How does an atheist write about the death of a great spiritual leader. It would be hypocritical to use the conventional references to his passing on to a greater place or going to meet his creator. But there is nothing hypocritical in speaking of his spirit living on, for it will in his works and accomplishments and his teachings and especially in those he inspired to carry them on in the future.
I have never personally met Grandfather William but I know people that have and I can attest to how inspired they were by him, as I was indirectly, and I know they will carry on his spirit and teachings.
Grandfather William was a man of the land, who understood and loved the land, and was a friend of the South March Highlands who recognized it as the special place that it is and declared it sacred. As an atheist I may not understand "sacred" the same way Grandfather William did but I understand just how special the land that sustains us all is and especially that very special place in Ottawa known as the South March Highlands. All of us who know the land within the South March Highlands, and are working to protect it, have lost a true champion in the death of Grandfather William.
To Grandfather William I say Meegwetch.
A Message from William Commanda regarding the Proposed Development in South March Highlands
APTN News: ‘Grandfather’ Commanda, an Algonquin man of ‘wisdom’ and ‘inspiration’
Ottawa Citizen: William Commanda, Algonquin spiritual leader, dead at 97
Ottawa Citizen: Archival story: Morning Star's rise
CBC News: Algonquin elder William Commanda dies
CBC News: Keeper of the wampum: William Commanda, Algonquin elder