STATEMENT OF SUPPORT
Statement of Support
13 Grandmothers of Pikwakanagan
July 19, 2017
The 13 traditional grandmothers of Pikwakanagan have asserted indigenous title to the unceded territory of the Algonquins in the Ottawa River valley. This is also an assertion of indigenous title for Akikodjiwan, the islands at risk of the proposed Windmill developments of condos and commercial undertakings adjacent to the Chaudiere Falls - islands considered very sacred by the Algonquin people, as well as Anishinabe and Haudenosaunee peoples across Turtle Island.
This site has long been a place of ceremony and gathering for all indigenous people throughout the territory known as Canada. Champlain recorded the holding of a sacred tobacco ceremony at this site as early as 1613. Colonial policies and procedures dispossessed the indigenous people from this site in order to allow for loyalists to carry out industrial practices. The profane overwhelms the sacred.
The traditional Algonquin grandmothers seek to assert stewardship over this sacred site. Please indicate your support for the efforts of the traditional Algonquin grandmothers to regain this sacred site and preserve it from the continuation of apartheid colonial practices.
Akikodjiwan is the Algonquin name for the Sacred Chaudiere Falls and the adjoining Sacred Chaudiere Islands. Sacred to numerous tribes across North America, home to the Algonquins on their unceded territory – “The falls of our grand river (Ottawa River) were truly seen by the People as an altar touched by the goodness of Kichi Minido, the Great Spirit” – Albert Dumont, Algonquin Elder.
In direct opposition to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Government of Canada is allowing and encouraging a condo and commercial development to quickly privatize the land to prevent significant First Nations presence in the Nation's capital.
For years, local residents, concerned citizens, the Algonquin people, and tribes across the country have strongly opposed this development. Numerous court actions have been taken to demand that the land be returned to First Nations to give meaningful Indigenous presence in the capital while strengthening the beauty and integrity of Canada’s Confederation Boulevard. These court cases continue today, and we call upon citizens of the world to support the Elders’ vision for true Nation to Nation reconciliation in the capital through the return of Akikodjiwan to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.
On May 29th, 2015 the ‘Algonquins of Ontario’, Ontario, and Canada signed a Proposed Agreement-in-Principle (AIP). The parties state that the AIP shall form the basis of negotiations towards a Final Agreement that will clarify the rights of the Algonquins.
The thirteen Algonquin traditional grandmothers of Pikwakanagan are challenging the validity of this AIP for the following reasons:
Algonquins are nowhere defined in the AIP.
An Algonquin Negotiation Representative is defined as a representative of the Algonquins who was elected by his or her Algonquin Collective to negotiate the AIP and Final Agreement - The ‘Algonquins of Ontario’ have never been elected to negotiate an AIP or Final Agreement
The Chief and Band Council of Pikwakanagan are governed by the laws in the Indian Act, and are taking salary as a result of the Indian Act, creating a conflict of interest.
According to Algonquin laws, traditions, and customs, it is the traditional grandmothers who are the true title holders.
In an effort to gain negotiating authority, the Chief and Band Council carried out a referendum in the community despite the traditional grandmothers saying not to. In the referendum, the motion to accept the terms of the AIP was defeated by a majority vote.
The traditional grandmothers are also contemplating a motion for an Injunction to stop any development on the lands until the issue is resolved.