Press notice for Vision of the Sacred Islands: Nov. 2 event at Victoria Island

November 1, 2015




The Vision of the Sacred Islands: Our Heritage for over 10,000 years
– As explained by Evelyn Commanda, Douglas Cardinal, and John Ralston Saul.

Elder Evelyn Commanda, Architect Douglas Cardinal and writer John Ralston Saul come together to endorse the creation of a sacred meeting place at Chaudière Falls and the adjacent islands in Ottawa.

Algonquin Elder Evelyn Commanda, daughter of Grandfather William Commanda together with Anishinabe Architect Douglas Cardinal will unite with John Ralston Saul at a Press Conference at 13:00 hrs. on Monday, November 02 to outline their plans to stop the damage being done in the Sacred Islands and seek support from all levels of government for the creation of a center for the expression of peace, hope and reconciliation for all humanity, and a celebration of Anishinabeg contributions to the world.

Evelyn has been the keeper of her father’s vision for Akikodjiwan as the place for Indigenous Stewardship and management of Chaudière Falls and the Sacred Islands in the Ottawa River. It is a vision that since 1984 Cardinal has tenaciously worked to bring to reality because this vision is also shared by his own Anishinabeg teachers and elders in western Canada. Saul, who until last week was International President of PEN International, says he believes in the vision conceived by Algonquin spiritual leader Elder William Commanda before his death in 2011, which is threatened by a “massive property speculation being used to deform the rights and dreams of Aboriginal peoples”.

The Event will be taking place at 13:00 hrs. on Monday November 2nd, 2015 at Victoria Island.

For more information, or to schedule a one-on-one interview, please contact:
Name: Anthony Di Virgilio
Phone: 613-440-2262
Email Address:


Background information:

Evelyn Commanda:

Evelyn Commanda is an Algonquin Grandmother from Kitigan Zibi. She is an educator that has dedicated her life to support the better understanding of indigenous peoples and the contribution of the Anishinabe culture to everyone in Canada. She is the Keeper of the three prophetic Sacred Wampum Belts and she is now ardently dedicated to the fulfilling of the vision of her Father, Elder Grandfather William Commanda, Officer of the Order of Canada, as an activist working to oppose plans to build condominiums on the sacred Algonquin lands surrounding Chaudière Falls.

Douglas Cardinal:

Douglas Cardinal is an Anishinabe (Metis and Blackfoot) Elder, and an internationally celebrated architect. He is the architect of the Canadian Museum of History and the National Museum of the American Indian and he also designed the UN Awarded Cree community Ouje-Bougamou. This Master of Contemporary Architecture is an officer of the Order of Canada and has received many awards including the Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia. An Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Douglas Cardinal has dedicated his entire personal and professional life to preserve and foster First Nations culture and people in order to take their rightful place on their own land.

John Ralston Saul:

John Ralston Saul is not only an award winning essayist and novelist, but also a long time champion of freedom of expression. He served as President of PEN International for six years, where he campaigned to save endangered languages and cultures for the betterment of humanity. In his 2008 national bestseller, A Fair Country: Telling Truths about Canada, Saul argued that Canada is a métis nation, heavily influenced and shaped by aboriginal ideas: egalitarianism, a proper balance between the individual and groups, and a penchant for negotiation over violence. These are all Aboriginal values that Canada has absorbed. Saul’s most recent essay, The Comeback published in October 2014 attests to the growing force and influence of indigenous peoples, which is being resisted by Canada’s Government regarding Treaties and Native Issues across the land.

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