I’ve finally got it! The TV Train Wreck Factor

donaldtrainFor over a year, I’ve been trying to understand America’s fascination and support of “The Donald”.  Could it simply be mob mentality?  Perhaps.  Can it be a lack of intellect or common-sense?  No comment.  Can it be that the ultra-conservative movement and Republican ideology is finally coming into it’s own and it’s actually that ridiculous?  That’s certainly viable.

This morning, I finally put my finger on it!

What do Sanjaya, William Hung, the Pants-on-the-Ground guy, any “Real Housewife” of anyplace, and pretty much every reality show (including Celebrity Apprentice) have in common?  They’re all train wrecks.  Some ridiculous.  Some loveable.  But train wrecks nonetheless.

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America loves train wrecks.  (Why else would someone watch Fox News?)  Grassroots republicans are in on the goof.  Primary voters were in on the goof.  They just need to watch.

It’s also feeds an addiction.  They have to keep watching, voting and attending rallies in order to get more of what they love.  The more ridiculous it gets, the more viewers they get.  The more they support him, the more antics and ridiculousness they get in return. Bewildering policy ideas, overt bigotry, fear-mongering, the thin-skin rapport, the luscious maliciousness… all perfect fodder for the mindless, live TV audience.

That’s why, I predict that tonight’s Presidential Debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be the most watched political event in television history.  After all, it has potential for the biggest televised train wreck of the week.

The big question is: will Americans continue the goof?  Do they really want to see a train wreck of a President clashing with world-leaders?  Taking the Trump show on the world stage.  Do they really want to see what he’ll do next?

Stay tuned.  Viewer discretion advised.

(Apologies to all survivors of real train wrecks.  No real trains were harmed in the writing of this blog.)

Indigenous Gala supports youth suicide prevention

Akweni_Ki_Gala_Sep2416

I’ve been pleased to support some very worthwhile and important work that is bringing hope for indigenous youth.  Jewel’s Cause was established in response to the passing of Jewel Monture, a Mohawk youth who took her life at the tender age of 12. Known to her community as Gah wediyo, from the Turtle Clan. She was an accomplished dancer in tap, jazz, ballet, hiphop, lyrical and Smokedance.

She was also a victim of abuse and bullying that ultimately left her in a state where she felt there was no way out.

Many of us, and many of our family and friends have been touched by youth suicide. Despite their grief and sadness, families have found the strength to overcome their pain in an effort to raise awareness to this difficult issue. It also raises awareness of some of the associated issues suffered by the youth, including bullying, online-bullying, abuse, depression, anxiety disorders and addictions.

On Saturday, September 24, Jewel’s Cause is hosting the Purple Tie and Glamour Gala, in association with Brampton’s first-ever indigenous festival, Akweni Ki. The Gala will take place at the Brampton Fairgrounds in Caledon, Ontario. Proceeds of this star-studded gala will go towards suicide prevention programs that will inspire, educate and empower youth through education, fashion, creative arts and mentoring.

Please support Jewel’s Cause by buying a ticket and attending the Gala.  For tickets, visit: www.oneidacircle.org.

 

It’s time to speak up for our Lake, the Nbisiing fishery & our rights from it’s biggest threat.

nbisiingfisheryThere are a few people around here that think they are back in the 1970s and 1980s fighting for Anishinaabeg fishing rights. They’ll post videos and messages that will trick you into thinking that they are the last free band of Indians fighting for their rights and freedom.

But it’s just not the case.  In reality, these misguided few are acting out of greed demanding their individual rights above all else.

They speak of “inherent rights” and “treaty rights”.  But what they’re really demanding is their individual rights above their fellow band members, above their grandchildren, above the Lake and above the fish.

Well let me tell it like it is.

These Nbisiing fisherman… or let me rephrase that… these “Nipissing-Indian-Band-status-card-holders” are fishing illegally! They’re certainly not acting like real Anishinaabeg.

They are, in fact, the biggest threat to our Lake, our fishery and our rights.

