ANISHINAABE ELDER, SPIRITUAL LEADER, CANOE MAKER OJIGKWANONG (WILLIAM COMMANDA) DIED
Named “Morning Star” by his mother, Commanda was born in River Desert Indian Reserve (now Kitigan-Zibi) on November 11, 1913. While a master at building birchbark canoes, his spiritual presence was international. Serving as Band Chief of the Kitigan-zibi First Nation from 1951 to 1970, he was guardian of the sacred wampum belts, including the wampum of the Seven Prophecies, considered a founding document of the Algonquin Nation. In his later years, Commanda was the spiritual leader of an international peace movement, the Circle of Nations. He met the Dalai Lama in 1990 and Nelson Mandela in 1998. In 2008, he received the Order of Canada. Commanda worked until his final days to preserve sacred spaces. He died at the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg reserve. “. . . Algonquin people will have an everlasting memory of a great man dedicated to defending his people and to the protection of the environment,” said Vice Grand Chief of the Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council, Marlene Jerome.
Source: Kristy Nease, Kristy, "Algonquin spiritual leader dead at 97," National Post, 8/3/2011. Retrieved 7/9/2019, https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/algonquin-spiritual-leader-dead-at-97#more-83238 Photo: Carol Noel, 8/4/2011. Permissive Use pursuant to the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en.