~~~~~~ Learning a better world ~~~~ with Greg Macdougall

Browsing Posts published by Greg

Panel discussion and musical performances.

dec19 header image v7

Topics to be addressed include the spiritual significance of the area on the Ottawa River in the heart of Canada’s capital; Aboriginal land title and rights; the Asinabka vision of the late Algonquin leader Grandfather William Commanda for the site; Algonquin communities’ perspectives; settler/ally activism on this issue; and corporate/colonial incursions on Indigenous collective well-being.


Saturday Dec. 19, Noon-2pm

at Southminster United Church
15 Aylmer Ave at Bank St by the canal, Ottawa
Unceded Algonquin Territory

Facebook event page – please invite your friends!

Print and display the poster: 8.5×11 pdf file

Free admission – as part of PHIL OCHS FESTIVAL www.ochsfest.ca 10am-6pm



  • Albert Dumont “South Wind” – Algonquin community activist, volunteer, poet, storyteller and spiritual advisor
  • Romola Thumbadoo – Coordinator, William Commanda’s Circle of All Nations/Asinabka Chaudiere Site Work
  • Douglas Cardinal – World-Class Organic Architect, Anishinaabe Elder and First Nations Activist.
  • Christal Ratt – Anishnabe Mitchikinabikok Inik: Algonquin of Barriere Lake
  • Peter Di Gangi – Research and Policy Director, Algonquin Nation Secretariat
  • Julie Comber (Vela) – Singer-songwriter researcher settler-ally; member of Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands


  • Spirit Flowers
  • Tito Medina
  • Vela
  • Kevin Schofield
  • Barbara Dumont-Hill


  • Michael Desautels – Student & Labour Action Committee, Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands



Please support the three demands as outlined in the “Call to Support Protection of Sacred Waterfalls Area” from four Algonquin First Nations.

Have your group or organization endorse the list of demands and communicate these to the relevant government officials — and individually write to these officials with your support of these demands, as well as questioning why no levels of government (except Quebec) have even acknowledged, let alone engaged with, the chiefs’ communications to them on this matter.

List of email contacts:
pm@pm.gc.ca, minister@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca, premier@ontario.ca, info@ncc-ccn.ca, Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca, maire@gatineau.ca, hello@zibi.ca

ie: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, National Capital Commission chair Russell Mills, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, and Jonathan Westeinde of Windmill Development Group

Also – Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard contact form


AFNQL resolution (passed November 19 2015):

AFN resolution (passed December 8 2015):



78 minute audio recording of talk by Research and Policy Director of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat, Peter Di Gangi, presented December 8th 2015 at Octopus Books in Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory – also available is a 74 minute version for use in burning to standard CD format.

Audio player embedded below.

Map of the Ottawa River Watershed - Click the map for full-size image, or download the pdf version.

Map of the Ottawa River Watershed – click the map for full-size image, or download the pdf version.

Outline of talk:

  • The Ottawa River
  • Algonquins and Nipissings – pre-contact
  • French-English competition, fur trade, war and peace
  • Logging and settlement in the Ottawa valley
  • Impacts
  • Petitions for reserve lands
  • Dams and hydro
  • Sports hunting, trapping
  • Policy and law in the 20th century
  • Current events

Listen to the talk:

Click for mp3 files:


Algonquin Nation Secretariat: www.algonquinnation.ca


—- Related content —-


On the Algonquin land claim for eastern Ontario:

  • Interview with Algonquin Nation Secretariat advisor Russell Diabo (February 2015) mp3 file link
    (with correction: 6,000 non-status enrolled members, not 16,000)


On the sacred Chaudiere Falls area (Akikodjiwan / Asinabka) and Windmill Development Group’s “Zibi” condo plans:

by Greg Macdougall

originally published in the Centretown Buzz

The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) described it as “the most formidable obstacle now faced by the condo project” in an article on November 26.

Photo by Vela Description: A handmade picket sign with the words "Free the Falls! No condos on stolen Algonquin Land!" sits directly on top of a corporate orange Zibi logo sign.

