I would like to speak about reconciliation.
As I sit here in the privilege of 2022 eating my orange sprinkled donut from Tim Horton’s, I am sobbing.
I looked at my daughter today as I drove her to my grandmother’s house, and I started weeping for the love that I have for her and for the deep pain that I feel, caused by colonialism in the “new world”. Although I have white parents, I have grown up in a First Nations home. My brothers and sisters are indigenous peoples, my family, my stepdad, meaningful people that are very close to me, have all been impacted by the generational trauma caused by the residential school system.
My mother’s life work was to heal through social work, and she studied with a native specialization so that she could impact the lives of families within First Nations communities in northern Ontario. I feel such a strong calling to follow along in her path and work to try to reconcile; more deeply than I think the average person understands. You see many white folks just don’t understand the absolute travesty that was created when indigenous children were ripped out of their homes and forced to sit in schools, forced to forget their language, their culture and everything that they knew.
We think it’s enough to have a f*****g sprinkled donut. Hey, I did my part, I bought a f*****g donut.
Honestly, it’s pathetic.
I’m always shocked by what some people of privilege say in terms of the First Nations people. But with my work I am intimately aware of how deeply ancestral trauma can run, it not only changes the lives of generations, but it is carried within our DNA.
I believe that for true reconciliation to take place there needs to be a reclamation of culture. And even though my DNA might say that I am of white descendants, I feel connected deeply, in my heart, to the wisdom and the culture of the Anishinaabe and specifically Ojibwe people that surround me.
I want to take a moment and honor the lands that we live on, the lands that abundantly give us everything we need in this life. Without the connection to the land, we become mechanical, we become disconnected from everything that we are, and from the power that we may create with. I am passionate about teaching people where their food comes from, and I feel after this summer more than ever that I meant to reconcile this relationship to the land in much deeper ways.
I would like to honor those people who had their children stolen from them. I would like to breathe into their pain, I would like to honor their losses of culture and language and purpose. Alcohol was just one of the tools that we offered to dissimilate the family unit and we can all see how that has affected this population as a whole.
Until we can accept the truth of the pain we have caused, there can be no reconciliation.
I hope in my work to honor the lives of people lost. And that could refer to the now living and the dead.
I believe wholeheartedly that the ways of the First Nations people are the healing practices that are important to integrate into life on this landscape even now. If we want our descendants to have any chance at living a full and prosperous and meaningful life we need to learn how to work with the land, how to live in community, and how to honor the food medicines that are provided so readily if we are willing to observe, grow, listen, and honor that these medicines have been offered for our benefit and livelihood.
As a privileged person I want to make clear the damage we’ve done by emphasizing the control that alcohol has on any individual. But more specifically an individual who has no purpose, no real reason for living, no relationship to community. When you take people out of a space of safety, they cannot function as whole and that is when addiction has an opportunity to set in. And this addiction may be carried for generations, in many cases it has become the culture of struggling communities. I think it’s clear that all people of this world are affected by the addictive nature of substances like alcohol, and I truly believe that part of this healing, is understanding that that addiction stems from a loss of deeper purpose. A person can only truly align with their purpose as a human being when they are connected to Mother Earth, connected to their food, connected to their community, and building strong family systems, desiring to be a wholehearted human being and operating from a place of safety, truth and authenticity. When people begin to claim their power as human individuals, they shed the need for a reason to numb, and within that process are able to operate at a higher level of vibration that does not allow for addiction to manifest.
I invite you to take a moment and breathe. Breathe deeply for the pain and suffering of loss. Feel into your body the deepest loss you have experienced within your life. Bring that grief to the surface and just be with it in this moment, accept your grief for what is. Breathing into this grief, letting the pain flow through you. Maybe tears are streaming down your face. Allow yourself to be with the pain and yet still feel held. Allow yourself to feel safe. Create a blanket of rich golden light and surround yourself with this protective blanket, knowing that grief is a valid part of the human experience but is OK to let go of. Everything, including pain, is meant to awaken a deep emotion within our human physical body and when we can be with those emotions and still recognize the element of safety, we can transmute that grief into power. Absorbing the truth of how you feel about the situation and yet having compassion for how you feel.
