As part of the ongoing efforts to promote Reconciliation with Indigenous people in Guelph, the City of Guelph announced Monday morning that a Sacred Fire Space arranged in Royal City Park is ready for ceremony.
“We are honoured that members of the local First Nations, Metis, Mixed Ancestry and Inuit community trusted us to help bring their long-needed Sacred Fire to life,” said Martin Neumann, manager of Parks Operations and Forestry with the City of Guelph, in a press release.
“This sacred space acknowledges that Guelph is situated on treaty land, of which we are stewards, and honours our community’s unique history and culture.”
The Sacred Fire is used for spiritual gatherings including ceremonies of gratitude, healing and prayer. The space for this Sacred Fire, on the southern shoreline of Royal City Park, was chosen because it’s near the place where the Eramosa and Speed Rivers meet, which is a traditional meeting place for local Indigenous peoples.
CBC Indigenous made this video showing the significance and ceremony of the Sacred Fire.
“The Sacred Fire is a dream almost 30 years in the making,” say members of the Seven Generations Forward Circle. “We are looking forward to sharing this sacred space with the Guelph Community at specific times of the year.”
The announcement comes on the same day as the closing ceremony for the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The 1,200 page report features 231 “calls for justice,” and called the level of violence against Indigenous women a “Canadian genocide.”
“As a nation, we face a crisis: regardless of which number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is cited, the number is too great. The continuing murders, disappearances and violence prove that this crisis has escalated to a national emergency that calls for timely and effective responses,” said Marion Buller, chief commissioner of the inquiry.
“This is not what Canada is supposed to be about; it is not what it purports to stand for.”
The completion of the Sacred Fire site is also fitting since June is Indigenous History Month in Canada. Guelph’s annual celebration of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples will take place in Royal City Park at 5:30 pm on June 21.
Sacred Fire image courtesy of Anishinaabe.ca