News / Ottawa

Algonquin grandmothers push back against Windmill development

Group opposes development on Chaudiere and Albert Islands

A ring dam, operated by Hydro Ottawa, harnesses the power of the Chaudiere Falls in Ottawa.

Haley Ritchie / Metro Order this photo

A ring dam, operated by Hydro Ottawa, harnesses the power of the Chaudiere Falls in Ottawa.

A group of Algonquin grandmothers wants to put a stop to any development on Chaudiere and Albert Islands, because they argue the land should never have been offered for development.

The Algonquin Grandmothers of Pikwakanagan filed a statement of claim in court last month seeking to stop any development on the lands, which they view as a sacred territory.

Windmill development plans a mixed-use community on the islands and has worked with several other Algonquin groups to get support for the redevelopment.

Greg Sarazin, a spokesperson for the grandmothers, said they want the development stopped.

He said the group is stepping in because they believe the chief and council for the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan don’t have the community’s support.

“In recent years, it became apparent to the people that the chief and the council of Pikwakanagan had been going in the wrong direction,” he said.

He said the grandmothers view the islands as a sacred place and they don’t want to see them developed. He said in their society preserving important pieces of culture have always fallen to grandmothers.

“Traditionally, the grandmothers of the nation were the ones who kept the nation going, by protecting the culture and the history of the nation.”

Sarazin said Indigenous communities have always viewed the islands as special and important and to see them turned into a community of condominiums would be terrible.

“It’s always been a sacred site, because of the spiritual nature,” he said. “It’s a place where the Aboriginal nations, the Algonquin and others when they were invited, came to pray and to carry out ceremonies.”

The claim has not yet been heard and the allegations have not been proven in court.

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