Chief of Kitigan Zibi supports protection of Algonquin sacred waterfall site, Akikodjiwan
November 25, 2015
The chief of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Jean Guy Whiteduck, has seconded a resolution passed by the Assembly of First Nations-Quebec Labrador (AFN-QL) on November 19 that opposes the so-called Zibi condo project slated to be built on sacred, unceded Algonquin territory.
Full text of the resolution (PDF will load) (French PDF here) passed by the AFN-QL puts the weight of 43 First Nations chiefs in Quebec and Labrador behind Algonquin chiefs who have articulated three demands and issued a public call for support in recent months.
The AFN-QL’s resolution was introduced by Chief Harry St. Denis of Wolf Lake First Nation and seconded by Chief Jean Guy Whiteduck of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. This is the not the first time a leader from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has opposed the $1.2 billion proposed condo project.
In February 2015, former chief of Kitigan Zibi, Gilbert Whiteduck, who had just resigned as chief, called the use of Zibi as a name for the proposed condo development by corporate giant Dream Unlimted Corp. and Ottawa-based Windmill Development Group, “an appropriation of our Anishinaabeg language.”
He was quoted then in a newspaper article:
“I have now concluded it is not something I would be prepared to support,” he said.
“I weighed what would be best: condo buildings that would be sticking out of a very unique, significant, historical and spiritual place for the Algonquins, or would we be better served to have this wonderful location a natural place to be shared with all Canadians and with people around the world.”
Whiteduck called plans for the development a “missed opportunity for Canada.” He said he would like to see it returned to its natural state, under the stewardship of First Nations.
The AFN-QL has sent its recent resolution to officials in the governments of Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Ottawa, Gatineau, and to the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Windmill Development Group.
The resolution decries
- the “lack of free, prior and informed consent of the Algonquin Nation”–something the NCC said was a condition of its support for the proposed condo project earlier this year.
- the historic and continued exploitation of hydro power from Chaudiere Falls, which has been dammed since 1908, and
- “re-zoning of the sacred area Akikodjiwan (Gatineau waterfront in Quebec and Chaudiere, Albert and Victoria islands in Ontario) from parks and open space to mixed use due to the failure to consult and accommodate the Algonquin communities who form the Algonquin Nation.”
While the Ontario Municipal Board has recently announced its refusal to hear five appeals to the Ontario rezoning, a suit filed in Ontario Superior Court in October 2015 challenges the OMB chair’s impartiality and demands that constitutional arguments he refused to entertain during the OMB’s pre-hearings be grounds for a new hearing. That case is due to be heard in February 2016.