The Algonquin Anishinabe Nation’s New Protocol with the City of Ottawa

City of Ottawa committee meeting on March 31, 2022, where two City staff explain the creation of the Civic Cultural Protocol and Implementation Plan for the City of Ottawa and the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation.

By Greg Macdougall

There is a new, formally defined relationship between the City of Ottawa and the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation, on whose unceded territory the city sits.

The official title is the “City of Ottawa Civic Cultural Protocol and Implementation Plan – Anishinabe Algonquin Nation” and it was approved by City Council on April 13, 2022.

The best way to understand all the details is to read the full document(s) available on the city’s website.

There was also the March 31 municipal committee meeting where a presentation by two of the municipal employees involved explained the creation and content of the protocol; the meeting also included the perspectives of Algonquin Anishinabe Nation leaders, elders and city councillors.

The protocol and its five-year plan include “concrete steps in 19 areas of cultural work,” Dan Chenier, general manager of the city’s Recreation, Culture and Facilities Services, explained during the committee meeting.

The definition of what is or is not “culture” is not explicitly defined in the protocol, but is implicit in the domains, objectives and stages it details. Some of these changes include changes to city policies and programs, such as the following: use of Anishinaabemowin (the Anishinabe language) in city locations and statements; modification of cultural funding programs; an initiative to “decolonize the City of Ottawa Archives”; and, include more Algonquin Anishinabe authors in the collections of the municipal library. It also extends outside of city services, for example: city support for Anishinabe Algonquin First Nations archival work; create networks between Algonquin Anishinabe cultural producers and local businesses; and, facilitate engagement on cultural/heritage initiatives and management between First Nations and local universities and colleges.

Other steps include the element most highlighted in media coverage of the protocol: the establishment of a non-voting (“ex-officio”) seat on Ottawa City Council for an Algonquin Elder Anishinabe holds it. An annual meeting is also planned between Anishinabe Algonquin Nation leadership and city officials, and the creation of an Anishinabe Algonquin Nation Cultural Advisory Circle comprised of Elders and Knowledge Keepers from the 11 Anishinabe Algonquin First Nations. recognized by the federal government which will meet at least twice a year. with municipal services staff to discuss protocol implementation and other matters.

The idea of ​​a city councilor holding an official city position as an ongoing liaison with the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation is not in protocol but was raised at the committee meeting, and will be formally considered after the municipal elections this fall.

The protocol also contains information on the broader context, such as history and legal issues, as well as non-quantifiable principles and commitments about the relationship between the City of Ottawa and the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

Two notable elements of the protocol received no particular mention in news media reports or in the protocol itself: the changed name of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation and the omission of the controversial “Algonquins of Ontario” of the protocol.

Another name for the Nation

“Algonquin Anishinabe Nation” is a reverse formulation of what was previously widely used – notably in the name of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council (AANTC) itself, as well as in the city’s 2018 Reconciliation Action Plan which refers throughout to the ‘Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.’

“Some of our communities only use Anicinape,” AANTC Acting Grand Chief Savanna McGregor commented for this article, using one of many Anishinabe dialect blends. “Algonquin is a name imposed on us by Samuel de Champlain.

The new protocol has a section titled “Use of the Words Anishinabe (Anishinaabe), Algonquin (Algonkin) and Algonquian (Algonkian)” which details the possible origins of the French word “Algonquin” and explains other linguistic issues – such as, how a “g” or a “k” at the end of the word (ie Anishinabeg) indicates the plural.

But there is no question of now putting “Anishinabe” before “Algonquin” in the name of the Nation.

“In February 2022, the leaders of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation sent a joint letter to the City of Ottawa recommending that “Anishinabe Algonquin Nation” (English) and “Nation Anishinabe Algonquine” (French) be used in all future communications of the City, official publications and on the City of Ottawa website,” explained Ms. Chenier.

He said the change came from “elders, traditional knowledge keepers and Algonquin Anishinaabemowin language speakers and translators fluent in the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.”

A traditional linguist involved in this process explained that the “Algonquin Anishinabe Nation” aligns itself with “the traditional way of identifying its community or land base”.

Wolf Lake First Nation Chief Lisa Robinson – also Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Programs and Services Secretariat (ALC for short: Algonquin Nation Secretariat) – explained that the change had been unanimously supported by the leadership of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.

“We recognize and respect our language and put it first – and we always should.”

She said the message from the Anishinabeg Elders was “[for] all of us – to always pay this tribute to our language and our people first.

