On Sept 30, 2022, Algonquin Spiritual Advisor and Elder Albert Dumont led the “Acknowledge the Truth” Walk, to raise awareness about the truth of John A. Macdonald’s involvement in the creation of the residential school system and the ongoing pain that has resulted from his actions, and to ask the National Capital Commission (NCC) to rename the Parkway. It was such a powerful event.  As Elder Dumont said, every step we took was part of a ceremony. Before the walk commenced, Elder Dumont invited us all to a smudging ceremony to help ensure that the walk would be done in a good way. Albert prayed and as he did, the circle got bigger and bigger. No one was left out. The relationship-building started then and there and it set the beautiful tone of love and connection and healing for the walk. I stood beside a Residential School Survivor who was brought to tears to see all of us coming together to support this cause, with the intention of moving forward in a good way, with an open heart.

Prior to the event, I went into two schools – Churchill Alternative School and Blue Whale Children’s Centre – to talk about the Acknowledge the Truth Walk with the awesome kids there. We talked about John A. Macdonald’s role in the creation of residential schools – how they were created to force Indigenous children to become like the white settlers by taking them away from their families so that they would lose their language, culture and identity. We talked about the continued intergenerational trauma that is occurring because of these schools. We also talked about the fact that this is not history because it is still happening today – that the ideas behind residential schools were just moved into the 60s Scoop – where 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their homes and adopted into white families between 1960-80. And how it is still happening now, with the over-representation of Indigenous children in foster care.

And then we talked about Reconciliation and ways we can work together to help make things better, to help everyone heal. And one of the ways that we can do this is to ensure that Indigenous people don’t have to drive along a road in their city that has the name of the person who has caused them so much harm, who tried to erase them. We talked about how an Indigenous child would feel if they had to take this road to school every morning. Would they feel loved and supported by the people in their community? Would they feel included? We all thought that they would not. The kids were then invited to sign one of our postcards asking the NCC to change the name of the John A. Macdonald Parkway to the Kichi Zibi Parkway (which is the Ottawa River Parkway in Algonquin).

This was completely voluntary – if the children felt moved to help after all this learning, then they took a postcard and wrote what was on their heart. You can see some of their beautiful words here.

At the Acknowledge the Truth Walk, we had more postcards signed – for a total of 352 that were ready to be delivered to the NCC. You can see samples of these beautiful postcards here.

We then presented these postcards to the NCC Board at their Annual Public Meeting on November 3, 2022. You can read more about this here. It was pretty much the most activist thing I have ever done, as we weren’t on the agenda, and technically they had said there weren’t to be any more questions!

At this meeting, we learned that the NCC has not actually made the decision to rename the Parkway. So, we have more work to do – we have to keep putting pressure on them, leading up to their January meeting, to convince them to make this change.

One thing that Educators can do to help is discuss this with your class and ask your students to sign a postcard.  I will share a short lesson plan with you for what I said with the two classes I visited, in the hopes that you are interested!


I started with a brief summary (as listed above) of why we want to change the name of the John A. Macdonald Parkway.

To provide more context about residential schools, I showed this very powerful video – Namwayut: we are all one. Truth and reconciliation in Canada

Then we read through a beautiful book, “Spirit Bear: Echoes of the Past”, written by Cindy Blackstock. You can find a PDF of this book on the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada’s website here. And you can purchase the book at our local bookstores – which I would also recommend doing!

Then I invited kids to sign the postcards if they felt so inspired. We have created a template for Educators to print out for their classes – it has two postcards per 8.5 x 11 page, that you can print out double sided, and then cut in half. We have created two PDFs for this – one with crop marks and one without, depending on your printer, one will work better than the other for you:

Final B&W Postcard – (with crop marks)

Final B&W Postcard – (no crop marks)

You can then put all the signed postcards together in an envelope and mail it to:

Attn: NCC Board Members
National Capital Commission
202–40 Elgin Street
Ottawa ON K1P 1C7

We have created this cover letter that you can use as is – or as inspiration – to be included with your postcards when you mail them to the NCC:

Cover Letter for Mailing Postcards

I know this is a lot! If you have any questions or comments while working through this, please feel free to email me at worldchangingkids@gmail.com