The Legacy Vision of William Commanda for The Sacred Chaudiere Site and The Indigenous Centre at Victoria Island
The Vision for Asinabka:
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FOR DEVELOPMENT OF A SPECIAL NATIONAL HISTORIC CENTRE
AT THE SACRED CHAUDIÈRE FALLS, OTTAWA, CANADA
Elder William Commandas
vision for the development of a healing and peace building centre
on the traditional spiritual meeting grounds of the Anicinabe people,
with the lands to be held in trust by Algonquin elders.
vision calls for a fully inclusive City Park, Historic Interpretative
Site, Conference Centre and
Aboriginal Centre at the Sacred Site of Asinabka/Chaudière
Falls, Chaudière and Victoria Islands,
within the Nations Capital.
the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in this area in 1613, the area
around the Chaudière Falls
has been acknowledged as a sacred meeting place of great importance
to indigenous peoples,
having been used as such for easily five thousand years. Indeed,
it is one of the earliest sites of
human occupation in this country. Later, it served as a significant
meeting place with the earliest
settlers, the French and the English. Today the world finds a home
on its shores.
This special area holds singular sacred, archaeological and historic
value, and has been the site of
cultural convergence, political evolution, and internationally influential
industrial development and
innovation over the past centuries.
The Ottawa River Heritage Designation History celebrates this remarkable
heritage of the
watershed, and the heart of the story lies here in Ottawa/Hull,
at the meeting place of three rivers,
with the mighty Ottawa, the heritage river of the Algonquins, connecting
with the Gatineau from
the Province of Quebec and the Rideau from the Province of Ontario.
Elder William Commanda, a trilingual 93 year old Algonquin from
Quebec, honoured by
the University of Ottawa with the presentation of an Honorary Doctorate
Degree, and in June
2006, presented with the Key to the City of Ottawa, a remarkable,
internationally recognized man
with a passionate interest in the environment, this country and
all its citizens, and founder of the
Circle of All Nations, holds a broad vision for the entire area
focused on two themes that
predominate in his work: Respect for the Mother Earth and Racial
Harmony and Peace-building.
Today, the environmental crisis and war are our greatest national
preoccupations and challenges.
Commandas bold four-fold vision calls for
1) Freeing the Chaudière Falls,
2) Creating a City Park and Historic Interpretive Centre
3) Building a Peace Building Meeting Site, and
4) Building an Aboriginal Centre
1. It is a vision
of potentially significant international influence for symbolic
with Nature, both water and land, by undamming the sacred Chaudière
Falls to the extent
possible, and returning it to its former magnificence; planting
the Chaudière Island with trees and
creating an educational eco-city park in the heart of the country,
expressive of both of its history,
and its future, offering a modern day reclaimed green sanctuary
and pow wow grounds to offset
concrete urban sprawl; it also calls for developing a historic interpretative
commemorate the history of settlement pre and post contact:
ceremony, ancient trade routes,
exchange of goods, logging, hydro electric power, industrial development,
with the ancient history as meeting place, and current need for
spaces designed to serve as collaborative think tanks for reflective
contemplation on global and
local issues during this UN Decade for Culture of Peace, for international
and training, the remaining portion of the vision calls for a Tipi
Village pod-style conference hotel
on the western portion of Victoria Island, fully accessible within
the core area of the capital city.
for almost four decades, the Eastern portion of Victoria Island
has been designated
the site for an Aboriginal Centre; over the past eight years, Elder
Commanda has worked to
develop a vision for the Centre; Aboriginal Architect Douglas Cardinal,
with support from
Canadian Heritage, developed the conceptual architectural plans
to the Level B; Elder Commanda
negotiated a draft Memorandum to Cabinet with a consultant for the
National Capital Commission,
and at the Circle of All Nations International Gathering of August
2006, the NCC expressed full
support for this proposal.
4. The entire
site will be a great attraction for Aboriginal peoples, citizens
of the cities of
Ottawa and Gatineau, the country at large, children, new Canadians
and international tourists.
5. Though damaged
over the years, the sacred Chaudière site of the Algonquin
remains a beautiful natural and national treasure waiting to be
recognized and honoured.
6. Elder Commandas
vision also offers a unique opportunity to Correct Mistakes of History
and Look Towards the Future.
7. It is recognized
that this work spans many federal departments, jurisdictions and
responsibility centres. It needs a collective and collaborative
national will and leadership to create
the momentum for its successful realization.
The timing is
propitious for the bestowing a lasting national and indeed international
commemorative of the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace, in anticipation
of two key dates: 2010,
when the world comes to Canada for the Olympics, and 4 June, 2013,
the four hundredth year
anniversary of the arrival of Champlain in this area (June being
also the time Heritage Rivers Day
is celebrated). UPDATE: Now projected for 2017.
of this fully inclusive proposal through the establishment of a
disciplinary task force to develop the implementation plan for the
Sacred Site. Send your message of support to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CENTRAL TWO-FOLD VISION
HEALING CENTRE TO UNIFY AND STRENGTHEN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
BUILDING CENTRE FOR ALL NATIONS, TO SHARE THE VALUES AND
IDEOLOGY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Peace building 'Think Tank'
Cultural Revival - Arts, Crafts
Elders' Gathering Place
Healing Centre/Meeting Centre
United Nations Meeting Space
Youth Developmental Centre
Children's Developmental Centre
SUMMARY OF VISION FOR THE ASINABKA NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CENTRE
PREVIEW THE NEW BILLBOARDS FOR VICTORIA ISLAND
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