A New Education …


I am awake, I am alive, and today the final preparations for the next jaunt on my journey continue. For tomorrow, I head to Rocky Bay First Nation to help them understand what they are experiencing in their community, what we experience in every First Nation community thanks to a common Canadian history.

Truth be told, for generations our children were taken, separated from parents and love and encouragement. Those children grew to be adults who had children who were sent to the same schools. Between 5-7 generations experienced the isolation, the separation, a life devoid of love and their children and grandchildren are now our leaders.

What were we taught over such a time? We were taught how to judge, for we were judged. We were taught corporal punishment and abuse, for we witnessed and experienced same. We were taught hugs were dangerous and that somehow we were less than and the legacy lives on.

When an Indigenous person judges another, I feel it. When we condemn another for the addictions, the violence, rather than seeing where it is coming from, I feel it. The judgement and condemnation we know. Compassion after all, is not something we were taught.

But slowly skills are being reintroduced. Parents are learning how to love, as they come to understand why their parents did not demonstrate such things (they couldn’t). Slowly we are learning how to disagree without condemnation, how to negotiate without argument, how to respect even ourselves.

And tomorrow, the journey continues because I have a dream – a vision of a time when our communities are the sanctuary they were always meant to be, the one place our men and women and youth and children are safe, loved and respected. I dream of the day when we will teach others how to treat us, rather than replicating how we were treated by the ancestors of those who still continue to judge.

Yes, the work continues because things can’t stay the way they are. So today my friend, join me. Do not judge. (Although we wouldn’t be surprised if you do. After all, we have had a lifetime of judgement.) Try learning instead. Educate yourself on how we got here because left to our own devices, the First Nation communities of today would have been very, very different.

And we need to learn that, all of us, Indigenous and non for that education has to replace the horrid one that got us here.

The journey continues …