Diverse panelists unite against Zibi development

Diverse panelists unite against Zibi development
Posted on June 8, 2016 | Freeing Chaudière Falls and its Islands | Written on June 8, 2016
Letter type:

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Activists who support an Algonquin vision for the islands and Chaudiere Falls in the Ottawa River will speak in support of that vision at a public event Weds. June 8 in Ottawa.

Tonight's panel discussion on the Zibi development project will bring together speakers representing diverse backgrounds and experiences who all share a common understanding that a condo development at the sacred Chaudiere Falls site needs to be stopped.

WHAT: Public Meeting: Reconciliation Needs Justice - Stop Windmill's 'Zibi' Condos on Sacred Algonquin Land

WHEN: Wednesday, June 8, 7:00pm

WHERE: Ottawa Public Library, Main Branch, 120 Metcalfe St

WHO: The speakers are Algonquin Elder Albert Dumont, former Ottawa city councilor Clive Doucet, and Stop Windmill group co-founder Cathy Remus.

Albert Dumont, of the Kitigan Zibi Algonquin, is widely respected for his work as a spiritual advisor, writer, artist and poet, and community activist.

Clive Doucet is a former city councillor and leading voice against development company dominance at city hall - especially on the widely-seen-as-flawed process that put public lands at Lansdowne Park into the hands of private, commercial interests.

Cathy Remus is a long-time labour activist and educator who helped form the group Labour and Student Allies for Akikodjiwan (short form: Stop Windmill) that is hosting this panel discussion.  Akikodjiwan is an Algonquin name for the sacred site at Chaudiere Falls.

This event is being held in support of the upcoming June 17 walk and  ceremony led by Algonquin Elders to honour and protect the sacred site.

What is at stake here is clearly articulated in a recent op-ed by Maurice Switzer, the first Indigenous publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada.

"The Zibi Project ... will be a litmus test for the marching orders [about the relationship with Indigenous Peoples] the new prime minister issued his cabinet after the Oct. 19 election," writes Switzer, referencing the duty for consultation and consent found in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Constitution.

"The mayors of Ottawa, Gatineau and the CEO of the National Capital Commission," Switzer writes, "would do well to reconsider their roles to-date in the Zibi Project."

Stop Windmill member Brian McDougall states, "Justin Trudeau and Indigenous Affairs minister Carolyn Bennett need to act on their public declarations of support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Only one of the ten Algonquin Chiefs has agreed to this 'Zibi' development, while the others - backed by the Assembly of First Nations - have called for the federal government to return this sacred site to the Algonquin."