Photo by Vela
Description: A handmade picket sign with the words “Free the Falls! No condos on stolen Algonquin Land!” sits directly on top of a corporate orange Zibi logo sign.

It was on that day that APTN, preceded a few hours earlier by FreeTheFalls.ca and EquitableEducation.ca, broke the news: the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, a 43-member organization including nine Algonquin chiefs, had passed a resolution to protect the sacred Algonquin site, Akikodjiwan (a.k.a. the Chaudière Falls area), in downtown Ottawa/Gatineau from the proposed Zibi condo development planned by Windmill Development Group Ltd.

In the following days, the only further coverage was republication of the EquitableEducation.ca story on three websites – mediacoop.ca, rabble.ca and IntercontinentalCry.org – along with a follow-up story on APTN.

The local mainstream media (CBC, The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, Metro News, and The Ottawa Business Journal) were all silent on the issue.

With plans to make the area public – including a park and freed falls – in existence since the 1950 Greber Report and, in recent decades, the transformative vision for the site brought forward by late Algonquin leader William Commanda, this brings to mind a previous development situation Ottawa residents faced with some similarities.

Culminating five years ago, the proposals for re-developing Lansdowne Park saw community opposition and possible alternatives sidetracked by both government and media. Instead, well-connected corporate interests were fast-tracked and sole-sourced to become the commercial and condominium reality now in existence at that site.

Carleton professor Randal Marlin wrote a 2010 editorial on the Lansdowne situation in the Global Media Journal: “Propaganda, Ethics, and Media—Political and Commercial Erosion of Journalism Ethics(in Vol.3, No. 2 at www.gmj.uottawa.ca).

“The most disturbing aspect of commercial intrusion into the media comes at the point when … the news and opinion columns become promotional rather than critically evaluative of commercial developments arguably pitting public against private interests,” Marlin wrote.

Marlin noted the controversy at the time around journalist Maria Cook. “The Citizen unceremoniously shut her down by pulling her off the urban affairs beat and suspending her blog,” wrote the editor of The Canadian Architect.

This was in the lead-up to the city’s vote on Lansdowne, after Cook had written critically of the corporate development plans. Incidentally, it was right around the time she won the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Award for Architectural Journalism.

“Certainly, there were instances where opposing voices found expression in the paper, but timing, placement, depth of argument and frequency all play a role, along with photographic and other imagery,” Marlin also wrote.

With the Algonquin chiefs’ resolution having been brought forward at the Canada-wide Assembly of First Nations meetings December 8-10 here in Ottawa, what will the local media’s response be?

Given that kind of prominence, perhaps the question won’t be if the media have covered it, but how.

What kind of impression and perspective will readers and viewers, many less than fully knowledgeable on issues around indigenous rights, be left with?

The resolution cites articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and states that both Canadian law and the international indigenous human rights of the Algonquin peoples are being violated in this situation.

An earlier call by four of the Algonquin chiefs, in October, to protect the sacred site also cited recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

The new federal Liberal government has promised to implement and honour both the TRC recommendations and the UNDRIP, so it remains to be seen if they actually will in this case, and also if the media will alert and inform their audiences on these fundamental issues.

Wiliam Commanda’s vision for Asinabka is truly transformative: Indigenous and peace-building centres at the sacred heart of Canada’s capital, and true harmony with the environment at this most special site – all vital elements in these troubled times if we are to move forward in a better way. Or will Canada’s history of colonialism continue, with non-native visions of “progress” imposed upon long-standing indigenous values of spirituality?

As already seen here, community and alternative media will be a valuable means of ensuring these kinds of things are made clear and prominent as the situation develops.

Coming together in person is another way: there will be a panel discussion on this issue on Saturday December 19, noon-2pm, as part of the Phil Ochs Festival at Southminster Church (15 Aylmer Ave at Bank St) in Old Ottawa South.

Future updates and events will also be posted at www.FreeTheFalls.ca.


*Note: The author of this article, Greg Macdougall, also wrote the above-mentioned article posted on EquitableEducation.ca, which is his website.


