I was out side the Missing & Murdered inquiry today at the corner of Granville & Georgia.
I was there as people started drumming, smudging creating a sacred space.
The more I dive both feet in, the depth of spirituality and connectedness to mother earth that is the root of Aboriginal people’s worldview & faith the more I realize I have none. Connectedness to the land I mean, to the cycles of nature, roots that go down to the core of the earth.
My Dad is not from this country, my mother is 2nd(maybe3rd) generation Canadian and my Grandmother had deep respect for Aboriginal peoples & culture and I remember her teaching it to us, but I don’t recall my parents telling me stories that connected me to something bigger, about a lineage that went as far back as the original stories told by wise elders. Granted I think my Dad didn’t want to talk about his history, I don’t think it was something he wanted to revisit.
But I feel… rootless.
I have a faith, I am a Christ follower but it does not teach me the cycles of the fish & game, the ways to render bear fat and turn it into a salve for eczema. How to let the land provide and treat it with the reverence she deserves.
Yes, earth is a she. Mother Nature.
Women have high esteem in Aboriginal cultures, we are the life givers.
In Christianity, I know we are not held in the reverence we deserve. Some teach we are to be subservient of men, as if God made me less than a man. I am pretty positive he didn’t, Jesus showed a radical new way of treating women. Somehow that got lost in the teachings.
The places & lands I am honoured to go, the ceremonies I partake in, the Grandmothers who teach me their wisdom, in some ways teach me in some ways how hollow we have made God.
As if God is somehow only wrapped up in consumerism, consumption, misogyny, racism (that’s what it’s called when you partake in a genocide, like the church did with aboriginal peoples) judgement, and making sure everyone knows their sins as if the church it’s self has none. Let’s face it when people think of the church they think of people who do a lot of finger pointing to outsiders, but never inward at themselves. That said, I do see God in a lot of things the church does, I do, my friends do, my community does but unfortunately those tend to not be the things the church is known for by those outside of the church.
I love my God. I know Jesus is a part of my every heartbeat.
But my aboriginal friends have taught me something deeper, something I need to pass onto my son who is Nak’azdl from the Carrier Nation in Northern BC, in fact all my children. A connection to the land that values it. He (we) needs to be connected to this land and ways of living on it that have been passed down from his grandmother from her grandmother from her grandmother since time immemorial.
It is an amazing and powerful feeling to be around peoples who talk of stories about ravens, fish, berries and traditions handed down for as long back as history can be traced.
Yet, we came here.. I mean that as a communal we, anyone not First Nations. We partake in racism and marginalization everyday without even realizing it, our laws are set up to keep us from recognizing it. Trust me our history books don’t teach it, remember they were written by the colonizers. Social policy keeps the line divided between “us” & “them” one must seek out the issue to see it, it is so well hidden and kept from view. I think this pic captures what many in society think
You can also see the pic on my Facebook page in case it’s not clear enough.
As I have sat in court last week listening to the horrors or residential school and why grandmothers & mothers mistrust the RCMP & police. They mistrust because as the Indian Agents invaded their homelands and stole their little children, throwing them into cattle cars to be taken to residential schools where the aim was to “kill the indian in the child” the RCMP were instructed by the Indian Agents to hit hands hard enough to break, so the women, mothers, grandmothers, aunties would let go and stop climbing up the sides of the car desperate to get their children back.
Sit with that.
It happened in Canada.
In our lifetime.
The last residential school closed in when?
Do you know?
When do you think?
The 70’s? 80’s?60″s?
The last residential school, White Calf Collegiate, was closed in 1996.
Yup. 17 years ago.
This is not ancient history, this is recent history
As a Christian I do not try to defend the Church, defending it to someone who’s culture, family, essence, land and much more was stolen seems trite. As a faith rooted person I must sit with the hate deservingly aimed at the church, yes the church does some great stuff however it does not negate our responsibility for what happened. I cannot be uncomfortable with it. I must acknowledge it and own it, even though it was not me personally.
I noticed the division based on skin color years ago. When I was in group homes with aboriginal youth, I could see how I was treated different.I knew when my dark skinned sisters were being hassled by the police I could step in and what I said carried a different weight because of my white skin, I knew then I always had to step in whenever I could.
I could see it when my friends kids were apprehended, but I was given many opportunities to keep mine and I did, I never lost custody of any of my children.
I knew as I met my friends aunties, cousins and elders from their homelands that they were a part of something I wanted. I could feel deep in my bones. Something bigger, something connected. When I was welcomed into everywhere my friends went and I was the only one with blue eyes, I knew I was being invited into something sacred.
As a caucasian appearing person I must sit with my “whiteness” and the privilege it gives me.
Most of all what I must do is to thank my sisters, the elders, the men who have tolerated my ignorant questions, rooted in a real desire to learn.
I must uphold what they teach me. I have to take it to places I get into and tell what they have told me.
I have to be accountable to my beautiful sisters with chocolate eyes, and deep connected souls and hair as black as a ravens’s feathers.
I have a pair of small moccasins that were given to me as a present when I presented in Quesnel, and I can sit for hours and smell the smokey smell that is worked into the hide as it cures and that smell to me, is what the universe smells like. To breathe it in, that smokey smell reminds me of the trees, the grass, the earth. The earth that provides all we need, that we also seem to be hell bent on killing.
I know though that the people who Turtle Island (Canada) rightfully belongs to have much to teach us, show us and we need to listen, need to learn. I do get scared somedays, if Turtle Island was turned over to it’s rightful owners would they kick us all out?! I couldn’t blame them, could you?
My sisters assure me that is not what they are asking, what the rightful owners of Turtle Island are asking is we respect them and the land, that their ways be valued and upheld, that we finally STOP seeing aboriginal-ness as a problem and start seeing it for what it is, the solution.
PS… here is a story I think is a necessary read