A report on our Inaugural Community Information Session at the Almonte Town Hall on March 26, 2023

Ginawaydaganuc Village Board of Directors: Barbara Brant, Romola Thumbadoo, Karen Bisson and John Henri Commanda

For those who were unable to make it to the event on March 26th, here is a link to the video presentation about the project:

Kwey kwey Karen,

The Ginawaydaganuc Village team were very pleased to host its first public information sharing event at the Old Town Hall in the historical town of Almonte in Mississippi Mills on March 26, 2023. Miigwetch to all who attended, especially those who travelled from afar, or helped and supported in any way. Over a hundred and fifty people joined us. We had a full house!

Indigenous Elders and helpers provided the formal and informal welcome with cleansing smudging, spiritual ceremony and drumming protocols, ensuring a safe and protected space. 

Chi miigwetch to Algonquin Elder Dan Ross from Pikwakanigan First Nation for leading the prayers, and Algonquin Elder Sol Wawatie, from Kitigan Zibi for his presence and support. A special highlight of the event was the presence and a presentation of world renowned Metis/Blackfoot architect, Douglas Cardinal’s conceptual designs for our project. He had engaged with the Ginawaydaganuc Village team over many months to develop the designs. 

Thanks also to Algonquin Elder Larry McDermott from Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation for sharing some history of the Algonquins, the traditional people with thousands of years of presence in the area and across the Ottawa River Watershed and beyond.

Mayor Christy Lowry, who we had met in May 2022, when we approached the township about the fledgling project, spent the day with us, and we were all very touched by her very genuine warmth - certainly a remarkable political leader in our midst.

A very special miigwetch to

Mayor Christa Lowry for attending, and especially to the Township of Mississippi Mills for their funding contribution to the event in conjunction with the Mississippi Mills Bicentennial Celebrations

A very special thanks to drummers Patsea Griffin, Laura Leonard, and Carmel Whittle, who stepped in with such grace to perform a traditional drum song to open the event.

Chi miigwetch to the performers: Algonquin hoop dancer & singer Mariah Miigwans (Chabot-Smith), Inuit throat singers Jennifer Kadluk and Annie Qimirpik,

Anthony Brascoupe and David Finkle who played fiddle and guitar, along with Jaime Morse and her son JJ who danced a traditional jig.

We would also like to thank all those who made the day possible, including our event coordinator Hannah Metcalfe, the crew from TLTP: (Kate MacKenzie, Judy MacKenzie, Kira Frazer, Vanessa Spence, Kelli Kavanagh, and Kat Brewster) and many other wonderful helpers including Eva, Bear, Wilderness, Erica, Kaylen, Kaitlyn, Rik, Millie, and Dave from the townhall.

Most of the excellent food was catered by Indigenous Experiences/Madahoki Farm. John Henri also brought along couple of trays of his famous fry bread, which lasted all of about five minutes. The medicine jams were provided by Tradish Jams, and the Rejunivator Tea and ceremonial medicines were provided by Turtle Lodge Trading Post.

Chi miigwetch also to Nancy Clarke for making our cordwood display, and to ZinCo Canada for the living roof display.

Finally, may we say that the energy of a special personality and historical figure was also indelible in the air at the launch: Late Algonquin Elder William Commanda, Sacred Wampum Keeper, Canoe Builder, Founder of the Circle of All Nations, Officer of the Order of Canada and Honorary PhD. Our Ginawaydaganuc Village website states: We chose the name Ginawaydaganuc Village to honour Grandfather William Commanda. He taught that the essence of this Algonquin word means 'we/all things are connected'. The Spirit of Ginawaydaganuc speaks to our intrinsic relationship to Mother Earth — Her land, air and waters — as well as to the cosmos, and, of course, to each other. Ginawaydaganuc is the thread that connects ALL cultures, ALL peoples, and ALL things together.

This project is about acknowledging and honouring that connection, as well as channeling and anchoring the kind constructive energies and tools we need for humanity to live and work together in harmony towards a better future. 

In one word... Gratitude!

We were so heartened to see our ideas warmly welcomed by the community, and by the enthusiasm and willingness expressed to work with us to develop and advance the plans. We are especially grateful for the donations that will help us to keep the momentum going.


The last few weeks have been very busy as the momentum gained by our first event continues to build. We very much appreciate the countless positive messages we have received from the community since the event. So many great things are happening!


But we are in great need of more help to manifest this vision - land, buildings, programs, people, and funding - but we are confident we have launched the initiative with much good will and promise. We are convinced the Ginawaydaganuc Village will lead us on an inspirational journey of Well Being for Mother Earth and All People! Do JOIN US!

Stay tuned for more exciting news in the coming months!

With respect and gratitude

from the Ginawadaganuc Board Members,

Karen Bisson, Barb Brant, John Henri Commanda and Romola Thumbadoo

To get involved or for more information, please email us at: info@turtlelodgetradingpost.ca

Please share this with anyone you thing may be interested in our project. The mailing list sign up button is below.

Donate Now
Subscribe to Mailing List
Contact Us
Facebook  Instagram