Indigenous peoples have a long history in the National Capital Region. This is and must continue to be a defining element of the Capital. The Plan for Canada’s Capital, 2017–2067, underlines the important place that the Algonquin Nation has had in the past, and will continue to have in the future of the Capital. The NCC has worked with the Algonquin Nation in a spirit of true friendship and collaboration for many years on a variety of projects.
A little over nine years ago, the NCC made a big leap in terms of Indigenous engagement when I was hired on as the first Aboriginal liaison officer.
The NCC continues to seek ways to build strong relations with local Indigenous leaders and peoples, with a focus on ensuring that their interests are truly reflected in the numerous projects and initiatives being undertaken across the region.
This pathway bridge providing a crossing over Leamy Creek was named by young people from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. The name Mâwandòseg is Algonquin, and means “land where we once gathered for celebration.”
Known as the Kabeshinân Minitig Pavilion, this building was among 10 distinctive buildings in the Capital that were designated as Confederation Pavilions to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
The NCC’s Pindigen Park, at the southeast corner of Wellington and Booth streets, at LeBreton Flats is a great example of collaboration. The landscaping design was developed in collaboration with elders from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Pikwakanagan. In addition, the NCC facilitated the discussions between Canadian Heritage and Algonquin First Nations on the development of the interpretation panels, layout and visual elements for the project.
Anishinabe Nibin is a special two-day event that promotes and celebrates past and present Algonquin Anishinabeg culture and values.
As part of Archaeology Month, the NCC invites the public to take part in archaeology digs. Leamy Lake Park contains the largest pre-contact archaeological site complex in the Outaouais Region. The artifact collections recovered from these sites provide rich information about past First Nations culture in Canada’s Capital Region.
An offering of tobacco, prepared by the NCC liaison officer and resident Anishinabe elder Rene Tenasco from the Kitigan Zibi community, was presented to each Indigenous community leader visited during the forums held in capital cities across Canada.
As part of National Indigenous Day in June, the NCC hosts a special event as part of the Urbanism Lab lecture series.
In 2016, the NCC began holding regular discussions with the Delegation of Algonquin Chiefs, which is open to all communities represented by the Algonquin Nation Secretariat and the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation Tribal Council. This dialogue aims to foster a positive working relationship and closer collaboration between the NCC and the Algonquin Nation.
In 2012, the NCC entered into a partnership with the communities of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Pikwakanagan for the joint management of archaeological resources.