36:40 Michael Desautels – Student & Labour Action Committee of Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands
  • 40:37 Kevin Schofield – the Tennessee Cree
  • 48:10 Romola Thumbadoo – Coordinator, William Commanda’s Circle of All Nations / Asinabka Chaudiere Site Work
  • 1:08:46 Julie Comber (Vela) – Singer-songwriter researcher settler-ally; member of Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands
  • 1:21:24 Peter Di Gangi – Research and Policy Director for the Algonquin Nation Secretariat
  • 1:30:10 Barbara Dumont-Hill

Topics include ‘zero rating’ and net neutrality; state surveillance; public dissatisfaction with Facebook and creating alternatives; and how the internet, capitalism, communications and the link to broader struggles for rights, justice and humanity.

Anja Kovacs speaking at World Forum on Free Media - credit: Gretchen King CKUT 90.3FM and WFFM/FMML local organizing committee

Anja Kovacs speaking at World Forum on Free Media – credit: Gretchen King CKUT 90.3FM and WFFM/FMML local organizing committee

Anja Kovacs directs the Internet Democracy Project in Delhi, India, which works for an Internet that supports free speech, democracy and social justice in India and beyond.

Interview by Greg Macdougall of EquitableEducation.ca, from Monday August 8th, the first full day of the World Forum on Free Media in Montreal, in conjunciton with the World Social Forum happening Aug 9-14.

Audio – 24min – direct link to mp3 file
Licensed for reuse/rebroadcast under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0


Key chronology / issues discussed in interview:

  • 0:45 – Begins by talking about the net neutrality issue of ‘zero rating’ internet access packages – proposals for which have been a major issue of debate in India, whereby companies offer people packages (paid, or possibly free) of certain websites and those people’s intenet access then consists solely of those packaged sites, with additional costs to access any websites not in the package. This may seem foreign to North American internet users, but zero rating was part of the United States net neutrality debate as well, although to a much lesser degree.
  • 3:30 – The net neutrality conversation also goes into the role of capitalism and ‘political economy’ and differences in consciousnesses / awareness of such issues between India and elsewhere, versus North America: “In general when you talk about rights issues, there is a much stronger sense of how your ability to enjoy rights, to exercise them, is always underpinned by political economy.”
  • 10:00 – Issues around the internet and capitalism, neoliberal pressures in India and other developing coutnries tying in to state surveillance and privacy issues
  • 13:00 – The World Forum on Free Media and importance of connecting around issues of rights, the Internet and communications in general – includes an explanation of what is meant by political economy.
  • 14:50 – Concerns around privacy and surveillance: do people really care? Looking at the complexities of the issue, especially with respect to social media, especially Facebook – and also, what do we do about it, with the dominance that such corporations have through their position in so many peoples lives?
  • 20:50 – Relating the issues around Internet, communications and free media with a “sense of despondency with where activism is at right now – not things that come up spontaneously, [but] people who have been organizing over long periods of time struggling to build connections in a world where increasingly global capital is back on the rise, and culturally – as people here have been pointing out – there is also more and more across the world a move to the right: that means there is a set of values that is dominant that’s not really hospitable to the activists that are here and the work that they do. And I think that’s maybe a question that’s just as important: How do you win people back to that language of solidarity, justice, and a different humanity to respect people in their totality, including their difference? I think that might be a bigger battle.”
  • 24:00 More around the issue of growing dissatisfaction with the power that companies like Facebook and Google have.


Book review: McChesney’s “Digital Disconnect” examines corporate control of our digital communications future

A half-hour interview with Idil, board chair of Across Boundaries mental health centre in Toronto, on race and mental health issues within the contexts of killings by police, incarceration, and mental health diagnosis and treatment.

Photo from Montreal protest July 28, 2016 - credit Justice for Victims of Police Killings (album)

Photo from Montreal protest July 28, 2016 – credit: Justice for Victims of Police Killings (album)

Main topics covered:

  • Introduction to sanism, Anti-Black racism, and anti-Black sanism;
  • Circumstances of Abdirahman Abdi’s death at the hands of Ottawa police on July 24;
  • Importance of race being at the core of this discussion;
  • List of Black men with mental health issues killed by police in Toronto: “1978 we had Andrew Evans. The following year, 1979, we had Albert Johnson. Subsequently we’ve had Wade Lawson in 1988, Lester Donaldson also in 1988, O’Brien Christopher-Reid in 2004, Michael Eligon in 2012, Reyal Jardine-Douglas in 2013, Ian Pryce in 2013, and more recently we’ve seen Jermaine Carby and Andrew Loku”;
  • Little faith in Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and also how the SIU was formed because of Black community activism;
  • Intersectionality of anti-Blackness racism and sanism / mental health;
  • Problems in the mental health system;
  • The conversation that is now happening based on Abdirahman’s killing;
  • What is needed in/from the media;
  • Possible responses to police killings, especially the need for full and accurate data;
  • Problems in jails, prisons, forensic facilities;
  • The consumption of Black death;
  • Challenging, difficulty, despair…
  • The need to demand justice


AUDIO: 29min 25sec – direct link to mp3 file – Note: rebroadcasting in whole or in part is encouraged under Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 especially for campus/community radio

Samples: CBC Ottawa’s Idil Mussa; Brand Nubian; The Coup ft. Dead Prez; Goodie Mob.

