FEATURE: Ottawa Festival to Hold Open Forum on Respectful Responsible Land Use; seriously refreshing

Unlike many megaplex corporate festivals, the land they stomp on for the time they’re there means little to them, if at all.  Now, on it’s face, this comes across as a statement simply applied to how the site is maintained and left for future use, but questions of the land’s sacred status with its indigenous inhabitants rarely comes up in big bash boardrooms when deciding whether or not to stomp said land. That kind of business is bad for the bottom line.  Well, such a case has come up with the upcoming Arboretum Festival in Canada’s capital city Ottawa and their use of Albert Island as its 2015 weekend venue, and this festival is taking action to make sure everyone understands how special this site really is.  They have planned open discussions between the public, developers, and First Nation leaders to examine its sacred nature.

Wow.  For the first time in a very long time, I’m proud of a festival in this city.  Sure, there have been some good programming decisions at a few, but mostly not.  And, not once have I learned of an open forum to discuss the importance of the land we stand on, because frankly, all of Ottawa is sacred land, and we all need to treat it with a heck of a lot of respect.  You might not feel you need to get out and actively speak on behalf of the land you live, but at least think about it from time to time and remember the People who nurtured it so well so as you and I could inhabit it today.  Below is a listing of Talks scheduled for Saturday, August 22 as part of Arboretum Festival.  We here at rockandrolljunkie.com applaud organizers for taking the time to show the land they are using with the respect it deserves, and you should too. – FATS

2015 TALKS

Saturday August 22 / FREE / All Ages

12:00 Unceded Ottawa: the Algonquin and the Outaouais

The purpose of this public conversation is to enlighten our audience to the history and relationship of the Algonquin to the Outaouais region. We will hear ideas from a grand body of thought regarding our nation’s past, the land, the water, development, and how we can move society as a whole towards a more egalitarian and compassionate present.


Chief Kirby Whiteduck – Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation
Verna McGregor (Minwaashin Lodge) – Kitigan Zibi Anishinabe
Albert Dumont (Spiritual Advisor, writer, public speaker) – Kitigan Zibi Anishinabe
Josée Bourgeois (Powwow dancer, Memengweshii Council) – Pikwàkanagàn

Moderator: TBA

13:30 DISCUSSION: If You Build It

Cultural, Social and Environmental Responsibility in Modern Development

The world continues to grow; neighbourhoods, like people, are born and pass. In an age of depleting resources, economic instability, and near environmental collapse, what is the role and responsibility of the modern developer? Can new neighbourhoods afford positive social change to our increasingly complex and crowded society? In Canada, the definition of an urban community didn’t include First Nations people, further entrenching segregation with the non-First Nations populations. In relation to this year’s festival site, Albert Island, there are multiple visions for its development, questions of deep cultural significance, and real economic barriers to its environmental remediation. In this panel, moderator Ian Capstick asks our panel of esteemed guests to weigh in on these, and many other vital questions.

Greg Searle (One Planet Communities Program/Bioregional North America)
Wanda Thusky (Pikwàkanagàn / Memengweshii Council)
Rodney Wilts (Windmill Development)
Victoria Tenasco (Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg / Wabano Center for Aboriginal Health)

Moderator: Ian Capstick (MediaStyle, CBC Power & Politics)

15:00 DISCUSSION: Islands In The Stream

Reconnecting with Music in the Age of Infinite Access

Never in the history of human civilization have we had such tremendous access to music and recorded sound. Our ancestors, of only a few centuries ago, shared perhaps no more than a few dozen songs among their communities. Each song had historical relevance, and perhaps ceremonial/celebratory functions. Now, a 90’s R&B playlist of hundreds of songs may define your dinner party; a media player packed with thousands of songs might accompany a road trip; you may even be in the process of selling your physical recordings to stream 100 lifetimes worth of music for the price of one pint of beer a month. With all this choice, and social media rapidly shifting our sense of community and the perceived need for human contact, is music’s role changing? Does infinite choice dilute music’s meaning? How do we now commune with music in our day to day lives? What if all that choice disappeared one day?

For ARB2015’s closing panel, we bring together three notable champions of new music to explore this vast topic, and perhaps uncover the roots of our unalienable connection to organized sound.


Laurie Brown (Host, CBC Radio 2 The Signal)
Marie-Claire LeBlanc Flanangan (Executive Director, Weird Canada)
Alanna Stewart (Host, CBC Music – Singer/Songwriter Bonjay)

Moderator: Rolf Klausener (Creative Director, Arboretum Festival)