Season’s Greetings from Grandfather William Commanda
December 21, 2004 Winter Solstice
Grandfather William Commanda wishes all his friends and colleagues a very happy holiday season!
His year has been a frantically busy one – as usual!
As the senior elder of the Algonquin territory, he has offered his prayers of welcome and support to innumerable conferences and meetings throughout the National Capital Region. This recognition of indigenous territory was cemented when he was invited by the Prime Minister to offer the opening prayer at the Aboriginal Roundtable with the country’s First Ministers in April 2004. These were his key words:
I am honoured to welcome you all to the traditional territory of my ancestors.
Today, I wish to share with you an important message of this sacred Three Figure Welcoming Wampum Belt. It was created by my ancestors in 1700, before Turtle Island, the North American continent, was divided.
At that time, my ancestors committed to share our values and the grand natural resources of the continent with the newcomers, then the French and the English. They were guided to do this by the spirit of generosity that was fundamental to our culture. They believed we would exchange ideas and become a strong people together.
This commitment to sharing was sanctified by a representative of the Vatican, signifying the sacred trust that was being agreed to by all.
It is apparent to all today that we indigenous peoples are the most impoverished and powerless in this land of our ancestors. It is also becoming increasingly clear to every one that the grand natural resources of Turtle Island are being steadily depleted and polluted.
As Mother Earth is crying, so too are we dying of cancers and new diseases at unprecedented rates; today, people are preoccupied with the crisis in health. The newcomers cannot find true peace, while the injustices suffered by the original peoples remain still buried within the heart and spirit of the country.
During the past decade, the International Decade for Indigenous Peoples, we have been reclaiming our heritage and regaining our strength as a people. It is time for us to take our rightful place in this land.
Today, the Indigenous Peoples stand between the federal and provincial governments, and the original settlers and the newer immigrants. It is crucial for us all to make a renewed commitment to sharing and respect in the manner anticipated by this Welcoming Belt.
In this way, we shall support the healing of Mother Earth and all her children, and we will become a Circle of All Nations and a Culture of Peace.
He was pleased, too, to participate in two key events organized by the international community: the welcoming of the new South African High Commissioner, Ms Theresa Soloman, to Canada; and the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Honour “Pablo Neruda” to His Excellency, John Ralston Saul, by H. E. José Miguel Cruz, Ambassador of Chile to Canada.
He continues to work and pray for the materialization of the vision for the Indigenous Centre at Victoria Island (see the Healing Page of the web page); and if you believe in this vision too, then please share your sentiments with the Government of Canada (please copy Grandfather.)
His annual August Spiritual Gathering at his home in Kitigan Zibi was bigger than ever. Over three thousand people from across the world participated, and he saw his vision for a global Circle of All Nations and a Culture of Peace materialize in microcosmic form. The special theme for this Gathering was Water, and we had many leading edge presentations on water purification and conservation. (A report on these innovative ideas is being prepared for the web page, and will be available in the New Year.) Grandfather was pleased to welcome his friends from Europe, Africa, South America, United States, Canada and the special delegation of 30 from Japan.
Over the past couple of years, Grandfather served as Honorary Elder for the Boreal Rendezvous, an initiative of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the David Suzuki Foundation. This effort to protect the Boreal Forest is celebrated in a beautiful book : Rendezvous with the Wild: The Boreal Forest. Here, the Indigenous Elder’s prayers at the beginning and the end of the book embrace the passionate commitment of numerous Canadians to the protection of this precious land in the manner anticipated by his ancestors.
A very special activity: in the time old tradition of his ancestors, which has influenced the evolution of Canada so profoundly, Grandfather built a 9 foot birch bark canoe with Todd Labrador in May! Valerie Pouyanne filmed this experience for Grandfather, and soon we shall be able to share it with you in a documentary entitled “A Canoe Good Enough for Two!”
The Elder was also happy to be able to welcome seventy nine year old German psycho therapist Bert Hellinger to Ottawa, and to offer support for his work in family constellation therapy both here and in a northern Ontario native community. Bert Hellinger’s innovative healing work is taking Europe by storm, and holds promise for individual, family and nation to nation healing. Grandfather had met Bert in Germany in 2001, when he did a Peace Pipe Ceremony at a conference focused on this healing and reconciliation work.
Grandfather was invited to work at the Kumik Lodge for two weeks, and work he did! This served as an opportunity for us to reflect on and condense his key teachings. We are completing a journal on this experience, and it will include highlights of his key messages and passions. The session ended with a great 91st birthday banquet for him!
Of course there was much more, including two recent trips to New York State, Massachusetts, Vermont and Pennsylvania to support his friends there. There are no weekends or nine to five days with Grandfather.
But of course, he would not be able to do quite so much with out the love, support and help of you, his many friends.
Grandfather sends his heart felt thanks for the many ways you contribute to making his vision of a Circle of All Nations a reality in these tumultuous times. He believes our circle can grow, and as we grow in understanding of our fundamental interconnectedness, more and more of us will come together with one mind, one heart, one love and one determination and create a Culture of Peace!
Our love and very best wishes for peace and joy the holiday season and the New Year.