Transcript of audio interview: available in DOC or PDF file formats (not proofread)
(provided courtesy of Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies)

Links directly related to this interview:

  • Statement from Across Boundaries on the killing of Abdirahman Abdi: pdf link
    Across Boundaries is a community based organization in Toronto that provides servcies to folks living with mental health issues who are racialized: www.acrossboundaries.ca
  • “Civil and Political Wrongs: The Growing Gap Between International Civil and Political Rights and African Canadian Life” (2015) by Anthony N. Morgan, Darcel Bullen, and African Canadian Legal Clinic: 45-page pdf link – note pages 27-28 are specifically about the SIU and OIPRD
  • CAMH research study finds delays in access to mental health treatment services for Black youth (link coming soon)
  • “Racism in Ontario” 1992 report to the Premier by Stephen Lewis (38-page pdf link)
  • A written accompaniment (article and/or transcript) to this interview will be coming soon – please sign up to the EqEd mailing list for notice when it’s published: www.bit.ly/EqEd-list


Related Content from Greg Macdougall / EquitableEducation.ca

  • Ewart Walters – founder and editor of The Spectrum (1984-2013), a monthly newspaper for Ottawa’s Black community – speaks about starting The Spectrum and its niche in Ottawa’s media market, including keeping attention on the 1991 Ottawa police killing of Vincent Gardner

    This is four minutes of the start of his speech from October 2007, Media Democracy Day event on Citizen Journalism (direct mp3 file link) and he gets to the shooting of Vincent Gardner at 3:00


Individual recordings of eleven of the rally speakers sharing personal stories, providing context, expressing outrage and calling for change, in light of the Jian Ghomeshi verdict.

Rally at the Ottawa courthouse. Photo credit: Andrea Boles.

Rally at the Ottawa courthouse.
Photo credit: Andrea Boles.

Approximately 200 people attended the event on March 25, rallying at the Ottawa courthouse and then marching to Parliament Hill.


Recordings below – recorded and produced by Greg Macdougall, EquitableEducation.ca – no reuse or republication without explicit consent.
Unfortunately the audio quality may not the best, in some segments moreso than others.
The descriptions with each recording are as provided by the speakers.


Rally at Parliament Hill. Photo credit: Jenn Jefferys.

Rally at Parliament Hill.
Photo credit: Jenn Jefferys.


Need support?
Some services available around issues of sexual assault and abuse are listed at these sites:
Sexual Assault Support Centre (Ottawa) resource directory
Carleton University campus and community resource directory
Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres directory
Canadian Women’s Health Network listing of national rape crisis centres


Speeches from the Believe Survivors rally in Ottawa


Rose Ekins (recording begins mid-way through speech) – mp3 file


Debbie Owusu-Akyeeah, programming coordinator at CUSA (Carleton University Students’ Association)mp3 file


Jasper Ignatius, independent trans activist and writer. Jasper began by calling out cissexism and transmisogyny (having consulted a friend who experiences transmisogyny beforehand, as they do not) in the language of a previous speaker, and drawing attention to the harms of those actions. Jasper then spoke about their experience in a relationship where they were coerced into sex almost daily (by someone who worked in Carleton Safety) and how they only recently have come to terms with the fact that they experienced rape. Jasper also talked about what consent is, and the conditions in which a “yes” is really a “yes”. Jasper’s articles on Medium.com. – mp3 file


Leah Gazan, Red Sky Womanmp3 file


Margaux Hunter-Moffatt speaking on behalf of Mélodie Morin (for context see this CBC report). – mp3 file


Event organizers (mp3 file):
Amina Ghadieh is a 21 year-old student at the University of Ottawa, and the head organizer for this event. They are a social justice advocate, an artist, and a writer. Their speech focused on their lived experiences with sexual assault and the frustrations that arise when navigating the Canadian justice system.
Samantha is a charismatic leader, a criminology and communications student and a social justice advocate whose focus is set on dismantling systems of oppression surrounding women of colour. Her main goal is to show solidarity and respect, and give survivors a platform to safely share their experiences. She co-organized this protest and mainly helped with the promo as she has a strong presence on social media.


