William Commanda was born at 8.30 am on a clear winter morning. It was an unusual morning, because the Morning Star remained shining brightly on the south side, as the Sun arose. The morning train was heading into Ottawa from Maniwaki, and it tooted its horn from the by pass in the town well into Bitobi Road, past the house built by Chief Louizon Commanda,, the infant’s paternal grandfather; this house guarded the cross road into the reserve established by another legendary ancestor, Pakinawatik. The train heralded the arrival of the second child, the first son, of Alonzo and Marie Louise Commanda.

Because the star shone so brightly, Marie Louise Cayer Commanda decided immediately to call her son Ojigkwanong. We know him variously as William Commanda, Elder, Chief, Tada, Grandfather, and Mishomis.

Some cultures say that our names carry messages about our destinies. In the book “Of Water and the Spirit - Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman”, West African writer and shaman Malidoma Patrice Some writes about the significance of a person’s name in identifying one’s purpose in life. He writes of his people, “Because the Dagara believe that each person comes into this world with a special destiny, some names are programatic. They describe the task of their bearers and constitute a constant reminder to the child of the responsibilities that are waiting ahead. A person’s life project is therefore inscribed in the name he/she carries.”

Some see the Morning Star as the offspring of the Moon and the Sun. It is a symbol of the East, bridging the Night and the Day, bringing light out of darkness. The East is seen by many as the source of knowledge. That is important. The Morning Star brings illumination, and it is that spark that gives knowledge vitality and creativity and imbues it with the potential to transform. The Morning Star also signifies beginnings, rebirth and renewal, and carries visions of possibilities and potential.

The Morning Star as a symbol of enlightenment and vision brings light into a world of darkness. Many have been touched by William Commanda’s commitment to honour his namesake, by tirelessly holding out a beacon of light and love in a world besieged by fear and darkness.

In the context of indigenous knowledge, William Commanda was born in the Frost time, at the time when the harvesting is over, when the fruits of the season of fertility are collected to sustain life through the deep sleep of winter, when Mother Earth enters the dreamtime that links the past and the present and the future, when she weaves the potential of the future from the deeds and the visions of the ancestors. It was a portentous time that also guided the Elder’s destiny.

William Commanda was born into the Squirrel Clan, and without a doubt, he is a penultimate seed planter, inspiring growth and transformation everywhere he walks. And like the squirrel, he embraces the world head first, always looking ahead as he walks up and down life’s pathways, never retreating, moving to the beat of Johnny Cash’s song, “I won’t back down”! And, yet, he will remind us with a twinkle in his eye, “There’s no meanness about us; you will find us a very tender clan!”

He was born on the eve of the First World War, on what has come to be known as Remembrance Day. A pivotal moment in world history, it seems he was born to remember the dark past, near genocide and suffering of his people and yet forge a path of light, peace and unity into the turbulent twenty first century with his vision of a Circle of All Nations.

He celebrates his eighty ninth birthday as the world sits on the brink of the third world war, and he still continues tirelessly to share his message of peace and love and forgiveness with the world. His fearlessness, perseverance, and capacity for love make him an indomitable warrior.

This web page represents an effort to share his wisdom and thoughts with his friends around the world.

Note: While Elder Commanda reviews the information in this web site, he does not write all the material, and inclines to dismiss sections that carry overtones of, as he puts it, “bragging”. But we take liberties to share some stories and insights, knowing that his friends will welcome some personal and idiosyncratic details of his rich and unusual life. (P.S. We leave the significance of the name William Commanda to your imagination!)