from the Eagle Watch #69
Action Alert: Sacred Mounds in Toronto's High Park Need Your Protection
July 21, 2010
The little known sacred Indigenous mounds in Toronto's High Park are under attack. Your help is needed NOW to protect and restore them. The situation is becoming more critical every day as dirt bikers are using the mounds for sport. Toronto police fail to do their job of preventing dirt bikers building ramps and driving in the city park in west-central Toronto near Lake Ontario in unceded Ongwehonwe territory. The bones and dust of our ancestors and the sacred mounds are being desecrated.
Rastia'ta'non:ha, Director Taiaiako'n Historical Preservation Society and other individuals have been quietly working to identify, restore and protect the mounds for some time now. They ask that these words requesting help and support be disseminated far and wide throughout the international community.
This struggle to preserve and protect what is left of our sacred mounds has carried on for many years. There are those within the colonial governments who have made agreements and treaties with our people over time. This led us to believe that they would take care of the sacred earth where our ancestors have lived and the same earth that also contains their spirits and sacred special things that were never meant to be disturbed or moved for any reason. Many times when our ancestors were buried, certain medicines were placed
with them, that would cause great harm to those who would disturb their peace later.
We do not have a ceremony to remove those who have passed on to the other side and place them in a different place, out of the way so that development can go on on their peaceful resting places. It is a violation of the Kaienera:kowa to disturb the peaceful resting places of our ancestors.
We have serious concerns of how the destruction of the Snake Mound in High Park will impact negatively upon the future generations. Whatever actions we take or words we speak, have an effect either negatively
or positively on the next seven generations of coming faces.
Those that have destroyed this sacred place have no mind. They don't care about what negative things will befall those who have supported this destruction and continue to do so. They only care about their five minutes of self-gratification of their ability to fly through the air on their BMX bikes.
We have been informed of the sacred agreement that the City of Toronto made long ago with the Onondaga at Six Nations Grand River over the sacred sites in High Park. The newcomers agreed to take care of the sacred resting places of our ancestors in High Park. They agreed not to let any harm come to them or molestation of our sacred sites happen.
This agreement has not been kept as the Snake Mound is currently in a state of almost being obliterated by BMX bikers who think they have a right to destroy an environmentally and culturally sensitive area. No one has given them this right!
We are calling upon the aid and assistance of all peoples everywhere, to stand with us to put an end to this destruction and desecration of this very special sacred place. This place is so sacred to us that people from all over Turtle Island traveled here regularly long ago.
On July 15, 2010 at 11am, Rastia'ta'non:ha and other dedicated people made a monitoring visit to the Snake Mound at the south end of High Park. He reports, "We found more holes dug, a lot more earth moved and more ramps made since July 4, 2010. We also observed that many of the trilliums that were there in the spring are now destroyed due to new ramps being built. We also witnessed a toad struggling to maintain a home in among the freshly moved earth.
"At approximately 11:21 am, two bikers arrived and climbed the fence by the duck pond. They retrieved three shovels from the other side of the fence. They then proceeded to dig more ramps while we were there.
"They were asked who gave them permission or a permit to do what they are doing and they replied, "No one did."
The dirt bikers were informed of by-law 608-29 sec c. prohibiting the building of ramps within the park. They stated that the ramps had been there for a long time and the area was already destroyed. They were informed that we had documentation and photographs showing that in fact the ramps have not been there for a long time. The ramps that are there now are newly erected this year as they were all taken down last year. They also tried to blame the city for the destruction to the trees. We have circulated pictures showing clearly destruction done to the trees by the bikers who have built ramps illegally."
Contrary to what some colonial "experts" will tell you, we know that our ancient sacred mounds were built by our ancestors, Indigenous people of Turtle Island some 3,000 years ago or more. These mounds have not only been burial places but have also served as cultural and ceremonial centres.
We know that when this sacred place is respected and preserved for what it is, this will set a precedent that will reach far and wide. Our people desperately need such a centre to restore our culture, history and unity.
The HPACC High Park Advisory Community Council issued a letter on May 04, 2010 requesting that the destructive dirt bikers activities stop?? Nothing has been done. The City of Toronto must find another place for these youth to play. The Canadian government must designate the sacred mounds in High Park as a protected area. Who is going to stand with us to put a stop to this illegal, destructive environmental and cultural activity??
Kittoh and Rastia'ta'non:ha
We welcome your feedback! Forward, post and consider printing for your cyberphobic friends and relatives.
The Eagle Watch Newsletter is sent to interested individuals, both Indigenous and nonNative, politicians especially the Canadian ones and an assortment of English language media.
Notes, Sources and Contact Info
For more information, to become involved or/and to visit the mounds, contact:
Rastia'ta'non:ha, Seneca Wolf Clan
Director Taiaiako'n Historical Preservation Society
Sign the petition that has been up on line since May 2010.
Contact Info for some Toronto City Officials
Mayor Miller- firstname.lastname@example.org
Toronto City Hall, 2nd Floor, 100 Queen St. West, Toronto ON M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-397-CITY (2489) Fax:416-696-3687
Councillor Bill Saundercook
100 Queen Street West, Suite C46 Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-392-4072 Fax: 416-696-3667
Ward 13 Community Office
17 St. John's Road Toronto, ON M6P 1T7
Phone: 416-338-5165 Fax: 416-338-5211
Councillor Gord Perks
100 Queen Street West, Suite A14 Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-392-7919 Fax: 416-392-0398
Councillor Rob Ford
100 Queen Street West, Suite C40 Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Phone: 416-397-9255 Fax: 416-397-9238
Community phone: 416-233-6934
For By-law/Municipal Code inquiries, please contact:
12th floor, West Tower, City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2 Fax: 416-392-2980
Gil Golka email@example.com
Sylvia Alfano firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Lunn email@example.com
416-392-4364 416-392-0552 416-392-6665
Tell Toronto cops to do their job.
Write to federal MP's and MPP's, bringing this matter to their attention. Send letters to editors of local media as well as international media. Spread the word!