Dear Canada: Will you recognize Algonquin land rights before your 150th birthday next year?
The Chaudière Falls and Islands have been the great Indigenous sacred and peaceful meeting place since time immemorial. From the archaeological record, it is at least 5,000 years. This predates the Great Pyramid at Giza and Stonehenge. After colonial powers stepped ashore here, Samuel de Champlain observed Algonquin people making tobacco offerings in ceremony to the Falls when he travelled upriver in 1613.
Although the Chaudière Falls and Islands are in Algonquin territory, the area was considered a neutral place where anyone could meet. People would come from huge distances. They would camp on the riverbank where the Canadian Museum of History is now, leave their weapons behind, and canoe to the Islands to gather in peace. It was a place of communications and governance. Enemies met here. It is a place without war, which may be unique in this world. This use ended with European settlement and industry, which represent just a recent moment in time.
Please read the rest of my OpEd in the attached PDF which contains a number of photos, paintings and sketches of the Chaudière Falls.