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Posts Tagged ‘Algonquin’

As the feather falls, my heart falls. The pain and sorrow of Algonquin Grandmother Louise Wawatie and her brother Joseph, in a video of them just released from prison, radiates off the screen. They were imprisoned for 8 days, and the Land they stood up for has been logged in the meantime.

While I suppose it is fitting they were released on International Day for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the fact they were arrested at all and held for so long is proof Canada has a long way to go when it comes to respecting Indigenous Rights.

Louise and Joseph were arrested on charges of mischief and breaking an injunction forbidding them from protesting the clear-cut logging by Resolute Forestry Products near Lac Poigan. They both refused conditions of bail, asserting their sovereign rights over their unceded territory where Resolute continues to clear-cut. The sister and brother were held in Maniwaki, Quebec, until this morning when they appeared in court and were released. The video of Joseph explaining the conditions of his release means he can’t even go home, and of Louise dropping the feathers, were shot outside the courthouse.

Louise’s brother, Jacob (Mowegan) Wawatie explains that “the meaning of the feathers falling is: Who is going to stand up for the collective nation that walks upon Mother Earth? This Grandmother is calling to all Nations to stand for the future generations. It is for the world of the future and may the youth of this world voice their own destiny.”

While our hearts sink to see Elders treated with disrespect, and to see beautiful Land destroyed, this is a call to action, not to wallow in despair. The feathers must be picked up, and we must fly together to a future where we live in harmony with the rest of Creation, a future where we can each flourish.

Will you answer this call and stand up for future generations? One small but important step: share the video and Louise’s message, far and wide.

Keep Shining,

Julie

Note: see this post for more background, and a video illustrating why they sought to protect this Land.

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In the bright Sunday sun in Strathcona park, Jacob (Mowegan) Wawatie draws maps of Algonquin territory, of his family’s territory, as rivers that branch off a main artery, just like the veins of a leaf branch from its stem. This is the land he is fighting to protect, for his family and for future generations.

Huddled in a circle on parched grass under the shade of huge Oak, we have just watched the video from the July 26 confrontation on the logging site near Poigan Lake, on unceded Algonquin land, on Jacob’s land. Mr. Dion (representing PF Resolute, a logging company from Montreal, Québec) and Sergeant St-Louis from the Sureté du Quebec, confronted the people protecting the wildlife and culture being destroyed and displaced by the company’s logging. Although the police officer claims to not take sides, it is clear in the video he is standing with the people from the PF Resolute company and mediating on their behalf, though paid by peoples’ taxes.

Eight minutes into the video, Jacob brings forward the baby hawk he found in one of the clear-cut areas: “This is the reason. How many nests have you knocked down this summer? Did you even consider that? How many other creatures have you dislodged from this territory? So what are we going to have to eat? What are we going to have to show to our children? This is why we were trying to do something about it. Its not because we are against the system. Its not because we are against your logging. We are trying to make you aware of this thing. To bring it into the consciousness of the Forestry Industry. And the government. And you that represent Justice [speaking to the Sergeant], supposedly. Now you understand our position. You see our goal. Our dream.”

Jacob told the loggers’ representative (who refused to go get his workers to see and hear Jacob in person) that they were not seeing these things, the terrible impact they are having on the Land. Insulated within their giant machines, or deafened by their chainsaws, they work on the land but are hardly more grounded in the land than the average corporate employee under fluorescent lights in a cubicle.

Jacob spoke to them, but his message in the video is for all of us who have lost our connection to the Land.

He and many others who still understand and thrive from the vitality only Nature can give are calling us to our true selves. To be human beings who are grounded in and grateful to the Land, grateful to all the other beings we share her with. Each animal and plant species is a unique expression of the energy that animates us all. Each species has a unique way of being in the world.

When we let ourselves see them, truly connect with them, feel what it might be like to be them, we open up the doors of our own perception. Can you imagine what it would be like to fly? To senses things through electricity? See through sound or with heat? Breathe water?

Will we truly SEE beyond our collective materialism and indifference? See the people and wildlife who are still connected to the Land? We may forget in our Cities, but we still depend on Nature for our life.

The baby hawk could not survive without her parents. She was named Mamwi for “Together”. Here is your chance to come together to defend this one part of the Land, part of the larger goal of shifting our relationship with Nature so that we can all flourish on this one precious Earth. Please share the video: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsimtg_mamwi-unedited-uncut-version_news

Keep Shining,

Julie

UPDATE, 9 August: Louise and Joseph were released after 8 days of imprisonment.