Also see:



by Greg Macdougall, EquitableEducation.ca — click for mobile-friendly version at mediacoop.ca

Update: now re-published (and proofread) at rabble.ca and Intercontinental Cry

Chaudière Falls area, Ottawa/Gatineau — On November 19, the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador passed a resolution brought forward by Algonquin chiefs to protect the sacred Akikodjiwan falls site on the Ottawa river (Kichizibi), unceded Algonquin territory.

This is in opposition to Windmill Development Group Ltd’s plans, in partnership with Dream Corp, to build a condominium/commercial development named ‘Zibi’ (an Algonquin word meaning river) on the islands at the waterfalls and on the Gatineau shoreline.

Also, Hydro Ottawa has recently started development on a new hydroelectric generating facility at the dammed falls.

Charles William Jefferys 1930 painting of a tobacco sacrifice at Chaudière Falls (courtesy www.bytown.net)

Charles William Jefferys 1930 painting of a tobacco sacrifice at Chaudière Falls (courtesy www.bytown.net)

The prelude to the points of the resolution cites articles 11 and 12 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the historic Algonquin habitation and patterns of use of this territory, and the destructive history of colonization and asserts the Indigenous rights of the Algonquin Nation to this site and how different levels of government are violating Canadian law and the international human rights of the Algonquin Peoples.

The resolution includes the following:

  • a call for immediate government consultation with the Algonquin communities about this site;
  • opposition to the rezoning of these lands for development;
  • a call for no development until there is free, prior, and informed consent from the Algonquin Nation as a whole;
  • demand of the return of the sacred site to the Algonquin Nation;
  • demand that the governments purchase all privately-held lands at the site;
  • a call for the governments to enter into discussions with the Algonquin chiefs and councils for the establishment of a Algonquin Nation Cultural Park and Historic Commemoration Site at this location.

The AFNQL resolution was passed two days after the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) dismissed the appeals against the City of Ottawa’s decision from last October to rezone the island lands for the ‘Zibi’ development. The rezoning is a prerequisite for the sale/transfer of these lands from the current holders, Domtar Corp, to Windmill. A minority of the land slated for the development is owned and leased out by Public Works Canada / the National Capital Commission.

The OMB decision to not hear the rezoning appeals stated, in part, The evidence shows that an extensive consultation process was undertaken by both the City and proponent [aka Windmill] and that the concerns of First Nations particularly the Algonquin have been adequately considered …”

The OMB decision is being challenged at the Ontario Divisonal Court by one of the original appellants, renowned Anishinabe architect Douglas Cardinal. Cardinal is a keeper of the late Algonquin hereditary chief and elder William Commanda’s Asinabka vision for the waterfalls and islands, and has played a leading role in the opposition to the condo/commercial development.

The chief of Wolf Lake First Nation, Harry St. Denis, brought forward the AFNQL resolution, and it was seconded by Jean-Guy Whiteduck, chief of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. The resolution was passed unanimously (with one abstention) at last week’s meeting of the AFNQL, a 43-member organization including nine Algonquin chiefs; and although not all the Algonquin chiefs were present for the resolution’s passing, Chief St. Denis confirmed for this article that he had ensured they were all supportive before he brought the resolution forward.

The only federally-recognized Algonquin chief to support the development is Kirby Whiteduck of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (located by Golden Lake, Ontario). The Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) organization are also on record in support of the development – the AOO is an organization formed in 2006 to negotiate the eastern Ontario Algonquin land claim that in current form would give up rights to the Ottawa/islands section of the sacred site (along with some 98.7 per cent of the full territory being negotiated in the claim). Seven of the 16 votes in AOO decision-making are held by the Pikwakanagan chief and council, with the other votes coming from the ‘Algonquin Negotiation Representatives’ for each of the nine non-status Algonquin communities included in the land claim process.