More reality…

  • The right to harvest fish is a collective right.  Period.  It belongs to me, you and our compliant commercial fishers.
  • The right to an indigenous fishery also means we have the right to regulate ourselves. Nipissing First Nation, our elected Chief and Council is doing just that with the help of the MNR.
  • My unborn grandchildren, your grandchildren, even their grandchildren and seven generations of future Anishinaabeg also have a right to fish.  They most certainly have a right to harvest walleye.
  • The fish have a right to survive as a species on our lake.
  • We have a right, responsibility and obligation to adhere to our most sacred of Anishinaabeg teachings: to look after all of Creation as stewards of the land and water… to speak for all those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. The Lake Nipissing walleye.

Do those fishing illegally care about these rights??  Of course not.  They are on the wrong side of the rights fight.

Our research… yes, Nipissing First Nation research which includes accepted scientific data, methods and analysis, clearly indicates, unequivocally, that the walleye fishery is in severe collapse.  The MNR’s data shows the exact same thing.  Our commercial fishery is not sustainable. That’s why our Chief and Council have closed the fishery.

You argue that the numbers aren’t right. Well you got us on that one!  They’re not right because you hide your real numbers in your freezers and coolers strewn about your front yards.  If we had more accurate numbers from you, the data would certainly show the fishery is far worse shape.

By your actions, you are saying “F*CK YOU” to the rest of us, to responsibility and to the collective rights of us Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.  You wrap yourself in a phoney cape of a “rights crusader” and continue to take-take-take.  That’s all you know.  Take-take-take.

You claim to be harassed by the MNR.  Well, for the first time in history, the MNR is on our side.  Nipissing First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding that enables them to help enforce our fisheries regulations.  They’re lifting your nets because we want them to.  The MNR and our fisheries department are working in partnership to stop you from fishing illegally in order to protect our fishery.  This is a good thing.

With all due respect, if it was my choice – you’d not only lose your nets.  You’d lose your boats, trucks, and ATVs too.

You don’t offer any new ideas to help the situation that you’ve helped create.  How will you help protect our fishery?  How will you ensure the sustainability of our fishery?  How will you protect the walleye that had fed us for millennia?  Instead you call your little meetings, talk sh*t about our Chief and Council, our fisheries program and accepted science, and wail on about standing up for indigenous rights.

Well boys and girls, the right to take-take-take is NOT Anishinaabe.  To disregard me and your fellow band members is NOT Anishinaabe.  You teach your children to disregard the fish, the science, regulations and the rest of your fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg.  If you continue on this course the walleye fishery in Lake Nipissing will be extinct.

Our ancestor’s signed the Treaty, created this way of life and fought for these rights for the benefit of seven generations into the future.  Not just for you.  Not just to take-take-take.

Here’s my call to action:

ACTION:  My fellow Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, I’m asking you to speak up.  It’s time to stand up and protect the lake, the fish and our right to a future fishery.  I’m asking you to stand up and speak out against those who threaten our fishery.  That’s not the MNR, our fisheries officials or our Chief and Council.  The real threat are from those who are fishing illegally, pretending to be the righteous, who disregard what is right.

Motivation comes in many forms

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Early today, I had what you can describe as a “difficult start” to a long morning. I completed about nine kilometres into my daily bike ride when I made a stop along the way. Upon my return, I see my back tire is completely flat.

What to do?

Options: I can call a taxi company to bring a van big enough to fit my bike. I can chain up my bike and send for Über. I can contemplate my options while I have a large Coke Zero at McDonalds. Don’t you just Love dollar drink days of summer?!

I take a look at my Fitbit, which was dead yesterday, to find out that I’ve fallen behind many of my friends this week. How could this be? Then I realize it’s because I’ve been riding my bike a lot and the Fitbit doesn’t count steps when riding.

Back to my dilemma. What do I do?

Well, why don’t I just chain up my bike and walk home. Nine-and-a-half km later, I can start my work day. What started as a difficult start, ended up being an accomplishment and a fantastic start to this hump day. Over 18 kilometres of exercise. Miigwetch, Gzhemnidoo.