Jenn Jefferysmp3 file


Local activist Cameron Jette, 18, spoke about their experience of childhood rape and about the importance of educating our children and youth on consent and sexual violence. – mp3 file


Holly Smith, Purple Sisters Youth Advisory Committee & Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. – Text of speechmp3 file


Jenna is the administrative coordinator at the Womyn’s Centre at Carleton University. You can find her online through the Feminist Twins handle on Facebook and Twitter. Jenna is into (un)learning and sharing stories. – Text of speechmp3 file



The same day this post was published, Shameless magazine posted the text of the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape’s #WeBelieveSurvivors speech given at the Black Lives Matter Toronto Tent City (#BLMTOtentcity) in front of Toronto Police Headquarters on the evening of the Ghomeshi verdict, after the Toronto rally had marched there from the original gathering place in front of the courthouse.


Wolverine in May 2015 at a protest against Imperial Metals in Vancouver. Photo credit: Murray Bush - flux photo

Wolverine in May 2015 at a protest against Imperial Metals in Vancouver. Photo credit: Murray Bush – flux photo

An interview posted in honour of the late Secwepemc Elder and Warrior Wolverine upon the occasion of his recent passing, that includes him speaking about legal principles of Native land title and rights in Canada, a legal fight concerning land rights that he was involved with from 1989-95, and the softwood lumber agreement issue.

The article written at the time of this interview is below, but the interview audio itself has not been published until now.

Following the article, is the text of the December 2015 open letter from Wolverine to Canada’s Prime Minister and Minister of Justice calling for a public inquiry to address what happened around Gustafsen Lake.

Wolverine interviewed by Greg Macdougall in Waterloo ON, 2002 (17min, mp3 file)


Wolverine visits U.Waterloo

Native elder, youth talk of defending their land in B.C.

by Greg Macdougall, November 29 2002
Published in University of Waterloo Imprint student newspaper

How many times do you get to hear a speaker talk about being chased by a Canadian armoured personnel carrier, coming within four feet of being crushed and then shooting out the hydraulics with an AK-47 to take away the steering?

A few dozen UW students recently took advantage of the opportunity when William “Wolverine” Ignace and Nicole Manuel spoke in Waterloo on Tuesday, November 19. They’re from Secwepemc Nation near Kamloops B.C. and are raising awareness of the fight to protect their homeland from being further destroyed in the illegal expansion of the Sun Peaks ski resort. They said neither the provincial nor federal governments will enforce the laws that protect the Native peoples’ land rights.

The dispute was at the centre of the 1995 Gustafsen Lake standoff, when over 400 RCMP and Canadian army personnel employed land mines, concussion grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition to stop the Native people’s attempts to defend their land. It was during that time that the 63-year old Wolverine found himself in combat with the Canadian army and he spent the next five years in jail for his participation.

But the two had much more to talk about. Twenty-five-year-old Manuel spoke of the leadership she and others have received from their elders, including Wolverine. Although his formal education only went to grade seven, he has done legal research into the Native peoples’ land rights and represented himself in the courts, right up to the top court in the country. He pointed to the key 1995 dismissal of their case by the Supreme Court that didn’t rule on the legal points that Wolverine contends stand firmly in favour of the Secwepemc people.

He says that the Secwepemc should have their dispute with the Canadian government heard by a third-party adjudicator, because that is the only way to avoid the conflict-of-interest that any Canadian court or judge has in hearing the case. He stated that First Nations are allies with the Queen, not subjects to her.

In his research, he’s found that “there’s only six times in North American history that the Native people’s title and rights have been discussed in law” and they show the right to third-party adjudication. He listed them as 1704, the Mohegan people versus Connecticut; the appeal of that case in 1740; the Royal Proclamation of 1763; the conclusion of the Mohegan case in 1773; the Duty of Disallowance in 1875 and the 1982 Constitution.

According to Wolverine, Canada is a corrupt country — the politicians, lawyers, judges, media — “right from the bottom up. This is the reason why we’ll never get a fair ruling, not in this country. We’ve never had justice since Confederation; we’re still waiting.”

However, there is one legal avenue left: preventing an agreement between Canada and the United States on softwood lumber. “We can destroy the economy of Canada. Maybe that’s what it takes for people to realize what is wrong with this country.

“Because they never dealt with the land issue, all the resources that are removed off of our territories, it’s all stolen goods.” He said that Canada challenged this all the way to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, but lost.

Wolverine said he has two goals: justice and coexistence.

