January 30, 2011
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Walden Parking Lot, Beaver Pond Forest
Call to Action:
According to Indigenous People's Solidarity Movement Ottawa's press release on January 24, 2010, Amikwabe Passes Flame to Community to Continue Sacred Fire.
With the blessing of local Algonquin Chiefs, the Sacred Fire at the threatened Beaver Pond Forest continues. In a ceremony Sunday afternoon, Algonquin Medicine Man Ron "Big Bear" Goddard transferred firekeeping duties to members of the community, to take over from Algonquin Daniel Bernard "Amikwabe". Bernard started the fire January 19 and maintained it day and night, in response to a declaration by Algonquin Elder William Commanda that the forest is sacred.
Christopher Busby was named as the new firekeeper. He and other community members will share the duties of maintaining the Sacred Fire, and welcome those who wish to gather at the fire to offer prayers for the trees and wildlife of the Beaver Pond Forest and all of the South March Highlands.
"We all sit at the Medicine Wheel and are all children of the same mother," explains Chief Mireille Lapointe of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. "We all are responsible for our home and helping each other live a good life. This is part of the Original Instructions. The sacred fire brings us together and encourages discussions and synergies that otherwise wouldn't happen. I'm deeply grateful to Daniel for his sacrifice and his example to us."
The forests near the Beaver Pond have become a rallying point for nearby residents and supporters from across Ottawa and beyond, who have campaigned steadily for the past year to protect the forests and wetlands threatened by urban expansion. Trees have already been clear-cut for the Terry Fox Drive Extension and on Richardson Ridge, and KNL Developments recently received City approval to begin clear-cutting for a subdivision of more than 3000 homes on the lands north of the Beaver Pond.
Paul Renaud, who is at the forefront of the campaign to protect the South March Highlands and his himself Metis, notes that "the continuation of the Sacred Fire by the local community expresses the unity of purpose of all communities in protecting the forest. The Sacred Fire symbolizes the Great Circle of Life of which we are all a part."
"Daniel Amikwabe Bernard and Chief Mireille Lapointe have entrusted me with making sure the flames continue as a prayer to the Creator to protect this irreplaceable forest in urban Ottawa," says Christopher Busby. "I and many others will attend this fire round the clock until we are told the fire can be put out. This fire has rallied the Native and non-native communities in an unprecedented way. There is great power in these flames."
Goddard, who is with the InterTribal Medicine Council, is training the fire keepers and will be overseeing the fire."
For background information, let me direct my readers to this wonderful rabble.ca article that explains the situation in better detail than I ever could. I direct you all to: The fight to save Ottawa's Beaver Pond Forest from developers
You can watch the accompanying rabbleTV video here: "Algonquin Daniel Bernard 'Amikwabe' set up a camp to keep a Sacred Fire burning round the clock next to the entrance of the Beaver Pond forest in Kanata. This is a personal initiative "to denounce the massacre of the wildlife and this sacred forest" in response to a declaration by Algonquin Elder William Commanda that the forest is sacred."
To help protect the land
To help protect the South March Highlands, please send your emails to:
Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Culture, [email protected]
Peter Evans, Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister for Culture, [email protected]
Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, [email protected]
Gordon O'Connor, Federal Cabinet Minister and MP for Kanata, [email protected]
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