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NEWS: Council supports Mohawk and Algonquin opposition to Beaver Pond destruction

Photo courtesy of Ben Powless, Defenders of the Land

Danny Beaton and Daniel Amikwabe Bernard in front of the Ontario Legislature. Photo courtesy of Ben Powless, Defenders of the Land. reports this hour that, “Several dozen First Nations people sang songs and beat drums at the Ontario legislature on Sunday to protest the clear-cutting of trees on Algonquin lands in Ottawa. Members of the Mohawk and Algonquin First Nations have been at the legislature day and night to tend a sacred fire that has been burning there since Feb. 9. They are urging Premier Dalton McGuinty and Ontario Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan to step in and halt the development that threatens to destroy the South March Highlands.”

“Danny Beaton, a member of the Mohawk Turtle Clan, says the highlands is a designated sacred place where the Algonquin go to strengthen their relationship with mother nature. …Beaton and Daniel Bernard of the Algonquin Amikwabe clan lit the fire together and have braved some of the season’s coldest nights to keep the flames alive. …Bernard says lawyers in Ottawa are refusing to acknowledge the archaeological value of the area, which he says was once the Champlain Sea, a temporary inlet created by retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age.”

“Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Council of Canadians chairman Maude Barlow have pledged their support, said Beaton. ‘If all of Canada knew what was going on in this sacred place and that this disrespect was happening, I’m sure there would be a public outcry,’ he said.”

Barlow sent this message of support: “I am sorry I could not be with you in person today because I remember well the power and unity that the sacred fire brought to us at Site 41. That unity between First Nations people, farmers, cottagers and activists was key to the victory there. I have seen great leadership from Indigenous peoples around the world and the tremendous power and courage that comes when activists and First Nations work together. A few months ago, I was part of a small group of people who met to discuss creating a campaign for the Great Lakes to be protected as a Commons. Bob Lovelace was there and he spoke of the importance of understanding that each of us has an indigenous relationship to the Earth. When we embrace that we find peace and strength. The traditions and history of First Nations play an important role in our current understanding of the Commons and I honour that contribution. Our water campaigner Emma Lui attended the lighting of the Sacred Fire at Beaver Pond a few weeks ago. We have asked our members to join us in supporting the call for the protection of Ottawa’s Great Forest and respecting the sacred lands there. Thank you to Danny Beaton and all the firekeepers who have spent long nights tending the Sacred Fire. May it burn forever in our hearts and minds.”

The Council of Canadians ‘ACTION ALERT: Tell the provincial government to save Beaver Pond’ is at

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