A sacred site in the Nation’s capital is getting looked at in a whole new light as the Miwate festival continues to dazzle some, and disgust others.
“It’s a sacred place and whatever they say that like Miwate means being dazzled by light,” said Elder Albert Dumont. “If anybody in the Indigenous community wants to be dazzled by light, I would suggest to them that maybe they go north a few kilometres and be dazzled by the northern light because, it’s Chaudiere falls or Akikodjiwan as my ancestors called it, it is not a show.”
Dumont and a number of other Elders and renowned architect Douglas Cardinal are not only against the light show – the site is also a future development called Zibi.
It will feature condominiums and shopping.
According to the developers, the site has the blessing of local Algonquin communities.
The light show by the Chaudiere Falls is called Miwate, an Algonquin word for dazzled by the light or fire.
The 10-minute production features flickering colours of lights and music that illuminates the falls just on the outskirts of downtown Ottawa.
According to producer Guy Laflamme, it was essential to honour the site.
“I think this initiative will get a lot of people to talk about what was done in the past, but also to talk about the present and the future on how we can be even more proud of how canadian identity was created with Indigenous roots and Indigenous presence.”
14-year-old Claudia Kataquatit from Thunder Bay said it’s the first time she’s heard of the site.
And she’s never seen anything like it.
“The colours, the music and I guess it just brings Indigenous students together,” she said.
According to Laflamme, the production has achieved what they hoped for – to educate the public about Indigenous peoples.
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