Douglas Cardinal calls “new and modern” way of stealing Indigenous land “bullshit”

Douglas Cardinal calls “new and modern” way of stealing Indigenous land “bullshit”
Posted on April 22, 2016 | Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands | Written on April 22, 2016
Letter type:

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

The 82-year old Cardinal spoke strong words in support of an Indigenous worldview that requires Canada to support calls for a sacred site on islands in the Ottawa River threatened by a condo development.

At a lecture sponsored by the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Council of Ottawa, renowned architect and Anishinaabe, Douglas Cardinal, spoke fiery words of peace to a full house April 21 at Carleton University.

The topic that held his audience spellbound was A Centre for Peace: A Vision for the Sacred Islands in the Ottawa River, which is summarized here in pictures and tweets.

One of Cardinal’s most famous Canadian buildings is the Museum of History in Gatineau. During the first Trudeau era, when he won the contract to design that masterpiece, the internationally acclaimed architect knew that federal plans for the National Capital Region included “a place for the First Peoples” at the sacred site that Algonquin Elder William Commanda called Asinabka. That site consists of 3 islands and a magnificent, sacred waterfall in the Ottawa River.

At last night’s event, Cardinal described federal and City of Ottawa commitments in support of an "embassy-like" place for First Peoples during the 1980s and 1990s. He denigrated the minister responsible for the NCC during the Harper years, John Baird, for turning the islands over to the private sector.

“And now, the new and modern way to steal land is to say that it’s following William Commanda’s vision,” he said, in reference to the Zibi condo proposal endorsed by the NCC and City of Ottawa. Both of these government bodies support Windmill Development Group and its corporate partner Dream Unlimited Corp.

“It’s all bullshit,” he said.

Cardinal urged his audience to join him in advocating for the islands to come under stewardship designed and administered by First Nations.

His legal challenge to the City of Ottawa’s rezoning is ongoing, and Cardinal says he supports the May 30  sacred walk hosted by Algonquin grandmothers from Pikwakanagan First Nation that will fill Ottawa's streets with supporters of the sacred site. The grandmothers want the federal government to declare the islands a sacred site by National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2016.