Reflection

While I’m walking, I have a lot of time to reflect on… well, walking. Two people who have motivated me come to mind.

darrellbMy good friend, Darrell Boissonneau of Kitigan Zibi (Garden River). He’s always giving me encouragement over the years, in my career, as a traditional man, as well as to stay active. Darrell is a regular fixture along Old Highway 17 walking his many miles. In the years that I’ve known him, he’s traded his cowboy boots for running shoes. He’s traded the double-cheeseburger for a single mooseburger. Small changes for a good life.  Miigwetch, Darrell.

josephine_waterwalkOur number one door woman, Lodge Grandmother and Chief Midewaanikwe, Beedaasige. Josephine Mandamin has been walking the highways and byways of Turtle Island for many years through the Mother Earth Water Walk. It’s been a pleasure to carry the staff alongside of her through many of these journeys. But here’s what I’m always amazed by. I can walk alongside Josephine, but I could not keep up with her! I count ten kilometres as an accomplishment. Beedaasige would regularly double or triple that, day-after-day. Especially during those early water walks. I recall during the Lake Superior walk, and some of the other Great Lakes walks – she would not only carry the copper vessel of water, but also carry the staff. She would go through many pairs of shoes. All the while honouring the water, and walking for the Spirit of the water.  Miigwetch, Josephine for everything that you do.

I remember walking with Josephine one time and someone yelling at us to “get a job”.  We laughed it off, figuring “no, we’re working hard enough”.


To share, or not to share?

Social Media is a strange animal. I seems very self-absorbed, egotistical, narcissistic. Selfies. Status updates about yourself. Et cetera.

I feel kind of funny “sharing” my daily walk statistics. Or my bike statistics. So I don’t do it too often.

But I do realize, from your comments and messages, that it is motivating people. I guess that is a righteous purpose of social media. It’s not just putting up the dishevelled selfie of sweatiness.

If you’re interested check out Healthy, Active Natives on Facebook for many pics, updates and success stories of other skins who are working hard to be healthy, active and happy people. Nishin!

New book “Sounding Thunder” honours a true Anishinaabe hero

soundingthunderMy good friend and Midewiwin brother Waabishki-makwa (Brian D. McInnes) has written a new book about his great-grandfather The Late Francis Pegahmagabow.  I’ve spoken with him over the years about this book, probably when it was a mere idea, long before he was writing it.  For him, it was much more than a literary work but a labour of Love, respect and rightful acknowledgement of a true Anishinaabe hero and Canada’s most decorated indigenous soldier.

He isn’t just a hero because of his medals or his actions in the military, Francis Pegahmagabow was truly the embodiment of what it means to be Ogitchidaa.  He wasn’t just a warrior who stood up to protect his people during war-time, he was a role model and true public servant in many ways.  He used his bravery and courage far beyond the battlefield for the benefit of his community and all Anishinaabeg people.

The legacy of Binaaswi-ban, Adik dodemun has been celebrated by our local Anishinaabeg communities for many years, but only recently shared by all Canadians.  We remember him through the stories of his family, including my uncle Baimassige-ban (the late-Merle Pegahmagabow), many Wasauksing Elders, political and spiritual leaders, academics and writers like Brian, Waub Rice and Joseph Boyden.

I’m looking forward to reading more about this man I’ve heard so much about.  Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow is published by the University of Manitoba Press and will be available on September 16.

Congratulations, Waabishki-makwa.  You make us proud, my Brother.  Chi-miigwetch for keeping his stories and memory alive.


Sounding Thunder:
The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow

By Dr. Brian D. McInnespegahmagabow_statue

Francis Pegahmagabow (1889-1952), an Ojibwe of the Caribou clan, was born in Shawanaga First Nation, Ontario. Enlisting at the onset of the First World War, he served overseas as a scout and sniper and became Canada’s most decorated Indigenous soldier.

After the war, Pegahmagabow settled in Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, where he married and raised six children. He served his community as both Chief and Councillor and was a founding member of the Brotherhood of Canadian Indians, the first national Indigenous political organization. In 1949 and 1950, he was elected the Supreme Chief of the National Indian Government.

Francis Pegahmagabow’s stories describe many parts of his life and are characterized by classic Ojibwe narrative. They reveal aspects of Francis’s Anishinaabe life and worldview. Interceding chapters by Brian McInnes provide valuable cultural, spiritual, linguistic, and historic insights that give a greater context and application for Francis’s words and world. Presented in their original Ojibwe as well as in English translation, the stories also reveal a rich and evocative relationship to the lands and waters of Georgian Bay. In Sounding Thunder,  Brian McInnes provides new perspective on Pegahmagabow and his experience through a unique synthesis of Ojibwe oral history, historical record, and Pegahmagabow family stories.


