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The Legacy Vision of William Commanda for The Sacred Chaudiere Site and The Indigenous Centre at Victoria Island

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info@asinabka.com

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PROPOSAL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF A SPECIAL NATIONAL HISTORIC CENTRE
AT THE SACRED CHAUDIÈRE FALLS, OTTAWA, CANADA

Elder William Commanda’s 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.

The 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 Nation’s Capital
.

BACKGROUND

Since 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.

THE ACTIVITY

Dr. Commanda’s 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

DETAILS

1. It is a vision of potentially significant international influence for symbolic reconciliation
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 centre to
commemorate the history of settlement – pre and post contact: ceremony, ancient trade routes,
exchange of goods, logging, hydro electric power, industrial development, inventions etc.

2. Consistent with the ancient history as meeting place, and current need for creative meeting
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 cross-cultural exchange
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.

3. Finally, 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 Peoples
remains a beautiful natural and national treasure waiting to be recognized and honoured.

6. Elder Commanda’s 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.

TIMEFRAME

The timing is propitious for the bestowing a lasting national and indeed international legacy
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.

ACTION REQUESTED

Widespread endorsement of this fully inclusive proposal through the establishment of a multi
disciplinary task force to develop the implementation plan for the Sacred Site. Send your message of support to pm@pm.gc.ca and circleofallnations@sympatico.ca or info@asinabka.com.

THE CENTRAL TWO-FOLD VISION

CIRCLE OF NATIONS
SPIRITUAL HEALING CENTRE TO UNIFY AND STRENGTHEN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

PEACE BUILDING CENTRE FOR ALL NATIONS, TO SHARE THE VALUES AND IDEOLOGY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Spiritual/Ceremonial Centre

Peace building 'Think Tank'

Cultural Revival - Arts, Crafts

Cultural Sharing

Language Centre

Racial Harmony

Elders' Gathering Place

Meeting Rooms

Healing Centre/Meeting Centre

Conference Centre

Archives/Library/Historic Research

Auditorium/Concert Hall

Medicines/Gardens/Greenhouse

Accommodations

Traditional Knowledge/Ideology

United Nations Meeting Space

Youth Developmental Centre

Restaurant/Gift Store

Children's Developmental Centre

Museum/Gallery

Research/Planning/Education

Children's/Youth Museum

SUMMARY OF VISION FOR THE ASINABKA NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CENTRE


ASINABKA PROPOSAL FOR NATIONAL ABORIGINAL CENTRE

ASINABKA BROCHURE


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