Woman holding sacred ceremony on Victoria Island vows not to leave

An Ottawa-area woman says the National Capital Commission will have to have her arrested if it wants her to leave the camp site where she's been holding a sacred ceremony in honour of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission has priority on island starting Monday, NCC says

Susan Martin has been conducting a sacred ceremony on Victoria Island on the Ottawa River for nearly a month in honour of missing and murdered aboriginal women. (CBC News)

An Ottawa-area woman says the National Capital Commission will have to have her arrested if it wants her to leave the camp site where she's been holding a sacred ceremony in honour of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Susan Martin has been keeping a sacred fire at the site on Victoria Island, located on the Ottawa River, for 29 days.

Martin's daughter, Terrie Ann Dauphinais, was found murdered in her home in Calgary in 2002. Her case remains unsolved. (CBC News)
Martin lives with her husband only 10 minutes away from the camp site. Her decision to hold a ceremony was also inspired by the death of her own daughter.

In April 2002, 24-year-old Terrie Ann Dauphinais was found dead on the floor of her Calgary home when a relative stopped by to visit.

The homicide, now a cold case, remains unsolved.

"I was suicidal. I was suicidal for a long time," Martin said. "After four years I couldn't take the pain anymore. And I went away, and I worked with a shaman and two elders up by Heron Lake to get me back.

"I'll never be that woman I was 13 years ago," she said. "I'm an advocate. I speak for the murdered and missing women."

Truth and Reconciliation Commission 

The National Capital Commission said that starting Monday, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has priority over the island.

I know what I'm doing is right.- Susan Martin

For years, the commission has toured the country to hear from Indian residential school survivors. The commission is taking over the area to set up for its closing ceremonies slated to run from May 31 to June 3.

Martin said an NCC employee showed up on Friday and told her she had four hours to leave. Martin refused.

On Saturday, the NCC sent its aboriginal liaison to the island to explain the NCC's position to Martin.

"I want them to have their ceremony. That's a great cause and they need to close it in a proper fashion," Martin said.

"But this is also a great cause, too. I can't see why we can't coincide together. ... I'm going to talk to the elder and see if he agrees."

Martin said the only way she's leaving is in handcuffs. 

"I know what I'm doing is right. No one has that right to take that away from any of us," she said.