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Dr. Brian D. McInnes

Brian D. McInnes is a professional educator and author dedicated to diversity education, youth engagement, and organizational leadership. A member of the Wasauksing First Nation, McInnes has a deep interest in the preservation of Indigenous cultures and languages and is an accomplished speaker, presenter, and writer in English and Ojibwe. Brian is a descendant of Francis Pegahmagabow, and writing Sounding Thunder was an important opportunity for him to contribute to the legacy of his great-grandfather.

We are not the children of the 8th Fire… Far from it.

“We have to learn today what it takes to be better tomorrow.”

 

I don’t like to write anything pessimistic. When you start off your column with “I don’t like” you know it’s going to be one of those days.

Nanaia Mahuta.  Photo by  Radio New Zealand.

Nanaia Mahuta. Photo by Radio New Zealand.

This morning I was trolling through Facebook, eating my veggie omelette and drinking my decaf coffee. I offered congratulations to my friend Nanaia Mahuta, MP from the Waikato River region of New Zealand. Nanaia became the first Maori MP to wear the moko mauae, the traditional Maori chin tattoo. She said: “I wear my kauae tehe (moko) proudly… to bring the most positive aspects of what we have as a Māori culture, our mātauranga (knowledge) Māori, our world view, into New Zealand.”

It’s so good to see that Indigenous people from around the world, including many Anishinaabe, who are taking steps to make our language and culture a priority.

A good day, so far.

I scroll further down my Facebook feed only to get a punch in the gut. I put my omelette down.

Anishinaabemowin_stats

According to Keith Montreuil:

“In 1996: 36000 people identified as first language speakers (mother tongue) half of which were using the language everyday in the home. 65% of those speakers are over the age of 60 (in 1996). Fast forward ten years and we see the amount of first language speakers has dropped to 19000 (a drop of nearly half) and this is ten years later.. So that group of 60 year olds are now a group of 70 year olds. It’s predicted that the amount of first language speakers (mother tongue) will drop to less than 10000 by this year, 2016. “

These are stark and troubling statistics.  It makes me so sad, almost hopeless.

I scroll down a little further and up pops an ignorant photo posted by Janet Gretzky, the wife of my hockey hero.

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Fuming, I started to share and write a call to action. But it occurred to me that this isn’t supposed to happen this way. We were to be the children of the 8th Fire.

The Anishinaabe, through our 8th Fire Prophecy, were predicted to thrive. We were to become equals, to come together with our other brothers and sisters in our territory and contribute towards becoming one great nation. Our language and culture would be sought after. The colonizers would realize the folly of assimilation, value our ways of life, and seek out our advice and traditional knowledge for the betterment of society and Mother Earth.

We are not the children of 8th fire. We are far from it. That’s as pessimistic as it gets.

It’s time to turn it around.

We have to realize that a prophecy isn’t just going to magically happen on it’s own. It isn’t karma, destiny, fate or the will of God. The Midewiwin certainly can’t influence midichlorians, as the Jedi do, to impose our goodwill over the Earth. There will be missteps and setbacks along the way.

We must learn from our Anishinaabe prophecies. We must act to avoid those missteps within the prophecies. For example: The prophecies tell us that “the rivers will run with poison and the fish will become unfit to eat”. That’s precisely why Anishinaabeg women are standing up for the water. We must learn and adapt in order to take ourselves, our families, our nation in the right direction to ensure we lead the Anishinaabeg into that eighth and final fire of glory.

We must continue to take action. This action must be personal action.

  • Only I (only you), can work towards learning Anishinaabemowin.
  • Only I (only you), can take political action that makes our language a governmental priority for our First Nations governments, political leaders and our federal and provincial government by demanding programs, funding and support to our priorities.
  • Only I (only you), can stand up to those who act inappropriately by furthering negative stereotypes and trivializing our culture and it’s sacredness.
  • Only I (only you), can say something when you see an act of racism or someone who is treated disrespectfully.
  • Only I (only you), can contribute personally towards the goals of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The 8th Fire is coming. We all need to be ready for it whether it’s this generation or the next. We have to learn today what it takes to be better tomorrow.

