Please come by the Sacred Fire that is burning 24/7 at Queen’s Park to save the Beaver Pond forest (near Ottawa, see below). The fire was lit Wednesday and will continue until Sunday with closing ceremonies starting at 10:30 am, with drumming, prayers, and singing, a message from Grandfather William Commanda, and from other First Nations elders and chiefs. Everyone is invited to join with us regardless of religion, race, or culture. Please drop by any time to say hello and check out the closing ceremonies.
Statement posted at request of the Chiefs: Algonquin Chiefs Statement re proposed development in the South March Highlands (Beaver Pond Forest)
You can sign the petition here.
Also, a special song has been composed for the South Marsh Highlands, please see here for more details and lyrics. Check here for a video of demonstrators singing “Who Speaks for the forest – the Beaver Pond song”
With the rising of the morning sun on February 8, 2011, activists held what could be described as a ceremony of protection for the Beaver Pond Forest as they encircled the cutting machines that have been tearing into the South Marsh Highlands to protect the land from developers; and in turn, protecting we two-legged (humans) from having to commit such destruction.
To protect the Beaver Pond Forest, there have been prayers and Sacred Fires, attempts to lobby Ottawa city council and attempts to purchase the land. Direct action is the latest tactic used in a long line of attempts to save the forest in Kanata, Ontario — Algonquin Territory.
After two hours of holding their ground on February 8, 2011, the activists left with threats of trespassing charges lingering behind them. The activists said goodbye to the trees and the trees said goodbye to the activists, but these goodbyes are temporary as activists have committed body and spirit to protect this land. KNL Developments has already cut down a few small tress at the site.
Similar direct actions have been taken, including on February 2, 2011, when two Algonquin Warriors — Dan Bernard and Robert Lovelace — chained themselves to trees early that morning.
A Sacred Fire has been burning at the Beaver Pond site.
A solidarity Sacred Fire is currently burning at Queen’s Park day and night until noon Sunday in front of the Provincial Legislature at Queen’s Park. This is an unprecedented recognition of Aboriginal religious practices by the Provincial Legislature. Please bring wood, tobacco and a coffee to share if you can. The Fire is being kept 24/7 so take a few minutes to drop by and share your support.
The Sacred Fire is an altar for prayer and visitors are invited to approach respectfully and spend time with the Fire Keeper (Algonquin Fire Keeper Dan Bernard and his assistants) to learn more about the South March Highlands and to discuss our relationship with Mother Earth.
The determination of activists is without a doubt. All this potential destruction, the sacrifice of wildlife for our needs, for the sake of a subdivision.
It is this human encroachment that threatens to break the sacred hoop of respect between First Nations people and the land.
Supporter Paul Renaud said, “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.”
“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 [Bernard] for his sacrifice and his example to us.”
The South March Highlands is one of the most bio-diverse areas remaining in urban Canada, with more than 675 different species of life, including 240 species of wildlife and over 134 different types of nesting birds.
In the 1970s, it was protected as a Natural Environmental Area but urban development has steadily eroded it until less than one-third remains protected. Citizens have actively opposed development since 1981 because the South March Highlands is an old-growth forest having the densest bio-diversity in Ottawa and provides critical habitat for 20 species at risk.
In the latest assault on the forest, KNL Developments recently began clear-cutting trees for a subdivision in an area known locally as the Beaver Pond Forest, even though development depends on planned water diversions without Environmental Assessment and a questionable archaeological study.
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]