Debwewin: Valuing the Importance of Indigenous Sacred Places

Thursday, 28 March 2019 - 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
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The Algonquin were one of the first Indigenous Nations recorded in Champlain’s journals, yet for some reason their land rights have been continually denied.

The University of Ottawa resides on Unceded Algonquin territory. What does this statement really mean? Situated within the context of reconciliation, and as institutions of higher education, universities in Canada have the moral responsibility to move beyond land recognition statements.

Western disciplines of anthropology and sociology hold the position that culture and socialization are crucial in the process of becoming human beings, yet through “progress” and “clean-up operation” frameworks, Indigenous sacred places continue to be desecrated.

When a Church, Mosque, or Synagogue is damaged people raise their arms in despair, yet when the Algonquin sacred place known as Akikpautik, the location where Creator placed the First Sacred Pipe, the ultimate symbol and ritual of reconciliation between father and son and between nations,and located just upstream from Canada’s Parliament, no one seems to care enough. Why is this? Canadians can no longer blame the Algonquin Anishinaabeg.

Relying on the Anishinaabe truth concept of “debwewin” which includes the circle of heart knowledge and the circle of mind knowledge, Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe Lynn Gehl, argues this is because people are unable to understand the limitations of the humanistic paradigm, and the importance of valuing the natural world for all beings: Water, Plants, Animals, and Humans.