Our LogoOur Vision for the Village

Key components of the project will deliver certified education opportunities, create numerous job opportunities, develop a network of reciprocity for knowledge, food, medicines, art and crafts, tools, building materials, and more. It will also nourish pro-eco business ideas and franchise prospects by encouraging the growth of other similar villages across Turtle Island.

The main Ginawaydaganuc Village design will feature five buildings (one round plus four two-story oval/oblong-shaped) constructed with sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and topped with living green rooves.

Our vision sees each building located perpendicular to each other, with the Elder’s lodge in the centre. Pathways that lead between and around the buildings are lined with gardens of flowers and herbal medicines, and dotted with cozy areas to relax, eat, play and learn. The village's unique visual design and amenities will make it a huge tourist attraction as well as a highly valued service provider for the community.

Living rooves were chosen because of their carbon-negative construction, which meet our goal to have a positive impact on the health of the planet. Rooftop gardens provide oxygen, homes for pollinators, food, and medicine, as well as incredible visual appeal. These eco-structures will inspire the kind of change needed to save our planet.

For as long as mankind has been flying in airplanes, we have looked down on our Mother Earth and watched her frightening, increasingly rapid change from green to grey as forests are destroyed to make way for cities, roads and unhealthy agricultural practices. We believe there is still time to turn the tide and change the way we interact with this planet. She is resilient, but very vulnerable and in great danger unless we make drastic changes to the way we live and work on Her.

This is what Ginawaydagnuc Village strives to do. Imagine looking down from an airplane, knowing that you are helping to turn the tide from grey back to green again as people take on the habit of building their houses with living roofs. And why on Earth not? They're beautiful, far better for the environment, have higher R value, and once properly installed, require minimal maintenance! 

From root to tip, everything about this business hub will endeavour to set a positive example for the changes that are possible when we all come together with one mind, one heart and one purpose to live and work in harmony with our environment. We believe that these are the actions that will assist in the creation a culture of peace and hope, as was the vision of our beloved Algonquin Elder, the late Grandfather William Commanda.

About The Name - "Ginawaydaganuc" (pronounced Jin-away-dag-a-nuk)

We chose the name Ginawaydaganuc Village to honour Grandfather William Commanda. He taught that the essence of this Algonquin word means ‘we/all things are connected’. The Spirit of Ginawaydaganuc speaks to our intrinsic relationship to Mother Earth — Her land, air and waters — as well as to the cosmos, and, of course, to each other. Ginawaydaganuc is the thread that connects ALL cultures, ALL peoples, and ALL things together. This project is about acknowledging and honouring that connection, as well as channeling and anchoring the kind constructive energies and tools we need for humanity to live and work together in harmony towards a better future.

About The Logo - "The Sacred Nest"

"The Sacred Nest" is the name of the drawing that was used for the Ginawaydaganuc logo. It is a visionary piece that was created by Karen Bisson in 1998. It is a deeply meaningful piece with a similar message. It was also instrumental in guiding the architectural design for the village.

"A framed copy of this image was the very first gift I ever gave Grandfather William on the day I first met him in person." ~ Karen Bisson

Blackfoot Architect Douglas Cardinal

Born in 1934 in Calgary, Alberta, his architectural studies at The University of British Columbia took him to Austin, Texas, where he achieved his architectural degree and found a life experience in human rights initiatives. Douglas then became a forerunner of philosophies of sustainability, green buildings and ecologically designed community planning. His architecture springs from his observation of Nature and its understanding that everything works seamlessly together.

In recognition of such work, Douglas Cardinal has received many national and international awards including: 20 Honorary Doctorates, Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia, and an award from United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) for best sustainable village. He was also titled an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards given to a Canadian, and he was awarded the declaration of being “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” by the International Association of Architects.

Douglas Cardinal is one of the visionaries of a new world; a world where beauty, balance and harmony thrive, where client, architect, and stakeholder build together with a common vision. 

On behalf of everyone involved in the Ginawaydaganuc Village project, we extend our immense gratitude to Douglas Cardinal and his team for creating the architectural plans for Ginawaydaganuc Village.  Words cannot express how grateful we are for bringing our vision closer to reality! Chi miigwetch!

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Our Board of Directors


Barb Brant

Executive director
Cultural Administrator

Elder Barb Brant of the Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation of Tyendinaga, serves as Elder for several federal government reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and policy development initiatives, including:

  • Kumik Elders Lodge
  • Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry
  • Beyond Canada 150

Barb was mentored by Elders' Sara Smith and Tom Porter, and she has 25 years experience in Indigenous education.

John Henri Commanda

Executive director

John Henri Commanda is Anishinaabe (Ojibway) of the Eagle Clan, and is a member of Dokis First Nation. He is also President of Mahingan Consulting, a firm that offers Indigenous Awareness Training to employers and employees in both private and public sectors in the National Capital Region. He has over 35 years of work experience with the federal government, including several Aboriginal empowerment initiatives in the public service. He has also served the larger community as president of two Friendship Centres.

Karen Bisson

Interim C.E.O. 

Karen Bisson is an Eastern Métis (mixed blood) with Wendat and Mi’kmaq ancestry. She was the founder and C.E.O. of Turtle Lodge Trading Post Inc., which has been serving the community since 2006. She has a deep calling for the work she is doing, a lifelong passion for herbalism, and over 35 years of experience in accounting and business management as well as graphics and web design. Her diverse portfolio, enthusiasm and eagerness to jump in and help where needed has paved the way for decades of amazing experiences, including working closely with Algonquin Elder William Commanda and his organization Circle of All Nations during the final decade of his amazing life.