Pikwakangan – Like other First Nations, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation will not be celebrating Canada Day, but they are asking neighbours to join them in a candlelight vigil and drumming ceremony around the lake that evening. “We are calling it Light Up the Lake,” Communications Officer Lisa Meness explained. “We will have the big drums on the lake and will be sending healing songs and drums to our friends and neighbours.”
However, she stressed they are asking people not to come to Pikwakangan because of COVID distancing measures, but rather participate at their home, cottage or dock.
She said while the community is not celebrating Canada Day, they wanted to do something for the community and something with their neighbours, specifically around the lake on July 1. She said since the discovery of the bodies of children in unmarked graves at a former residential school in British Columbia and later more bodies at a former school in Saskatchewan people have been reaching out to the community of Pikwakanagan asking what they can do to show solidarity and support.
“People want to know how they can support us,” she said.
In a release from the band, the community acknowledged the sincere sympathies being extended to the community and members.
“In this difficult time of sorrow and disbelief, your condolences mean the world to us, and we need to say Chi-Meegwetch,” the release stated.
Ms. Meness said realizing many people want to help but don’t know how, they decided to have a “Light Up The Lake” event around Golden Lake.
“This is a combination of Algonquin drum and candlelight vigil,” she explained.
The community is gathering along the shores of Golden Lake at Pikwakanagan to honour the lost souls of the many children who did not return home from residential schools.
The event will begin at 8:30 along the shores of the lake closest to the cultural grounds. At that time, the drums and songs will go out “sending healing songs to everyone,” she explained.
Those who wish to participate are asked to light a candle or light on their dock, beach or property. She said they are hopeful the sound of the drums will be heard across the lake.
Because of distancing issues and COVID protocols she said they are not encouraging people to come to Pikwakangan, but to participate from their homes around the lake. The community is also having a private time of social and drumming before the “Light Up The Lake” event begins. Following this they will be walking together to the shores of the lake for the lights and drumming.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader