Discussions leading to a newly-unveiled commemoration project with the Alderville First Nation and the City of Kingston began eight years ago.
The installation, called Mandingo Ogitigan, was designed by Métis artist and landscape architect Terence Radford in consultation with the Alderville First Nation.
Alderville First Nation is a band of Mississauga that Chief Dave Mowat says called the Kingston region home before they were resettled to the Alderville reserve along Rice Lake north of Cobourg.
“It’s through that long, drawn-out historical process that our people are taken out of the bay and relocated to Alderville First Nation. There’s a lot of pros and coms that are involved with that” says Chief Dave Mowat of Alderville First Nation.
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Spirit Garden incorporates the designs of 3 Wampum Belts, the Lunar Cycle, the Medicine Wheel and has a variety of native plants from the Alderville First Nation.
“We have little blue stem, red osier dogwood, big blue stem, some of the l flowering species we have a plant called spiked gayfeather” says Terence Radford, Métis artist and landscape architect.
Chief Mowat says, “it sort of gives us a home base here if you will here in Kingston we now have a destination”
While the art installation is complete, Chief Mowat says it’s also a beginning for other discussions that need to occur.
”We settled the Williams Treaty claim and that claim or that settlement agreement reaffirms our constitutionally protected harvesting rights in this area and our other pre-confederation areas of southern Ontario” says Chief Mowat.
He also says when COVID-19 restrictions loosen, he hopes to bring more Alderville First Nation community members and elders to the site.