My old friend and teacher, Grandfather William Commanda, Ojigkwnong, now age 95, will soon have another vital meeting with officials of the Canadian Government concerning his vision for Victoria Island (Asinabka).
Like the other key visions which have punctuated Grandfather’s life, the vision for an international healing center at Victoria Island has profound global importance.
Victoria Island is a jewel of nature, strategically located in the middle of the river that runs through downtown Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, under the shadow of Parliament Hill, where the government of Canada meets. For countless centuries, Victoria Island was a traditional spiritual meeting ground for the Algonquin peoples.
Grandfather envisions returning the island to its spiritual purpose by establishing an inclusive City Park, a Historic Interpretative Site, and International Peace Center at the Sacred Site of Asinabka -Chaudière Falls. The center would host programs and processes for individual, group, and planetary healing, development and peace.
Grandfather Commanda is the senior Algonquin Elder in this territory. Since 1970, he has been the Keeper of three sacred wampum belts of spiritual and historic importance: the Seven Fires Prophecy Belt, the 1701 Friendship Belt and the Jay Treaty Border Crossing Belt.
I first met Grandfather in 1989 when I interviewed him for my book, Profiles in Wisdom: Native Elders Speak About the Earth. We then became closer friends in the mid-1990s as we participated in a prophetic and historic walk from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific – The Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth (Odyssey of the 8th Fire).
Over the decades, Grandfather has earned wide international respect as a visionary and healer. Most recently – May, 2009 – he was honored by being invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada. The Order of Canada is the centerpiece of Canada’s honors system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.
Grandfather and his friends have been working for over ten years to develop the vision for Victoria Island, and now, in 2009, they feel the time is right to take another big step forward.
Many people and groups – Algonquin and non-Algonquin, from Canada, the U.S.A. and a host of other nations — have written to the Canadian Prime Minister, and other government officials, seeking to have this vision realized. More letters and expressions of support are needed and welcome now.
Victoria Island served as an important sacred ceremonial place for the original peoples of the land. It seems the land has been waiting for the ancient communal fires to be re-kindled..
With Grandfather Commanda’s vision to build a peace and healing center, comes an opportunity to cleanse and reawaken the land, to ignite the fires for a circle of all nations, and to help spark a culture of peace. Meegwich.