Never give up. Never succumb to statistics and social media pessimism (even if it is mine).

Our Momma has Dementia. But she’s still our Momma.

Bob_Momma

“I don’t know that guy over there,” she says with a curious smile.

The tiny, seemingly good-natured Elder motions to another Elder seated at the end of the lunch table.

We remind her of who he is – as some family members shift in their chairs. My aunties, also seated around the table, politely do their best to keep the rest of the conversation going. They’ve all seen it before.

“That’s Larry, Mom. He’s your brother,” my sister Phyllis says. She offers a brief nod of acknowledgement. Less than a minute later, the scene repeats itself.

“I don’t know that guy over there,” she points even louder.

She’ll repeat herself nearly a dozen times that afternoon.


Some time later, our mom is visibly agitated as we take her back to her room. Fortunately, she was pleasant for much of the lunch organized by Phyllis. But clearly she’s tired and out of her comfort zone.

Her routine has been changed.

She’s quite abrupt to her daughter who she sees as a figure of authority. She murmurs abrupt commands along the way.

“Turn on my TV,” she says, slightly under her breath.

We take her to back to her room and comply. But TVO is only showing cartoons. Really, it doesn’t matter what’s on because she doesn’t watch television.  It’s all background noise for her comfort.

We tell her we have to go now, which seems to set her off even further.

“Where am I going to sit? Where are you taking me?”

As usual, she like to walk us out to the central hallway where she sits with her fellow residents at Cassellholme Home for the Aged.

We sit her down in an empty chair nearby her friends. She doesn’t know their names. But she doesn’t know our names, for that matter.

“Okay, Mom. We’ll see you again soon.”

“Turn on my TV, I said,” she says gruffly, no longer under her breath.

“We left your TV on, Mom. You’ll see when you go back to your room,” says Phyllis. She hugs Momma as we head for the elevator.

“TO HELL WITH YOU,” is her departing job.

We smile, reflective, that her sisters and her brother aren’t here to see this part of their brown-bag luncheon.


I’m not writing this to embarrass my family, or hurt my Momma’s dignity. I’m writing to open up a dialogue about the realities of dementia.

Dementia is a brain disorder that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.  Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia.

My mom, Dwyla, began experiencing symptoms of dementia about ten years ago while she was still living at home. It began with gradual, but noticeable memory loss. She adopted a number of complex rituals, involving the layering of tissue paper, organizing and obsessing with garbage and washing single items of laundry several times a day. She began talking to herself. Soon after, complicated further by several transient ischemic attacks (TIAs or “mini-stroke”), she was unable to care for herself including going to the toilet or taking a shower. She wasn’t able to make herself a ham sandwich or open a can of soup.

One terrifying incident involved her rituals around garbage. She got it in her head one day to take her bag of trash and throw it in the bush behind the house. She somehow made her way further and further back into the bush.  Yes, she’s an Anishinaabe woman. But she’s certainly not the trail-seeking, hunting, trapping and scouting type Indian. She wandered around for some time in the bush, alone and scared.  Luckily, she followed those voices out of the bush, only a few hundred feet down the Garden Village Road.

Most of her brothers and sisters and many of our cousins certainly were not aware that this was all going on. We kept it a private matter for so long, respecting her privacy and attempting to preserve her dignity. Many in our extended family probably wondered why she was in an old-age home. Some may have even second guessed our decision to place her there. After all, she was always the woman who took care of others. Why couldn’t we take care of her ourselves? My brother Dennis Jr., with the support of Phyllis and a host of personal care nurses did so for a few years. But the sad reality is that it was just not possible. Our Momma needed professional care.

I hope that this blog might raise some awareness about dementia and how it impacts our Elders, their families and Loved ones. Dementia not only inflicts Elders, but young Elders too. If you start to see these types of symptoms and behaviours, seek diagnosis, medical treatment and advice from health care professionals.

In our case, there was not much that doctors can do. Still, we are eternally grateful for the 24-hour care she gets at Cassellholme. We’re thankful to the many personal support workers, nurses and doctors who make life comfortable for Momma. They all call her by her name, offer her a smile, kindness and good care.

