While the City of Halifax has the intelligence to remove the statue of Edward Cornwallis, the City of Ottawa moves deeper into Canada’s practice of genocide against the Algonquin Anishinaabeg.
As many people know there has been a long-time effort to Free the Falls and Save the Islands located in the Ottawa River just upstream from Canada's Parliament buildings. Chaudière Falls and Chaudière, Albert, and Victoria Islands are an ancient sacred meeting place where Creator placed the First Sacred Pipe within the land and waterscape, the ultimate symbol and ritual of reconciliation.
Many supportive people have worked hard to have this sacred place restored, re-naturalized, and preserved as the sacred place it is. At one time this support also included the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa. Despite this, and within the context of the Liberal government's rhetoric of "reconciliation" corporate power and the economic paradigm are moving forward with the continued onslaught of Indigenous rights and Indigenous sacred places.
Although it is said the Tsilhoqot’in decision ushered in a new paradigm of the need for Indigenous consent versus consultation, on December 15, 2017, the Government of Canada approved a series of land transfers between the National Capital Commission, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Windmill Dream Zibi for lands on the islands. This Crown land transfer happened without the consent of the larger Algonquin Nation, which includes the status and the non-status in both of the provinces living in Quebec and Ontario.
Regardless of this lack of Algonquin consent, as of February 5th, 2018 the Ontario Land Registry identifies Windmill Dream Zibi Ontario Inc. as owners of parcels of land on Chaudière Island and Albert Island.
What makes this worse is the City of Ottawa is currently in the process of constructing nine kilometres of parkland along the Ottawa River that they will name “The Sir John A. Macdonald Riverfront Park”. Why can’t Ottawa be as smart as Halifax?
Inspired by Dalhousie student and ally to Indigenous people Masuma Khan; it is my thought that, “Reconciliation can kiss my ass!”
Lynn Gehl, Ph.D. is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. In 2017 she won an Ontario Court of Appeal case on sex discrimination in The Indian Act, and is an outspoken critic of the Algonquin land claims process. Recently she published Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit. You can reach her through, and see more of her work, at www.lynngehl.com