Approx. location of the Zibi condo development project at the sacred Akikodjiwan falls site on the Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa/Gatineau (Map: Google Maps, customized by IntercontinentalCry.org)

Approx. location of the Zibi condo development project at the sacred Akikodjiwan falls site on the Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa/Gatineau
(Map: Google Maps, customized by IntercontinentalCry.org)

Link to full resolution in english (3-pg pdf file)

Link to full resolution in french (3-pg pdf file)


Text of resolution points:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AFNQL Chiefs-in-Assembly:

  1. Call upon the governments of Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the National Capital Commission and the municipalities of Gatineau and Ottawa to immediately consult the Algonquin communities who form the Algonquin Nation regarding changes to the status of lands and islands within the Algonquin sacred area Akikodjiwan; and
  1. Oppose the re-zoning of the sacred area Akikodjiwan (Gatineau Waterfront in Quebec and Chaudiere, Albert and Victoria islands in Ontario) from parks and open space to mixed use due to the failure to consult and accommodate the Algonquin communities who form the Algonquin Nation; and
  1. Support the Algonquin Nation in their opposition to the Windmill Development Groups’s Zibi Project proceeding within the Algonquin sacred area Akikodjiwan unless and until the free, prior and informed consent of the Algonquin Nation is given; and
  1. Support the Algonquin Nation in their demand for the Algonquin sacred area Akikodjiwan to be returned to the Algonquin Nation and controlled by an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin communities who form Algonquin Nation; and
  1. Support the Algonquin Nation in their demand for the governments of Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Ottawa and Gatineau to purchase any lands privately held within the Algonquin sacred area Akikodjiwan and return those lands to an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin First nations comprising the Algonquin Nation; and
  1. Call on the governments of Canada, Quebec, Ontario, the National Capital Commission and the municipalities of Gatineau and Ottawa to immediately contact the duly elected Algonquin Chiefs and Councils forming the Algonquin Nation to discuss the establishment of the proposed Algonquin Nation Cultural Park and Historic Commemoration Site to be established on part of the Akikodjiwan under an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin Communities who form the Algonquin Nations; and
  1. Direct the AFNQL Regional Chief to communicate this decision of the AFNQL Chiefs-in-Assembly by letter to the governments of Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Ottawa, Gatineau, the National Capital Commission and the Windmill Development Group.



See also:





“What Sustains Us? What Stops Us?” An exploration and conversation starter on how we meld our activist lives, our political selves with our personal lives, our mental health work and the way we are in community – and how we can make it sustainable, healthy and constructive.

Photo of Counterbalance zine on bookshelf

Photo of Counterbalance zine on bookshelf

Zine by Kristi Kenney;
some pieces by guest authors.





  • Acknowledgements & Thank You
  • Welcome & Hello
  • Despair for the World & Personal Depression
  • Looking to Those Who Have Been Here Before: Miriam Greenspan, Joanna Macy & Sarah Conn
  • Building a Culture of Connection as Activists, by Jenna Golden & Karen Hixson
  • Where Despair & Hope Meet
  • The Psychology of Social Change; or, why doesn’t this seem to be working?
  • Questions About Burnout & Aging in the Activist Scene, by PB Floyd
  • Inspiring Activists
  • DIY Emotional Well-Being Tips, from Slingshot Organizer 2008
  • In Conclusion, Future Inquiries & Connections
  • References & Recommended Readings


Link to the Counterbalance Project website
– also the Counterbalance Facebook page




A compilation of links, quotes, videos and audio against the development planned for the sacred Asinabka / Akikodjiwan / Chaudiere Falls site on the Ottawa River (Kichisibi) on unceded Algonquin territory.

Photo by Vela Description: A handmade picket sign with the words "Free the Falls! No condos on stolen Algonquin Land!" sits directly on top of a corporate orange Zibi logo sign.

Photo by Vela
Description: A handmade picket sign with the words “Free the Falls! No condos on stolen Algonquin Land!” sits directly on top of a corporate orange Zibi logo sign.


Note: Alongside the ‘Zibi’ condo/commercial development plans, Hydro Ottawa / Energy Ottawa has recently started destruction/construction (photos here & here) on a new hydroelectricity plant at the falls, and this is also being opposed.


New update since this was originally posted:

Nine Algonquin chiefs, AFNQL oppose ‘Zibi’ condos and resolve to protect sacred area




The main company behind the development is Windmill Development Group Ltd. Their talking points in the media include “It’s clear that the Algonquin Nation as a whole is divided on the issue” (Jeff Westeinde, on CBC Nov 3rd), “We know that 99 per cent of the people were overwhelmingly in favour of the project happening. There’s a strong vocal one per cent [opposing it]” (Rodney Wilts, in Ottawa Business Journal Nov 6th), and “There’s a very small group of people that have a different view of what should happen with these lands, and that’s not at all unexpected” (Jeff Westeinde, Ottawa Citizen video Nov 8th); also, “Weistende challenged [Douglas] Cardinal’s interpretation of history and what constitutes a sacred site” (Ottawa Citizen Nov 3rd).

