Dear Justin Trudeau,
We write to you on behalf of the Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), which represents approximately 4,000 graduate students, to express our opposition to the plans of Windmill Developments/Dream Corporation and Energy Ottawa for the redevelopment of the Akikodjiwan (Chaudiere Falls) area on the Kichi Sibi (Ottawa River). We call on the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Québec, the City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, the National Capital Commission, Windmill Development Group, and Dream to put a halt to the redevelopment, and to fulfill the demands of the Assembly of First Nations of Québec-Labrador (AFNQL), which represents 43 First Nations communities including nine Algonquin nation communities, as further discussed in this letter.
The GSA recognizes that the lands on which we live and study are the unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin Nation, and we actively position ourselves in solidarity with Algonquin struggles for nationhood with our time, energy, and resources. We also recognize that non-Indigenous students continue to benefit from ongoing processes of colonization through the use of stolen land and appropriation of Indigenous culture and knowledge. The GSA therefore opposes further colonization of Algonquin nation lands and people.
We stand in solidarity with the Algonquin Nation and agree that the Algonquin community must be consulted with regarding changes to the status of lands and islands within the Algonquin sacred area Akikodjiwan, and it is unacceptable that these consultations have not yet occurred. Until free, prior and informed consent of the Algonquin Nation is given, the redevelopment plans must not continue. We urge the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Québec, the City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, the National Capital Commission, Windmill Development Group, and Dream to fulfill AFNQL’s demands to:
• Immediately consult the municipalities consult the Algonquin communities who form the Algonquin Nation regarding changes to the status of lands and islands within the Algonquin sacred area Akikodjiwan
• Purchase any lands privately held within the Algonquin sacred area Akikodjiwan and return those lands to an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin First Nations comprising the Algonquin Nation.
• Immediately contact the duly elected Algonquin Chiefs and Councils forming the Algonquin Nation to discuss the establishment of the proposed Algonquin Nation Cultural Park and Historic Commemoration Site to be established on part of the Akikodjiwan under an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin Communities who form the Algonquin Nations.
The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) includes a call for Canadian society to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which recognizes that “Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites.” The Windmill/Dream Corporation and Energy Ottawa projects at Akikodjiwan are in violation of the rights recognized by both the UNDRIP and the TRC. In recognition of this, we hope the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Québec, the City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, the National Capital Commission, Windmill Development Group, and Dream will stop the redevelopment of Akikodjiwan immediately, and ensure that the Algonquin nation obtains stewardship and control of this sacred Algonquin area.
Graduate Students’ Association
Local 78, Canadian Federation of Students
Minister Carolyn Bennett, Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
Premier Kathleen Wynne, Government of Ontario
Premier Philippe Couillard, Government of Québec
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Ville de Gatineau
Chair Russell Andrew Mills, National Capital Commission
Windmill Development Group
Michael J. Cooper, Dream