OTTAWA, June 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Participants in a June 17th demonstration against a proposed commercial development on sacred Indigenous sites near Parliament Hill say if the project was ever built it would be "a monument to broken promises".
That's how Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg characterized Windmill Development's plan to pave over Chaudière and Albert Islands in the Ottawa River with a high rise build of 1300 condominiums and 300,000 square feet of commercial space.
Dumont says the project betrays municipal commitments to the late Algonquin Elder William Commanda, contradicts Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge to reconcile relationships with First Peoples, and breaches the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Algonquin Elder Jane Chartrand says sacred lands are not for sale.
"This is exactly why reconciliation is so badly needed in this country," she said. "The prime minister of Canada says the federal government is committed to restoring the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, in accordance with recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the principle of free, prior, and informed consent provisions of the UN Declaration.
"Meanwhile officials in the national capital region are barging ahead on this project as if they had no idea that they are sitting on unceded Algonquin land. In effect, everyone in Ottawa – including Members of Parliament – are tenants who have not paid their rent! This is sacred land which deserves our respect"
The 'It is Sacred Walk' begins at 10 am Friday, June 17th at Victoria Island, proceeding to Parliament Hill for speeches at noon. Its purpose is to state that the Asinabka – Akikodjiwan site is indeed sacred. The Federal government is expected to halt all development immediately and declare it sacred and protected.
The Algonquin Elders extend an open invitation to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his family and to all members of parliament and their families to walk with Indigenous peoples in respect, on unceded Algonquin territory.