The only status Algonquin chief supporting the development, Kirby Whiteduck of Pikwakanagan, wrote in the Ottawa Citizen on Aug 14th, “I speak of a small but vocal number of groups and individuals that have come out speaking against the Zibi project, purportedly on behalf of the Algonquin-Anishinabe. I note that most within this movement are not First Nations, let alone Algonquin, yet they are aggressively advocating for the conversion of the Zibi land on Chaudière and Albert Islands to park land, and returned to the stewardship of the Algonquin people. Ironically, the groups and individuals behind this campaign have not consulted the Algonquin-Anishinabe community before taking this position on our behalf. Had they consulted us, we would have asked them to support our decision to partner with Windmill: a decision made by Algonquin Anishinabe for Algonquin Anishinabe within Algonquin Anishinabe territory.”

It is clear that the development-friendly media are uncritically carrying such messages to help marginalize the project’s opposition.

As well, opponents of the development have been targets of ‘lateral violence’. One of those recently affected by such personal attacks – that in this case came from members of Windmill’s four-person Anishinabe advisory group the Memengweshii Council – was Gabrielle Fayant, who wrote poignantly afterwards on Twitter: “We need to stand up to bullies, in a loving way, knowing that they may also be hurting” and also “I can only hope that I was able to bare the burden of these attacks so you can now speak your #truth. You’re not alone. #notmyzibi”



Collection of links / quotes / videos / audio


Call for support from Four Algonquin First Nations & with backgrounder (Oct 2015) from Timiskaming, Eagle Village, Wolf Lake, and Barriere Lake

“Our Algonquin First Nations were not legally or meaningfully consulted or accommodated on this matter as per the directions of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Haida, Delgamuukw or Tsilhqot’in decisions. Moreover, we are calling on all parties to respect the Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, in this case Article 11, among others, clearly applies:
Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites.
… We are calling for those islands and waterfront to be designated an Algonquin Cultural Park and Historic Commemorative Site and we are actively seeking national support for our Algonquin land use vision as a step towards reconciliation with our legitimate Algonquin First Nations, which we believe is consistent with the vision of the late Kitigan Zibi Elder, William Commanda who advocated for the return of this Algonquin sacred waterfalls area, including the Chaudiere, Albert and Victoria Islands.
… our four Algonquin First Nations are looking for individuals, groups and organizations to ENDORSE OUR LIST OF DEMANDS in order to build pressure on the federal, provincial, municipal governments and corporations, particularly the Windmill Development Group.“


Long Point First Nation letter to the Ontario Municipal Board (July 2015)

“These islands on the Ottawa River are unceded Anishinabe Territory and do belong to the Anishinabe, the sale of these lands which were expropriated for industry should be returned back to the Anishinabe and not sold to a private developer.”


Algonquin Elder Evelyn Commanda speaking at a press conference along with Douglas Cardinal & John Ralston Saul (Nov 2015)


Collection of blog posts from Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont “South Wind”

“Asinabka (Akikodjiwan), our most sacred site, was stolen from us at a time when no one except the good spirit Mino Manido and Creator cared what the Algonquins had to say about it. We are told over and over again in recent times that a “new relationship of honour and mutual respect is at hand” between us, the First Nations and the settler communities. If Canadians are OK with a sacred site such as Asinabka (Akikodjiwan) being violated in the most despicable manner by the construction of highrise buildings upon it, then their warped definition of ‘reconciliation’ is very different than mine. My mind is not strong enough to even imagine what will be lost to us spiritually if highrises do end up getting built there. I only know with all certainty that our future generations, yours and mine, will suffer the most because of us allowing a place of prayer and ceremony to be raped before our very eyes.”