My heart feels heavy because I know how far we are from any true version of reconciliation.
But I also carry a very valid and deep sense of hope because I know that collectively we can heal these deep wounds.
I think that the best way to honor true reconciliation and the truth of what happened in the residential school system is to feel these injustices within our bodies and offer the space to rest and heal. I think it is having grace and compassion for those people that you may not understand and that many could potentially view as a blight on society because they cannot comprehend the deep emotional trauma that those people have endured over generations. I think choosing to stand in our authentic power as human beings IS reconciling the culture of the native people in a way that surpasses any influence by the government body.
I know that on my own journey to truth over the last few years, for the first time understanding the lies of our culture, our westernized beliefs, our colonial influence, or a capitalistic society, we really have a lot of work to do in order to heal the damage that these systems are creating in the world. For me, truth means taking radical responsibility, and opting out of these oppressive systems in a wholehearted and non-confrontational way! I don’t believe that the people within these systems are necessarily bad people. I believe that they have a perspective that maybe there is no other way. And that this perspective shields them from seeing the truth that these oppressive systems were built upon.
I know when we begin to get curious about how these systems came to be and what they are truly meant to create, only then can we really discern for ourselves what truth we want to live in. When you begin to peel back the layers of influence that have been applied to you throughout your life, you start to uncover your true purpose, and your truth, and discover what you are here to create as a human being. When you’re operating in this truth you are able to heal and reconcile the traumas of the past and whether you are directly influencing any real issues, is not the point. The earth is an intricate system and just like within our human body, there are millions of cells working together to keep a balance, within our body this is called homeostasis, but within our world we have greater influence than we may believe. Because when we truly start to stand in our truth and operate from our true power only then are we able to release the ego and except that we are part of life on earth.
When we disregard our impact, we lessen ourselves as human beings.
In order to stand in your truth, you must let go of this ideology that you are separate from the life system that is this earth. You will choose to take responsibility for your actions, your decisions, and your impact while living out this beautiful life. Every choice that we make has a greater impact, has greater implications, than we can even possibly imagine, and these decisions are being made constantly, all day, every day, throughout our lives.
The journey of reconciliation is not just an ideal for colonialization to give back to the First Nations people.
I believe that the reconciliation that is happening is a call from the earth to heal our relationship to itself, to ourselves, and begin to cultivate a deep respect for the abundance that our Mother Earth provides.
The earth is our mother, she has given us life and continues to nurture our well-being with everything that she has. It is necessary and extremely important that we honor and respect our mother, that we honor and respect the life that thrives around us. That we honor and respect the life that has the ability to thrive within us.
So, for true reconciliation, I believe that taking responsibility for the health and wellness of our body, mind, and spirit while connecting to the earth in deep and meaningful ways is paramount. That growing our own food, knowing where our food comes from, having relationship with the earth and the plants and the trees and the animals that share this space with us, is the healing medicine we all need. That balance and harmony are necessary within our culture and philosophies to allow for deep healing. That we need to honor relationship and community, work to build strong and powerful relationships within our communities and build the strength and resilience of us as people; all uniting with compassion and understanding that we only have one wild and precious life, and to emphasis dedication to the opportunities that we are leaving to the next seven generations.
People of this current system of things are very focused on themselves yet have no relationship with self. Many people are choosing not to have children because of the turmoil and state of the world but those people often are choosing a life that degrades the very life-giving planet that they live on. In order to leave something for our children we need to recognize our own relationships to ourselves to our communities and to the earth, otherwise there will be no soil left for the many beings on this planet to survive.
So, if you believe in truth and reconciliation and you’re still reading I believe that you’re one of the few people that have been given the insight to step outside of the system that is and begin creating paradise anew.