I have spent a great deal of time, since returning from Venice, consulting with members of my profession, my elders, my community, and the clients in communities that I am serving. I see UNCEDED as a great opportunity for the nations of the world to see the tremendous contribution our indigenous people can make to the world family.

It is the indigenous architects and planners, with their roots in the natural rhythms of the lands and waters, their symbiotic relationship with nature, combined with their knowledge and wisdom of all the latest technology and tools available, that will allow them to make a great contribution to mankind in the future by sharing this knowledge in order to take a more responsible role in living in harmony with our host, this amazing blue planet, the Earth, for all life should be held sacred and protected.

I see the exhibition as providing an insight to the international community of how we evolved on our land for thousands of years, based on our symbiotic relationship with the land itself, following our basic principles. The seven basic teachings of the Anishinaabe people are Love, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Wisdom, Humility, and Truth. Our language, culture, and ceremonies are all considered by the people to be based on natural law, in communion with creation. Our mothers on this earth were deeply connected to Mother Earth and the cycles of the moon and the sun. They devoted their lives to teaching the children, the next generations, that the soft power of love is greater than the hard power of force. In doing so, the men were brought up with a reverence for the women, and a reverence and connection for all life around them. Given the circumstances of today, these teachings are even more relevant to the future of our people and the future of humanity in general.

The tremendous hardship and destruction of our land, resources, language, culture, families, communities, and nations, and how we have survived through our strength and resiliency, are great teachings that reinforce our own basic beliefs, and make us even more determined to govern ourselves and our resources in a good way, following the teachings of our ancestors.

Indigenous people have never surrendered themselves, their children, their future, their language, their culture, nor their land. They remain UNCEDED people on UNCEDED land, offering to share their teachings with their brothers and sisters of all nations at the Venice Biennale

It is here at this Biennale in Venice that we can create an image of our indigenous people as a Phoenix rising from the ashes, as the eagle soaring into the future. We can present our work to show how our architecture is a reflection of the spiritual values of our culture, which we can share with the human family. The planning of our communities is sustainable, respecting our mother, the Earth, so that we can continue our role as stewards of the land and set a good example in the interest of our future seven generations.

Douglas Cardinal



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