ALSO: Video interview with Albert Dumont (Feb 2014)


Canada, Free the Dam Falls!” A compilation of 40 annotated resources (Sept 2015) – by Dr. Lynn Gehl, Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe

“During this time of “reconciliation” Canada is permitting the further destruction of an Algonquin Anishinaabeg sacred site located in what is now called the Ottawa River, more specifically a site that is known to be the place of Creator’s First Pipe and the islands located downstream which historically were a meeting place where many Indigenous Nations converged to ceremonially discuss peace and friendship. This continued destruction is part and parcel of the land claims process where the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) are being forced to extinguish their land and water rights through Canada’s land claims policy. While there are many contentious issues with this desecration, and with the AOO who had to agree to leave private property ownership outside the scope of their land claims, it is most important to understand that the Ontario-Quebec provincial border is a colonial construction and as such the voice of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg in what is now Quebec must not be ignored or dismissed. This sacred place was and remains the jurisdiction of all Algonquin. Indeed corporate colonial Canada is a creep!”
ALSO: video of Lynn Gehl’s public talk (April 2015)


Reconciliation as Real Negotiations or Termination Table? The Algonquin Land Claim in Eastern Ontario” (Nov 2015) by Heather Majaury, Non-Status Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe:

Point #18 from the letter reads:
“The Chaudiere Falls is a sacred site of the Algonquin people from both sides of the Kichisibi (Ottawa River). All properties within and under the riverway carry special significance as the heart of the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin as a whole and need to be protected as such. Therefore any attempt to build condominiums through a private arrangement at this time is highly suspect regardless of private patents illegitimately acquired over time. If the Government of Canada has over time sold sacred lands for private use then it is the Government of Canada that must rectify this problem with the land holders that are now harmed by its failure over time to respect Algonquin lands and people from molestation. If promises have been made to employ Algonquin companies then those arrangements need to be fulfilled and another site chosen for the actual development.”


Open Letter to the Memengweshi Council re: their Windmill Development Partnership” (July 2015) from Sab Godin, Anishinaabekwe-Algonkin

“I would expect the Memengweshi Council, as you say, “Inspired by ancestral Algonquin-Anishinabe practices”, has advised Windmill executives of this decision-making heritage? If not, as you claim to represent only yourselves, who has Windmill Development Group, the Cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, and the National Capital Commission (NCC) consulted with and what was the feedback of their consultations? Could you advise the Anishinabeg public of that?

As this sacred site is in unceded territory for which there is no previous deed of sale, how does the Memengweshi Council traditionally support the sale of federally stolen land to private industry?

PLEASE rethink your position on this once-in-a-life time opportunity to do what is morally, ethically, culturally and eternally right. You would be celebrated heroes, if you did.”


Kitigan Zibi chief says he won’t support Windmill development” (Feb 2015)
Then-chief of Kitigan Zibi, Gilbert Whiteduck, in the Ottawa Citizen

“Gilbert Whiteduck, chief of the Kitigan Zibi reserve located in Maniwaki, said elders did not approve Windmill Development’s use of the word, and proper protocols were not used to seek that approval.

Its use, he said Wednesday, implies the Kitigan Zibi band endorses the massive urban renewal project on Chaudière and Albert islands and the nearby Quebec shoreline, which he said is not the case.

“(It is) once again, by a corporation, the appropriation of our Anishinaabe language.””


Ottawa City Council approves rezoning of sacred Algonquin site near Parliament” (Oct 2014) with printable edition (2pg pdf) – A news / background article that features the late Elder William Commanda‘s vision for the site, and quotes from then-chief of Kitigan Zibi Gilbert Whiteduck and also Elder Albert Dumont (plus video of Douglas Cardinal).

“Ottawa City Council has approved a rezoning application for private and commercial development on two islands at the Chaudière Falls, about a kilometre upstream from the Parliament buildings on the Ottawa River. The decision, made at a council meeting on Oct. 8 2014, came despite numerous objections from citizens as well as a formal request for further dialogue from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Chief Gilbert W. Whiteduck.

William Commanda’s vision in danger

A broadly supported vision for the site, which includes the falls and the full group of interconnected islands that are directly downstream from them, was championed over the past decades by the late Algonquin hereditary chief and elder Grandfather William Commanda, who was awarded both the key to the City of Ottawa and Officer of the Order of Canada. Commanda passed away in 2011 with the vision still to be fulfilled.”
