Tag Archives: Parks Canada

Kawartha Nishnawbe block reconstruction work on Burleigh Falls Dam

Burleigh Falls Dam is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, now a national historic site operated by Parks Canada. The dam was originally constructed in 1912. (Dean Wood)

Group says barricades are over lack of consultation by Parks Canada

Members from an Ontario First Nation continue to block access to a dam reconstruction site because they say they were not properly consulted by Parks Canada.

Nodin Webb, leader and spokesperson for Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation, said his community isn’t necessarily opposed to the work on the Burleigh Falls Dam, but Parks Canada should’ve involved them in the decision-making process.

Two barricades were erected last week that prevent access to the work site in Burleigh Falls, Ont., 130 kilometres northeast of Toronto.

“We’re out there defending the land until we can get confirmation from Parks Canada that there will be no further construction or demolition until they consult us, a procedure they are legally required to do,” he said.

The Kawartha Nishnawbe have vowed not to move until Parks Canada properly consults with them about the reconstruction. (Submitted by Amber Seager)

The Kawartha Nishnawbe created a community near Burleigh Falls in the early 1900s with five families from nearby Curve Lake First Nation who had lost their Indian status through enfranchisement.

The dam, which was originally constructed in 1912, is a part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, and is now a national historic site operated by Parks Canada.

The Parks Canada website indicates the dam is being fully rebuilt and construction is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2024.

Indigenous Services Canada said in an email Kawartha Nishnawbe is not recognized as an Indian Act band.

The community’s lawyer, Christopher Reid disagrees and has been exchanging emails with Parks Canada and the federal government.

“They took away status from these people and forced them off reserves, forced them to establish a separate community on their own where they literally cleared the land, built their homes without any assistance and built their community.”

Public safety

David Britton, director of Ontario Waterways with Parks Canada, said in a statement Parks Canada has offered to meet with the Kawartha Nishnawbe on the Burleigh Falls Dam replacement project both in 2016 and more recently to understand their concerns regarding the potential impacts of the project.

Britton confirms Parks Canada has met with Curve Lake First Nation and other Williams Treaties First Nations on the first phase of the project and is working to develop fisheries monitoring and mitigation plans.

Zhaawnong Webb, Nodin Webb and Jack Hoggarth at the blockade near the Burleigh Falls Dam construction site. (Submitted by Amanda Seager)

He also explained that in its current condition, the dam poses a risk.

“A significant void at the base of the dam undermines the dam’s structural integrity, and is cause for concern regarding both public safety, and the protection of properties and species, including an important walleye fishery.”

Webb denied there have been any offers of consultation but in email correspondence provided to CBC by Reid, Parks Canada offered to meet and share its plans with the Kawartha Nishnawbe in three separate messages.

Reid indicated the level of consultation offered by Britton and Parks Canada is different than that received by Curve Lake First Nation.

He said in a statement, “offering to meet is not nearly the same thing as engaging in the kind of consultations which are legally required and which they held with communities which have much less connection to Burleigh Falls than Kawartha Nishnawbe.”

Emily Whetung, chief of Curve Lake, wrote in a statement, “We recognize that the complicated history of the Kawartha Nishinawbe, their relationship to the land at Burleigh Falls, and their assertion with the federal government, and we respect that they have an independent perspective.

“However, the Burleigh Dam is located within the recognized pre-Confederation and Williams Treaties Territory, and we feel a responsibility to protect the environment and species in the area as the reconstruction project moves forward.”

By: Sean Vanderklis, Rhiannon Johnson · CBC News · Posted: Jan 21, 2021.


UPDATE: Parks Canada No Longer Charging Fee For Sweat Lodge Ceremony At National Historic Site


This ad offering a sweat lodge ceremony for $$59.50 per person

By Black Powder | Red Power Media, Staff, Updated June 1, 2016


After a government website ad angered many Indigenous people in Manitoba and across the country, Parks Canada has decided to no longer charge a fee for sweat lodge ceremonies it offers at a national historic site.

Parks Canada was advertising sweat lodge ceremonies on three dates this summer, at a price of $59.50 per person. The ceremonies are to take place at the Lower Fort Garry National Historic site, near Selkirk, Man.

“This is not a recreational program, but an authentic and traditional experience coordinated in an appropriate manner by the recognized Sweat Lodge Keeper on lands that were important to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada,” read a statement from Parks Canada.

The statement also says, this pilot project was never a revenue-generating activity. The fee was only intended to cover the costs associated with planning and delivering the program. However, Parks Canada recognizes that this may have been inappropriate. We have re-evaluated this element of the program and will be now offering it at no cost.


Parks Canada To Profit From First Nations Sweat Lodge Ceremony

The Native American sweat lodge a purification ceremony commonly referred to as a sweat; has been used by the Indigenous people of the Americas since time immemorial as a spiritual ritual for healing, cleansing and prayer.

Today, organized groups of Indigenous culture thieves, including large corporations and greedy department stores sell knock-off items of spiritual importance and well-known companies and sporting teams exploit Native images in the form of logos and mascots.

Now the Government of Canada is now cashing in on public ignorance and the growing need for spiritual guidance by the commercialization and selling of the First Nations, Sweat Lodge ceremonies.

The Parks Canada website is advertising Sweat Lodges at Lower Fort Garry a National Historic Site in Winnipeg.

Parks Canada on 3 separate days in the months of July, August and September is offering Sweat Lodges twice a day at the cost of $59.50 a person.

Paying for Native ceremonies is not a traditional practice, and profiting from Native spirituality goes against most tribal beliefs, but on the Parks Canada website a detailed description of the Sweat Lodge ceremony can be found including customs and how a ceremony is conducted.

Parks Canada also has a page titled Frequently Asked Questions for participants (up to 15 people) wanting to attend the Sweat Lodge.

The website does not name the Sweat lodge conductors but oddly enough describes the role of the lodge leader (He or she) as the one charged with protecting the ceremony and maintaining lodge etiquette.

Indigenous people around the world have been trying to stop their spiritual beliefs and practices from being bartered or sold at any price.

Native spiritual leaders and Indigenous activists have been speaking out for decades about the abuse of sacred ceremonies, and continue to oppose the appropriation and exploitation of sacred ceremonies.

It is common belief not exploiting Native ceremonies is one of many spiritual laws, but selling the sacred has been happening for far to long, and Parks Canada is just the latest to capitalize on it.