But it turns out there was a part of the protocol that didn’t have unanimous support.

The “Algonquins of Ontario” Question

Despite major controversy even in the past year over the town’s relationship with the Algonquins of Ontario Organization (AOO), there is no mention or clarification of their relationship to the town anywhere. in the protocol.

“The good work we do is our work and we own it. It is the work of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. We do not recognize the AOO,” commented Grand Chief Robinson of the ANS.

This sentiment echoes the opposition crafted last spring by the ANS and AANTC and some individual leaders against Project Tewin, a large-scale development partnership between the AOO and the development company Taggart, which the city approved as part of an expansion of the urban boundaries as part of the city. New official 25-year plan.

The ANS represents three Anishinabe Algonquin First Nations (Barriere Lake – Mitcikinabik Inik; Timiskaming; and Wolf Lake), while the AANTC represents seven (Abitibiwinni; Kebaowek; Kitcisakik; Kitigan Zibi; Lac Simon; Long Point; and Wahgoshig) .

The city developed the protocol in conjunction with four leaders primarily from the “11 Anishinabe Algonquin First Nations that are federally recognized under the Indian Act»: the ANS; the AANTC; Kitigan Zibi individually; and also the only Algonquin Anishinabe First Nation not represented by the ANS or the AANTC, the Algonquins of the Pikwàkanagàn First Nation.

Only Wahgoshig and Pikwàkanagàn are based in Ontario; Wahgoshig is part of the AANTC as well as the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (formerly known as Grand Council Treaty #9), while Pikwàkanagàn is the only Algonquin member of the Anishinabek Nation.

But Pikwàkanagàn is also the only federally recognized First Nation that is part of the AOO, an organization formed to negotiate the land claim for Eastern Ontario, a region that includes Ottawa. Pikwakanagan Chief Wendy Jocko said the AOO’s omission from the protocol “is most regrettable and given the long, collaborative and successful partnership with the City of Ottawa, very puzzling.”

She explained the background that in 1991, the Pikwàkanagàn – then known as the Algonquins of Golden Lake – “together with status and non-status Algonquins residing in communities across Ontario, entered into negotiations for modern treaties with Canada and Ontario”. did so “to rightfully assert their Aboriginal rights and title in this province” and “to rebuild the Algonquin Nation, which has been divided and marginalized by federal policies such as the Indian Act and the failure of the Crown to protect Algonquin land rights as required by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.”

Chief Jocko concluded that the omission perpetuates these problems and “as people with rights in Ontario, the Algonquins of Ontario should have been consulted on this project and should be included as full participants in this protocol”.

Chenier stated the city’s position from the protocol process: “Early in the development of the protocol, the chiefs and grand chiefs asked the city to work directly with the 11 federally recognized First Nations they -same… As such, the Algonquins of Ontario Organization (AOO) did not participate in the development of the protocol.

However, the city “continues to consult with Algonquins of Ontario, Algonquin Anishinabe Nations and urban Indigenous communities on development applications, environmental assessments, archaeological studies and wildlife conservation efforts,” added Charmaine. Forgie, city business and technical director. Support services. [To note: archaeology is one of the areas covered in the protocol.]

AANTC’s McGregor said, “The federal government and the provincial government of Ontario have done a great disservice to the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation by recognizing the AOO.

Noting that the AOO is a corporation, she added, “A corporation is not a First Nations people” and asserts that “all levels of government, from city, province, federal to Anishinabe Algonquin, must figure out how to rectify this divisive tactic and set things right by not pursuing the current land claims process on the south side of our ancestral highway, the Kichi Sippi [the Ottawa River].”

To advance

Last year, city council ignored demands from 10 of the 11 Anishinabe Algonquin First Nation chiefs and made the major decision in favor of the AOO’s Tewin development – Mayor Jim Watson saying it’s acted in an “innovative and pioneering way” to “get serious about reconciliation” at a press conference – and now that protocol, more than 11 years in the making, is endorsed by the same city council.

“Of course, we hope it will lay the groundwork for collaboration in many other areas, but this particular protocol is culture-driven,” Chenier said in his presentation at the committee meeting.

At the same committee meeting, a progress report on the city’s reconciliation action plan was tabled, using the definition of reconciliation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Principles of Reconciliation which begins with the ‘label’ a relationship healing process, which requires constructive actions […]”

This will mostly be defined by actions and results, but the formal adoption of this protocol and its five-year implementation plan is a major step in this process.

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