The tour he and Manuel are doing now is criss-crossing Eastern Canada; after visiting Concordia University, students there picketed two Montreal travel agencies, convincing them to cancel tours to Sun Peaks. Waterloo students at the talk were discussing doing a similar thing here.

Note: this article was also included in the Aboriginal Understanding booklet/zine published in 2011


Open Letter from Wolverine calling for a public inquiry into the events surrounding the Ts’Peten (Gustafsen Lake) standoff of 1995

Sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson, on December 30 2015

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

My name is Wolverine. I am also known as William Jones Ignace. I am an 83-year-old father, grandfather and great grandfather, and an Elder of the Secwepemc nation in what is called British Columbia. I am a farmer. This past summer I cultivated eight acres of organic food to nourish the people in my nation and other nations as well. I am a long time defender of the inherent jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples to steward our traditional homelands.

Today I am writing to you to request that you initiate a federal public inquiry into the events surrounding the month long standoff at Ts’Peten (Gustafsen Lake), British Columbia in 1995, an event which cast a deep shadow on the relationship between the Canadian government and Indigenous nations, which to this day has not been adequately investigated.

In 1995, after a long history of peaceful attempts to have Secwepemc sovereignty respected, Indigenous people from the Secewpemc nation and their supporters took a stand on sacred Sundance lands at Ts’Peten, a.k.a. Gustafsen Lake. The incident began after a local white rancher, Lyle James began demanding that the sacred Secwepemc Sundance Camp leave land to which he claimed ownership. Approximately 24 Sundancers set up camp to defend Ts’Peten. I was one of those people.

Beginning in August 1995, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) surrounded the Ts’Peten Defenders. Over the next month police, politicians, and media escalated the situation to make the siege the most expensive and largest domestic military operation in Canada’s history: armoured personnel carriers, .50 calibre machine guns, land mines, and an astonishing 77,000 rounds of ammunition were directed at the land defenders. In the course of the standoff, RCMP shot at unarmed people and at people in negotiated no-shoot zones. RCMP Superintendent Murray Johnston expressed the belief that a resolution to the standoff would “require the killing” of the defenders, including myself. Although this thankfully did not come to be, the unjust and violent actions carried out against the Secwepemc people during the siege remains strong in our memories to this day.

Despite the 20 years that have passed since the Ts’Peten standoff, the core issues that so forcefully clashed against each other remain at the forefront of the hearts and minds of Indigenous people. That is our right to self-determination, autonomy and protection from the dispossession of our lands and territories. According to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Aboriginal Title to land exists inherently and will continue to exist until it has been ceded by treaty with the Crown. The land on which the Ts’Peten standoff occurred was, and remains to this day, unceded territory. The land at Ts’Peten was never handed over by the Secwepemc Nation to Canadian control through treaty or otherwise, and is therefore land that cannot have been sold to settlers by the Canadian or British Columbian governments. The use of Canadian paramilitary forces against the people of the Secwepemc nation asserting our inherent jurisdiction and title over our own territories therefore is a serious abrogation of the Nation to Nation relationship between the Canadian government and the Secwepemc Nation.

This abrogation has yet to be properly investigated, and remains one of the largest stains on relations between Indigenous nations and the Canadian state. A public federal inquiry is long overdue into the actions of the RCMP, the Canadian government and the provincial government of British Columbia.

In recent months, Mr. Trudeau, you have called for a renewed Nation to Nation relationship with Indigenous nations, promising a new era of recognition, rights, respect, co-operation and partnership, rooted in the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. According to that Declaration, Indigenous peoples have the right to be safe from being forcibly removed from their lands and territories. Even now, aggressive resource extraction and the destruction it inevitably brings regularly occurs on Indigenous lands without the consent of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous lands which, according to the very agreements that founded the nation of Canada, do not belong to Canada to be given away without the free prior and informed consent of the Indigenous people of those lands who never relinquished their rights. In order to build this Nation to Nation relationship, Indigenous peoples must know that they can continue to pursue peaceful processes for protecting their sovereignty, without the threat of state sanctioned violence being used against them. The use of police and RCMP intimidation and force as a method to settle land claims in favour of the Canadian national and provincial governments is antithetical to the creation of a healthy and just partnership between nations. If Indigenous people are prevented from asserting their rights to sovereignty, true reconciliation cannot occur.

The time has come to honour your commitment to Indigenous people, and to a reconciliation between our nations. An inquiry into the Ts’Peten standoff would demonstrate that the Canadian government is truly committed to a new era of respectful, Nation to Nation relationships in which the wrongs of the past are thoroughly understood and acknowledged, ensuring that threats, intimidation, defamation and force are never again used against Indigenous people in Canada.

With respect,

Wolverine, William Jones Ignace