The Seven Gifts
– Oglala Sioux Holy Man. The Great Vision of Black Elk.
The Seven Gifts is an accessible, educational art installation in Riverfront Park (321 Spring Street, Almonte) on the Mississippi River. It celebrates the cultural and spiritual beliefs and practices of the Algonquin Anishinaabe People, practices which had been outlawed by the Canadian government until 1951. The process of creating it is a cooperative one between an Indigenous and non-Indigenous artist supported by MMAMR to reflect the nature of the Truth and Reconciliation process. The artists are Deborah Arnold, stone carver, and Nish Nabie, wood carver. Elder Larry McDermott, an Algonquin of the Shabot Obaadijiwan First Nation is the Indigenous advisor for the project.
Mississippi Mills All My Relations (MMAMR) is delighted to report that we have reached our fundraising goal of $130,000 for our Truth and Reconciliation project! The generous support of individuals, businesses and organizations in our community has been vital in helping us reach this goal. We would also like to acknowledge the funding received through the many grants of $5,000 or more that aided in this immense project to come to fruition. These include the Canada Legacy Fund, Canada Community Revitalization and Recovery Fund, Anglican Diocese Healing & Reconciliation Fund, Anglican Foundation of Canada, the United Church of Canada Justice and Reconciliation Fund and the Almonte Civitan Club.
This public art installation is part of the accessible Wellness Walk sponsored by Age Friendly North Lanark under the umbrella of Carebridge. We are very grateful to this group who inspired us to pursue the vision for this incredible project. We also are most grateful for the other organizations who have been engaged with us in its planning and development: St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Almonte United Church, Sivarulrasa Gallery, The Textile Museum, Plenty Canada, the WRC construction company and the Municipality of Mississippi Mills Bicentennial Committee.
A special thank you to the numerous volunteers who worked many hours keeping this project moving forward. The Seven Gifts is anticipated to be completed by mid-September. On Friday, September 15th, the Sivarulrasa Gallery will host a ‘Meet the Artists’ event where people can come and view the wooden animal totems created by Nish Nabie as well as meet all of the artists involved in the creation of the Seven Gifts installation including Nish Nabie, Deborah Arnold, Darlene McLeod and Dale Dunning. On the afternoon of Sunday, September 17th, The Seven Gifts will be unveiled in Riverfront Estates park and the public is invited to come and share in the ceremony led by Elder Larry McDermott. This event will also celebrate this grassroots step towards restoring friendship and trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in our area.
Once the installation is complete and an interpretive sign erected, our hope is to develop several different educational, audio/visual presentations about the Grandfather teachings, the history of the Algonquin people and the installation itself. These will be accessible through a QR code at the site. To help support this phase, we will continue to accept donations.
Again, thank you to everyone who had a hand in making this happen! Merci! Migwetch!