Medicine Garden Planted at Ottawa Mailbox Occupation Site

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Thursday June 25 2015

For Immediate Release

OTTAWA- Today, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers is planting sage, cedar, sweetgrass and tobacco at a large garden box it has installed at 193 Churchill Road, on the site where contractors poured a concrete mailbox slab in front of Lynda Kitchikeesic's picture window over two weeks ago.

The site has been occupied round the clock since June 9th by postal workers, neighbours, friends and allies who are supporting Kitchikeesic in her fight against a so-called 'community' mailbox in front of her tiny bungalow.

“Community is what happens when people across the country say 'No' to these unnecessary cuts in creative, caring ways,” said Mike Palecek, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

In many Indigenous traditions, sage, cedar, tobacco and sweetgrass are considered to have healing, purification, protection and strengthening properties.

"Our relationship with these plants is a large part of First Nations spirituality," said Kitchikeesic.

Kitchikeesic plans to harvest the plants from the box to make medicine bags for the Flotillas for Friendship she organizes every summer. The initiative aims to bring Indigenous kids and police officers together to try to improve relations.

"I've always wanted a place to grow my medicines for the flotillas," said Kitchikeesic.  She is glad the garden will take the place of the mailbox.

"It's making something good out of something bad."

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On-site interviews will be available from 11 am EST on.

For more information, please contact Aalya Ahmad, CUPW Communications – aahmad@cupw-sttp.org or 613-327-1177.