ALSO: audio interview with Gilbert Whiteduck (Oct 2014) mp3 file


Website of the late Algonquin Elder William Commanda’s vision for the site: www.Asinabka.com

The Legacy Vision of William Commanda for The Sacred Chaudiere Site and The Indigenous Centre at Victoria Island

Elder William Commanda’s vision for the development of a healing and peace building centre on the traditional spiritual meeting grounds of the Anicinabe people, with the lands to be held in trust by Algonquin elders.

Dr. Commanda’s bold four-fold vision calls for
1) Freeing the Chaudière Falls,
2) Creating a City Park and Historic Interpretive Centre
3) Building a Peace Building Meeting Site, and
4) Building an Aboriginal Centre





Anishnabe Cultural Demo to Protect our Sacred Site

Friday Nov 13, 11am at Victoria Island

Info: freethefalls.ca/news/join-elders-from-the-anishnabe-people-in-a-demonstration-of-culture/
on Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/906805976034420/

The Circle, Power and Healing” – Talking circle & feast

Saturday November 21, 10am
advance RSVP required

Info: http://albertdumont.com/the-circle-power-and-healing/






Care for this water and land. Create an indigenous presence in the capital.



Petition: Honour the Indigenous Stewardship of the Chaudière Falls and its Islands

4239 signatures as of Saturday Nov 21



Petition: Save Asinabka/Chaudiere ancestral sacred site, for a Native Healing Center in Ottawa

534 signatures as of Saturday Nov 21



Poetry: A Draft For Asinabka – by Lital Khaikin

“A narrative mirror of appropriation and erasure reveals the rhetoric of legal and public discourse around Windmill’s corporate ZIBI development on unceded Algonquin land. A vision of a nation sold – rivers dammed, water privatised, the sacred disremembered, the rich honoured. A project of documentary and archival reconstruction, A Draft for Asinabka references experimental poetics, where fragmentation tells a history on the precipice of past and present.”




A summary and download of a letter from Heather Majaury to the Algonquins of Ontario organization; an in-depth critique of the Proposed Agreement-In-Principle that will be voted on in the coming months. The letter is cc’ed to relevant provincial and federal government representatives and ministers. Scroll down for context, summary and links, also with related resources at the bottom.


Note on title terminology:
“The termination tables are negotiation tables between the Federal Government and mainly First Nations Chief and Councils. These negotiations are called “Comprehensive Land Claims” and/or “Self-Government” negotiations, the final agreements will — within Canadian constitutional law — extinguish Aboriginal Title and convert “Indian Bands” into municipal type governments where federal and provincial powers will dominate First Nations powers.” from Idle No More website


Image description: Resembles the Canadian flag, with red bars on each side and white it middle. Where maple leaf would be, is outline of the territory under negotiation, with little bits of coloured sections that are the 1.3% of the land that will be kept by the Algonquin. Words in left red bar: "Because this is what 1.3% of our land looks like & requiring land surrender is Genocide." Words in middle: "Don't Comply... Just Vote NO". Words in right red bar: "The Algonquin Landclaim A.I.P. (Agreement in Principal)"

Image description: Resembles the Canadian flag, with red bars on each side and white in the middle. Where the maple leaf would be, is an outline of the territory under negotiation, with little sections in colour that are the land that will be kept by the Algonquin under the agreement. Words in left bar: “Because this is what 1.3% of our land looks like & requiring land surrender is Genocide.” Words in middle: “Don’t Comply… Just Vote NO”. Words in right bar: “The Algonquin Landclaim A.I.P. (Agreement in Principal)”.


Heather Majaury is an Enrolled Non Status Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe of mixed ancestry from the Ottawa River Valley. She has been a working actor, singer, song writer, director, playwright, and popular theatre worker for over 25 years. She served in 2001 as Communications Officer as part of the Land claim Negotiation Team located at Pikwakanagan Reserve. At the time, the staff were employees of the Algonquin Nation Negotiation Directorate, an Ontario Corporation that handled and processed all land claim funding until negotiation broke down in 2002, prior to the forming of the current Algonquins of Ontario negotiating body. Her website is www.HeatherMajaury.com


The ‘Algonquins of Ontario’ (AOO) was created in 2006 as an organization to carry out the land claims process; the AOO decision-making body consists of the chief and six council members of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, along with one elected ‘Algonquin Negotiation Representative’ (ANR) for each of the nine non-status Algonquin communities included in the claim. This land claim process was initially started by Pikwakanagan in 1983, with the provincial and federal governments accepting the claim to negotiate in 1991 and 1992 respectively.


The land under negotiation (click for map) has never been ceded or surrendered. It consists of approximately 36,000 square kilometres of eastern Ontario (although unceded Algonquin territory does not stop at the Quebec border): the southern boundary goes from North Bay in the northwest, southeast almost all the way to Kingston, and then northeast to Hawkesbury, with Brockville and Cornwall excluded. The northern boundary is the Ottawa River aka the provincial border; the city of Ottawa is included in this territory, as is almost all of Algonquin Park.


Majaury’s letter includes a list of 18 points as to why the current Proposed Agreement-In-Principle should be rejected. These points include:


  • An unsatisfactory one-time “buy out” amount of $300 million, with no ongoing revenue streams or revenue-sharing agreements concerning the territory’s natural resources or land, nor any recompense for the hundreds of years of damage, pain and suffering inflicted upon many generations of Algonquin people.


  • “Microscopic” amounts of ‘fee simple’ land; only 117,500 out of approximately 9 million acres.


  • The comprehensive land claims process not being acceptable under international legal standards, not including Algonquin Anishinabeg language and legal concepts, and lacking engagement from many of the enrolled Algonquin people.


  • The issue of the debt incurred by the Algonquins to participate in the process with no way to pay it off other than from the money in the final settlement.


  • Lack of recognition of the overlapping land title and rights of other Algonquins who are not included in the negotiations.


  • Indemnity of the Canadian state from any actions taken in advance of the final agreement that have or will have violated the Algonquins’ constitutional Section 35 rights; and no mention of Section 25 protections.


  • Lack of agreements to ensure proper ongoing genealogy, enrolment, housing, education, and affirmative employment action; inadequate agreement on hunting rights and jurisdiction.


  • The issue of the sacred Chaudiere Falls site in Ottawa being treated as private land, the proposed condominium development (the ‘Zibi’ project by Windmill Development Corp), and the vision of the late Algonquin Elder William Commanda for the site.



Read all 18 points and the letter in its entirety:
—- click here for 7-page PDF file —-




Related resources:






  • Interview with policy analyst and Algonquin Nation Secretariat advisor Russell Diabo on this land claims process (Feb 2015) mp3 file linkWebpost with audio & transcript
    (with correction: 6,000 non-status enrolled members, not 16,000)






In honour of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women – a collection of links to media resources: written articles, downloadable anthologies, and video & audio of interviews and public talks.

Photo by The Indignants' Zach NoCameco Ruiter

Photo by The Indignants’ Zach NoCameco Ruiter


2015 marks the 10th year of SIS vigils on October 4th honouring the lives of MMIW.
((UPDATE: removed descriptions and links for 2015 event listings))

Art work of Angela Sterritt. Angelasterritt.com

Art work of Angela Sterritt. Angelasterritt.com


The following media are either produced by me, or alternatively are from events or projects where I was a member of the group involved in hosting/producing it.






  • The Law’s Role in Canada’s Disgrace: Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (2015, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law: Shirley E. Greenberg Chair speaker series)
    Speaker: Pamela Palmater.
    Videos posted here.
  • SEEKING JUSTICE: A National Call for a Public Inquiry for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (2010, as part of Indigenous Sovereignty Week – Ottawa)
    The speakers were Sharon McIvor, Maria Jacko, and Yasmin Jiwani.
    Videos posted here.



  • The Epidemic of Continuing Violence against Indigenous Women (2009, hosted by Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa)
    Speakers were Sylvia Smith, Verna McGregor, Kate Rex of NWAC, Derek James, Doreen Silversmith of the No More Silence Network, and Bruce Sinclair and Steve Martin of Brothers In Spirit.
    Audio posted here.