Algonquin storyteller talks about Queen, reconciliation at Ottawa funeral service

An Algonquin storyteller from Kitigan Zibi who is the City of Ottawa’s poet laureate reflected on Queen Elizabeth’s role in reconciliation on Monday.

“The horrors committed against Indigenous Peoples of British colonized lands by past monarchs will be spoken about around the council fire of the spirit land,” Albert Dumont said at a funeral service for the late monarch in Ottawa. “The Queen will at that time renounce the brutality of the past.”

The Queen died Sept. 8 after a 70-year reign.

Politicians past and present, a former governor general, and a number of prominent artists and musicians were some of the guests at the service.

During his address, Dumont also noted Elizabeth’s ability to relate to everyday people.

“The Queen, her greatness, her ability to emotionally connect with the common people, her desire to make the world cleaner and safer are truths she carries with her now into the great land of souls,” he said.

Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson spoke about the Queen’s important role in establishing Canada’s modern constitution and charter of rights.

“In 1982, Queen Elizabeth II came and signed the patriation of our constitution for which Canadians had worked for decades,” she said. “We gained our charter of rights and freedoms. Canadians will always remember the Queen for coming to sign over to us what is rightfully ours.”

Renowned Cree playwright Thomson Highway played piano at the service and Canadian musician Rufus Wainwright sang the famous Leonard Cohen ballad Hallelujah.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Governor General Mary Simon, Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Inuit Tapiritt Kanatami President Nathan Obed and Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron all attended a funeral service for the Queen in London earlier in the day.