What is there to say about the year in review for the original peoples of this land wrongfully called Canada?
This year is just another genocidal cycle that seeks to obliterate or assimilate the original peoples. There are no highlights when the original people are in poverty in this land. There are no highlights when some of the original people do not have access to clean water, housing or jobs. Canada continues to oppress and bring harm to their relationship with the original peoples.
I began writing for the Two Row Times in May 2017 on education. Eight months later I was again writing on the Assembly of First Nation’s failure to protect the treaty and inherent right to education.
Education, for the original people who remember their responsibilities, is life-long learning. Education is not the restricted kindergarten to high school (k-12) box that mainstream uses. It is from this point that we begin and return. If the original people believe that “education” is a life-long exercise: then how is k-12 reflective of this assertion? It isn’t.
The year for the original people is not linear coupled with the few token announcements of an oppressive government clearing its conscience. The original people watch for signs including the first thunder and mark the seasons in acceptance of the work that they fulfill in accordance with Creator’s laws.
We review our time by how much we use our languages, who have we been able to help, and by how much have we followed the original ways of our forefathers, to the best of our ability. This is spiritual awareness. This is spiritual upkeep. This is spiritual wealth. We remember our language when we sing or are in ceremony. We hear the language of the land in the waters and winds. We hear the language of plants and animals. We are all related.
We count the blessings of good hunts, the distribution of meat or harvested goods. We think about laughter and the combined efforts to collect and share in the abundance of this land. We remember to be thankful.
We follow the land and our relations marking time in an honorable way that is not contained in colonized calendars. We follow the ancient paths of our ancestors. We walk on a road that brings us to our spiritual purpose. We are one with Creation.
We teach our children pride, history and resilience. Creator lends us these children so we try to bring them up in a good way. We acknowledge their journey with signs that are specific to our people. This may be their first meal, first steps, first laugh or later as they become maidens or warriors.
We honour the passing of our sages and kinsmen. We reflect on their contributions to the community, to the people. We walk into the next world with determination and conviction. These are the ways that have always existed for our people. These are the ways that were given to the original peoples. Can this be reconciled with linear thinking?
Mainstream society measures everything by money. There is great noise made in this land about economic wealth. This noise has ruptured the earth with drilling or blasting. This noise has corrupted the gentle lull of streams and rivers making them strangled murmurs or choked gurgling. This is not a natural sound. It is the manmade sound of greed and anger.
When the original people take stock of our lives in the colder months, we hear the quiet. We reflect. We pray and we are thankful. We are thankful to Creator that we have seen many seasons. We are thankful for the times spent as a family, clan or community. We prepare and offer so that our relationship with all Creation will remain harmonious. This is not linear thinking.
The harsh linear thinking of mainstream rushes to get instant answers. In technology, immediate responses raise expectations. There is no patience, no wonder, and no introspection. There is frustration, privilege and false importance. Real values of love, caring and kindness fall to the wayside. Success comes with destruction. Is this progress?
The word, that mainstream is using to finally fulfill their treaty and inherent obligations, is false. That word is reconciliation.
Is reconciliation possible without understanding?
The original people have been trying to teach the newcomers about our ways for five centuries. Have they learned? Have they learned to respect the land and waters? Have they learned to be thankful for the plants and animal life? Have they understood our worldview?
We hear from this mainstream government continuously about what they are doing to honour the relationship between the original peoples and themselves. How honorable is it if, after five centuries, we maintain the same relationship?
The spiritual understanding of the original people cannot be regulated to checking boxes or using meaningless words. The spiritual understanding of the original people is alive and in practice. This is why reconciliation is false.
There is no attachment or love for the land, waters and Creation where colonized thinking sees dollars. There is no understanding of a spiritual people in a spiritless society. There can be no reconciliation.
As the original people come to the time before the land wakes up, they are regaining their strength. The original people are preparing to protect the land and waters. The original people prepare by praying and following the instructions of Creator.
The pretense of mainstream is wearing thin. There cannot be “progress” or success when all life is interrelated. This is the lesson that mainstream is only beginning to understand.
As we come to the close of the colonizer’s linear year, we as the original people must uphold our sacred obligations. We must remember who we are and how we came to be here at this time and place.
We must remember the prophecies and the instructions to steward the land and waters.
We must remember that the Creator has lent us this great island.
Our ancestors did not care about money, status or token awards; they cared about life, renewal and harmony. That is what we must remember each cycle when we review our paths as spiritual people.