As an Algonquin spiritual advisor, Albert Dumont is used to thinking deeply about what it means for someone to die – but as he prepares to pay his respects to Queen Elizabeth at the memorial in Ottawa on Monday , he is thinking about more complicated emotions than usual.
He told CTV National News: “It was difficult because the history was not good.
On one hand, Queen Elizabeth II was a human being, and he felt the pain of those mourning her loss, he said.
And yet, in that grief, the bigger picture of the Monarchy’s deadly reach cannot be forgotten.
“It made me reflect on past history with the Monarchy,” he said. “Just to give you an example, John A Macdonald – I call him John A” killing the Indian in the child “Macdonald – was knighted by the monarchy, and I will never be able to. understand that.”
Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, authorized the establishment of residential schools with the express intention of suppressing Indigenous cultures, languages, and identities. Thousands of children are subjected to horrific physical and sexual abuse at these schools, and thousands more never survive.
“Anyone involved in the deaths of thousands of children is, to me, more of a monster than anything else,” Dumont said.
Since Queen Elizabeth II’s death 10 days ago, many natives in Canada, and others affected by the colonial legacy of the Monarchy, have experienced these complex feelings.
On Monday, Dumont will put some of them into words.
A national memorial service in honor of Queen Elizabeth II will take place at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa starting at 1 p.m. after a memorial parade through the downtown area.
During the ceremony, a large number of speakers, musicians and performers will take to the stage to honor and remember the late monarch.
Dumont, who is also Ottawa’s British Poet, is one of those prepared to undertake a tribute, a task he has given great thought to.
“The death of a loved one is difficult for any family, isn’t it? Someone is loved and suddenly, they are no longer there. So I have a heart for everyone when they lose someone special,” he said. “So my tribute speaks to that loss.”
He said his tribute would acknowledge that, because of the Queen’s position, her death affected more groups of people than just her immediate family, with memorials stretching across the country. national ministry.
“I talk about it at the memorial service to bring comfort to them,” he said, referring to those affected by the Queen’s death. “Because it’s just work that I connect with as a spiritual advisor.
“But I also feel the need to speak about the horrors of past monarchs, past monarchs and the atrocities involved. I tried to do it eloquently and in a way that people who love the Queen wouldn’t be really upset, because no one is perfect.”
The death of a figure as powerful as the Queen provoked mixed reactions, even among Dumont herself – he noted that when it comes to the Queen’s down-to-earth personality, “it’s hard not to like her, because she is so sweet.
“She is so cute. You know, she’s so gentle and kind. She really connects with the people at the facility,” said Dumont.
He felt that she seemed as peaceful around an ordinary person as around dignitaries and prime ministers.
“One of my sisters is a huge admirer of the Queen,” he added. “Whenever the Queen comes to Canada and sits around Ottawa, my sister makes time to go see her, just to blend in with the crowd. She will be there soon to be on the front lines so she can greet the Queen. “
Dumont herself has never attempted to meet the Queen during one of her visits.
When he heard the news of her passing earlier this month, he immediately started thinking about how to write his tribute.
“I went into the woods, into the lake, even picked wild raspberries, because for me it was a time of deep reflection for me,” he said. “And some good things have happened and I think whenever you read or hear compliments, I think you’ll like it. I know I do. And I’m pretty sure Canadians who love the Queen will love it too.”
He explains that death is not the end of his belief that the contradictions in the Queen’s legacy can now be resolved.
“As a spiritual counselor, I know that no one escapes justice,” he said. “The wrong things of the past will catch up with you in the spiritual place. I dedicate a small paragraph to that in my tribute, and hope that the Queen will sit on the council bonfire and renounce the terrors of past kings in the spiritual realm.
“The physical heart stops beating here, but there is another heart that begins to beat in the eternal spiritual place.”
As for how the Monarchy has faced past crimes to this day, he is not sure if an apology to the natives of Canada has ever come from King Charles III, but he hopes hope that.
“It’s normal and natural for anyone to hurt someone else to one day apologize, so to speak, I’m so sorry for hurting you,” he said.
He noted that Indigenous people have had to appeal for an apology from the Catholic Church for decades, including meeting with former popes, before Pope Francis finally arrives in Canada this summer to send sorry on Canadian soil.