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Thursday, June 9, 2005

A request from Grandfather Commanda

Dear Friends,


I am passing along an invitation to the June 21 Pipe Ceremony from Grandfather WIlliam Commanda and I am requesting your immediate assistance in contacting the Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin to express your support of Grandfather's vision for the Indigenous Center at Victoria Island. We are hoping as many as possible will email Prime Minister Martin before June 21, 2005. His email is Snail mail info is :


Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900


Please also copy your correspondence to


Thank you so much for your help in this matter.




Betsy Stang







On June 21, 2005 at 10.00 a.m., I shall be hosting the fifth annual Gathering of Nations Pipe Ceremony at Victoria Island to continue my prayer and work for all people.  June 21 was identified as Indian Day in 1945 by native activist Jules Sioui; a few years ago, the former Governor General formally recognized the date, and today, many join in this celebration of National Aboriginal Day.


For the past forty years, I have followed the direction of my ancestors who welcomed yours to this land, and I have worked hard to create a Circle of All Nations, a Culture of Peace, to advance respect for Mother Earth and to advance racial harmony. I see today that Canada is engaged in one of the most interesting and difficult challenges of modern times – reconciling a huge array of diverse interests, peoples and cultures.


My peoples have been crushed for a long time and sometimes it seems like we beg for crumbs and acknowledgement at a table where the world seeks its place.  We see churches, cathedrals, synagogues, temples and mosques reflecting the great diversity of cultures here, but there is still no place where indigenous peoples can gather together in the spirit of unity that used to mark our heritage.


Over recent years, I have shared the sacred Three Figure Welcoming/Agreement Wampum Belt which signified the commitment of my ancestors in 1700 to share their country, grand natural resources and values with yours, with the land being held in trust for Creator and the unborn children.  This was before my country was divided.  Since then, our resources have been exploited, depleted and contaminated.  The balance of life has been disrupted, and the centre can no longer hold things together.  We have seen this in unprecedented fires last year and in floods this year.


I also said that Turtle Island would not find true peace until the relationship with the first peoples of this land was healed, and we occupied our rightful position in the heart of this country.  Sadly, we have endured years of great hardship, division and rancour. I have not been happy to see this strife and turmoil. 


But my ancestors used to say the most nutritious walnuts emerge after the coldest winter.


In my mind, it is the indigenous peoples who hold the seeds for a vision of inclusion and collective sharing, respect and responsibility, and in our very existence we serve as the glue to bond a fragile federation together.  We must work together collectively for a strengthened nation.


With the commencement of the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace, I began to pursue the work of developing a vision for a fully inclusive indigenous peace-building cultural centre on Victoria Island actively (see Healing Page –


The concrete manifestation of this commitment needs to be visible to all people. At the same time, it must contribute to strengthening Aboriginal Peoples individually and collectively. This commitment can be made evident and visible in the endorsement of the vision for Victoria Island.


This would constitute the tangible, public expression of the commitment to the First Peoples.  I continue to pray for the materialization of this work during my lifetime.


I invite you all to join us on June 21.  I am sure you will be heartened when you see the multicultural face of Canada join Aboriginal Peoples in celebration on the ancient spiritual meeting grounds of my ancestors, and you will see that when we learn to come together with one heart, one mind, one love and one determination, the seeds of peace-building can and indeed shall blossom and embrace all.





William Commanda



Betsy Stang
12:56 pm edt

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