People of Pikwakanagan
The following acknowledges the accomplishments of some of our distinguished members:
Anthony (August) Commanda
Cliff Meness is a lover of fine old cars and has re-modeled a number of antique and retro vehicles. He has traveled far and wide displaying his cars at shows and meetings. Cliff has the longest standing record for the position of Chief in the community with a total of 12 years starting back in November of 1978 and ending September 1993. Cliff also works for the community Fire and Rescue Department.
Lisa Meness was the honoured recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal, a commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II's 50th anniversary on the throne. Lisa was awarded the medal for her significant contributions to Canada, the community and to her fellow Canadians. Lisa was the second elected female Chief in the history of this community. She sat on Council for eight years prior.
Seventeen-year-old Wade Kohoko, a grade 12 student at Opeongo High School went to Rome to visit the Vatican. Wade was chosen to be a Member of the Official Canadian Delegation, to participate in the Palm Sunday 2003 activities at the Vatican. The activities culminated with the Palm Sunday Liturgy and the 18th World Youth Day with the Holy Father.
Reg Meness has been tapping maple trees here in the community for over 5 years. Along with his wife Ghislaine they tap thirty soft maple trees, just enough to produce maple syrup for their home. Inside their little sugar shack giant metal pots are filled to the brim with the clear sap boiling down to syrup. The ratio of sap to completed syrup is about 40 to 1. So even if all 30 buckets fill with sap, they will only produce one bucket of maple syrup. They still produce their maple syrup the traditional way.
Gerry Benoit plays both recreational and competitive basketball and participated in the 2002 North American Indigenous Games for Team Ontario. Gerry is six foot five inches and describes himself as a small forward with offensive skills. He has been playing basketball for over 20 years in leagues in North Bay, Pembroke and Ottawa. He coaches the Boys and Girls Youth team in the community. He plans on taking the team to Ottawa for a tournament in November, to North Bay in the spring and hopefully host our own tournament in the region sometime between January and March 2004.
Jody Alexander graduated from the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program from Queen’s University with a Diploma in Education and a Certificate of Qualification as a teacher. Jody is interested in teaching her own people and wants to teach non-native children more about Algonquin culture and history. She is currently teaching Junior Kindergarten in Eganville District Public School and works as a supply teacher for schools all over Renfrew county.
Kirby Whiteduck is the author of 'Algonquin Traditional Culture'. Published in 2002, the book details the traditional culture of the Algonquins of the Kitchissippi Valley at the early period of European contact.The book was produced by the Council of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan and the author. Kirby holds a B.A. (Hon.) in Anthropology from York University.
Wearing the number 24 jersey, Adam Bernard, plays hockey for the Lindsay Muskies. The Muskies are an Eastern Division Ontario Provincial Junior "A" Hockey Club. Adam stands at 6 foot tall and weighs 180 pounds. Adam plays right wing and has scored 8 goals and 10 assists in 14 games.
Aimee Bailey earned a diploma in Arts & Science at Algonquin College, studied Humanities & Psychology at York University and received an Honours Bachelor of Arts in 1989. She studied her culture in theory and through personal experience for approx. 40 years.
In the early 1990’s she lived in Manitoba and worked at Winnipeg’s first Aboriginal high school. She started a women’s group in Portage la Praire and later was the founding Executive Director of the first Aboriginal Head Start program in Canada.
In 1997 she was involved in forming the Circle of Turtle Lodge, an Aboriginal women’s group dedicated to promoting women’s wellness by restoring culture. Here, she authored Anishnabe 101: what you need to know to begin your journey on the Red Road.
In 2002, Aimee and her husband established a gift shop, the Algonquin Trading Post. It is located in downtown Deacon and educates customers and tourists about authentic Aboriginal arts & crafts.
Since 2006 she has been the Executive Director of Omàmiwininì Pimàdjwowin (OP), pronounced [oh-mam-ee-wih-nin-ee pih- mahj-woe-win]. OP’s mission is to revive, enhance and protect the traditional culture of the Algonquin nation.
Stephanie Sarazin was trained in Fashion Design and Apparel Production at Fanshaw College in London. As a young entrepreneur Stephanie designs Native based fashions and has been instrumental in the design and creation of numberous regalia for community members. She has been a winner of the Aboriginal Design Award.
Bradly Dreamwalker MacDonald
Bradly Dreamwalker MacDonald worked in the American aerospace industry but grew disillusioned with his work and returned home to find new direction. In 1982 he was asked by family elders to creatively direct his talents for the betterment of all peoples. Since then he has focused his energies as a fine artist and mentor. His art work currently on display in galleries and museums includes oils, mixed media and sculpture. See his works of art at: www.dreamwalkerfinearts.com
Pete Bernard is an Algonquin Shaman who provides healing services at Pikwakanagan, the National Capital Area of Ottawa-Gatineau, and in Brockville and other locations by request. He has studied and practiced Shamanism for most of his life, in both the Algonquin (Djaskid, or Tent Shaker) and Inka Traditions, and provides people with various forms of Spiritual Healing & Energy Medicine to deal with emotional, spiritual, and physical wounds or conditions, in order to bring about healing into their lives. Pete provides Shamanic Healing Services to Elders, Youth, and all members of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, along with anyone else who requests a session, usually by appointment. See his website at: www.algonquinshaman.com
Ron Bernard was a Recipient of the 2005 Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Awards. Ron received the award in recognition of his untiring efforts to revive Algonquin culture and language.
Dylan Willet Smoke
Erin is a cultural performer, athlete and has succeeded academically. She performed in the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Games. She carried the Olympic torch in Golden Lake.
She was part of the Georgian College's Women's Cross Country Team for two years. She was awarded the Athletic and Academic Award - Georgian College 2009 which is presented to students with 80% average or higher while participating in a varsity sport.
Selected to represent Team Ontario at two North American Indigenous Games. 2008 - Cowichan BC - Awarded one bronze, and several 4th place finishes in Track and Field . 2006 - Denver CO - Awarded one bronze in Track and Field.
Represented Pikwakanagan at 2 Ontario Aboriginal Games. 2007 - Thunder Bay, ON - Awarded 8 Gold Medals in Track and Field. 2005 - Sudbury ON - Awarded 4 Gold Medals.
High School - Awarded Top Graduating Aboriginal Student, Top Student Pursuing Business in Post-Secondary, Ontario Scholars Award, Opeongo Spirit Award. Also awarded several ribbons in Track and Field and Cross Country, and also one gold medal for Cross Country at EOSSA.