Land recognition ceremony at CBA ‘lodge’

  • March 05, 2019

A ceremonial exchange of tobacco marked the beginning of a land recognition ceremony at the CBA’s new offices in downtown Ottawa in February.

CBA President Ray Adlington handed a red cloth pouch of tobacco – known as a tobacco tie – to Elder Irene Compton who came to share knowledge with the CBA Board members, volunteers and staff who had gathered in the lobby of the downtown office despite most of the city having declared a snow day.

Elder Irene noted that Ottawa sits on unceded Algonquin territory, and that she is Ojibwe, not Algonquin, but had received authority to welcome the CBA on behalf of the Algonquin people.

Whenever you enter another’s territory, it’s important to be welcomed into that territory, she said.

“It’s really important that you connect with the people and you feast with those people and you dance with those people and you do ceremony with those people because they’re teaching you about their land and the ways of their tribes.”

Elder Irene performed the Eagle Song, a song about leadership. The eagle is the animal closest to the Creator because it flies so high, she said, and it carries prayers to the Creator.

“We’re going to do four directions with the eagle, and ask the spirit of the eagle to be within this lodge here – because this basically is your lodge and it’s really important that you take care of it and that you have good working relationships and you use those seven grandfather teachings when dealing with each other” – that is, humility, bravery, honesty, wisdom, truth, respect and love, she said. She sang the Eagle Song, with the assembled group joining her on the chorus.

President Adlington noted that in the coming weeks a plaque will be installed with a message stating that the CBA pays respect to the Algonquin people, the traditional guardians of this unceded land, and to all indigenous people across the country.