2 August: Please SIGN & SHARE this petition to free Louise and Joseph Wawatie: http://www.avaaz.org/fr/petition/Free_Louise_and_Joseph_Wawatie_without_conditions/?cKQhPab

1 August 2012: Sureté de Québec arrested Elders who were standing for the Land. Grandmother Louise Wawatie and Joseph Wawatie were arrested this morning.

I will keep updating this blog post when we know ways you can support Jacob and everyone protecting the Land. Meanwhile, PLEASE SHARE the petition and the video, and you can see more shorter videos over several days at the Standoff here: http://www.youtube.com/user/CDurare. For Jacob’s speech alone, see http://youtu.be/r5TuHM9AE2w

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The snow fell steadily as we assembled, Ogui duct-taping posts to the beautiful signs Stefan had created for our rally.   As I tried (unsuccessfully) to figure out how to use the megaphone, a SUV pulled up and I spotted Grandfather William Commanda and his assistant, Romola.  I raced over to greet them.  We had not known if 97 year old Grandfather Commanda would be up for the journey over to join us.

Once people had their signs, we formed a circle, with Grandfather able to stay seated in the vehicle.  Elder Albert Dumont gave a beautiful opening Blessing for our rally and march, reminding us to be mindful with every step we took that it was a step to help save the Forest.  Paul Renaud then gave an impassioned speech, challenging the City of Ottawa to do the right thing and demand a new Archeological Assessment, which would halt destruction of the Forest until spring.

Then Grandfather Commanda prayed for the land (in three languages) and offered tobacco.   Those of us who have worked together to save the Beaver Pond Forest over these months (and for some, these decades), were moved and grateful.   In a letter to City Council, the Premiere, and others, Grandfather wrote that the Beaver Pond Forest is “[a] living temple, a place of Manitou, a special place of nature, and that precious reality also demands immediate protection and reverence.”

As the protesters marched off, all the more eager due to the cold, I went to thank Grandfather.  He held my hand and spoke to me mostly in French, at first it was difficult to hear his words due to the good-natured clamour of those marching to the Urbandale Sales office.   As it became quiet, only a few of us with Grandfather,  I could hear his words.  But his message went beyond words.  It was about living a good life.  More than anything, I felt it was validating my efforts, and it inspires me to continue to put my energy into helping nurture a sense of interconnectedness with each other, the land, and other species.

After Romola gently reminded him a few times that I was the Rally’s emcee, he finally released my hand, and they gave me a lift to join the rest of the group.  But I would have happily listened to him for the rest of the day.

Many more powerful words, drumbeats, and songs were shared at the Urbandale Sales Office.  The crowd was eager to keep fighting,

Elder Albert Dumont at the 8 Jan 2011 rally

to keep our candle of hope burning bright for this Land.   We each know Beaver Pond Forest has a powerful and beautiful energy that fuels and inspires our efforts to save it.

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GOAL
This is a rally to invite Urbandale/KNL to halt all cutting and blasting of the Beaver Pond Forest at least until spring. This is for ecological, archaeological, cultural and humane reasons. The City could halt development based on new evidence that the archaeological assessment needs to be redone. But the City refuses to put its foot down. The City isn’t taking responsibility. The province isn’t taking responsibility. The NCC isn’t taking responsibility. So we are going directly to the company that owns the land. We need to convince them it is better for everyone that they spare the most ecologically sensitive part of Ottawa. We need to prove it is more profitable to do the right thing.

PLAN
– Assemble in public parking lot next to All Saints High School at 1pm (5115 Kanata Avenue)
– Bring your own signs, we also have dozens made, including some which will be used in a subsequent Activist Art show
– March to Urbandale Sales Office (503 Remnor Avenue, half block away)
– Be loud, but musically (bring instruments & noisemakers!)
– Main Message to Urbandale: Do the Right Thing or Lose our Business

MORE INFO

FB: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=169031313140224

Google map link: http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=45.322173%2C-75.927628&spn=0.004813%2C0.013797&z=16

song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZBcLvtcJBY

on the Forest: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/
http://www.southmarchhighlands.ca/
Details on inadequate environmental assessment & storm waster management plans: http://renaud.ca/wordpress
community voices:http://the5thc.blogspot.com/
Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Do-Not-Cut-Beaver-Pond-Forest-or-SMH/

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