We’re also happy to see that Momma is quietly entertained by her many nameless friends who look out for her. She also genuinely enjoys her twice-a-week manicures.

Not everyday is filled with hostility or disruptive behaviours. She may not know our names, but she still lights-up when she sees us arrive for our regular visits.  Somehow she know who we are.  Those days are filled with her polite smile and genuine pride when she introduces us around the facility.

“This is my Boy,” Momma says to each and every staff member, resident and passer-byer.

An Invitation to our Pow-Wow family. Brampton’s first ever Indigenous Festival & Pow-Wow

More and more urban communities across Turtle Island are hosting traditional gatherings.  In the Greater Toronto Area, we’ve seen one-day gatherings spring up in Orangeville, Aurora and Pickering on top of the successful pow-wows put on by the Native Canadian Centre, Native Men’s Residence and Native Child & Family Services.

Now it’s Brampton’s turn.

The Oneida Circle is hosting the first annual Akweni Ki Indigenous Festival, on Saturday, September 24.  The festival includes their first ever traditional pow-wow and an evening gala featuring Anishinaabe recording artist Crystal Shawanda and Oji-Cree Miss Universe contestant Melinda Henderson.

This gathering is gaining a lot of momentum and excitement.  It is turning out to be the fall pow-wow that you just can’t miss.  I personally would like to invite all my pow-wow family…  all singers, dancers, hummers and limpers to add this to your calendar and plan on attending.

1st Annual Akweni Ki Traditional Pow-Wow

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Brampton Fairgrounds, 12942 Heart Lake Road, Caledon, ON

MC:  Bob Goulais
Arena Director:  Earl Oegema
Host Drum:  Black Bull Moose
Grand Entry:  Saturday, September 24 at 12 noon. 

AkweniKi_poster

 

Love, Respect, Kindness are integral to eradicating Racism

bob_ceremony

“We are all brothers and sisters in Creation.” – Bob Goulais

 

Opening Remarks to the first Public Meeting of the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate held in Toronto, Ontario on July 15, 2016.

I want to offer some words to start off this important gathering in a good way.

As indigenous people we look to the guidance from the Spirit World and from our great and kind Creator, G’zhemnidoo, to provide us with direction in times of difficulty.

When our lives are burdened and our spirits are hurt through our collective and respective experiences with racism.

That numbing and gnawing grief we feel when we see our brothers and sisters torn down as a result of that racism.

And this is a particularly difficult time for many of our brothers and sisters facing such adversity and who are working hard to get across the message that Black lives matter.

We need to support and reinforce the message of those who are experiencing the worst that racism, discrimination, hate and intolerance brings.  We need to support our brothers and sisters and stand by them during their time of need.

We also have to look to the teachings of humanity – those original instructions and sacred law that were given to us all at the time of Creation.

Our eldest ancestors were put on Mother Earth together, at the same time, and in a very real way as brothers and sisters. We can all trace our ancestors back to our Creation Story – back to our respective creation stories.

The very first thing that we’re told when we learn our Creation Story is that “all creation stories are true“. That meaning, we must respect and believe in each other’s creation mythology and origin stories. To Love and appreciate one another’s culture, history and Spiritual ways of life.

For the Anishinaabe, when humankind was first put on the Earth, we were lowered down in a gentle, kind way from the Spirit Realm. Our feet touched the Earth for the first time in a physical way.

We’re told that there were four original brothers, the Yellow, Red, Black and White. At that time, we were all given original instructions and sacred law from the Creator.

We were given two very important gifts that were not given to any other living being on the face of the Earth. Those gifts where the gift of intelligence – to be able to think and reason; and the gift of freewill, to make choices based on what is needed for ourselves and those around us.

Sometime later, in a time of great need, the Anishinaabe people were given seven sacred teachings to show us how we are to interact and relate to one another, and the world around us. These Seven Grandfather Teachings don’t solely belong to Anishinaabeg people. These teachings were given to all of humanity, for us as Anishinaabe to share, teach and reinforce to all God’s creatures.

Those seven teachings are the teachings of Love – to know Love is to know peace. Respect – to honour all of Creation is to know respect. Humility – to know that we are just a small part of Creation.

The teachings of Bravery, Honesty, Truth and Wisdom were given to us to to reinforce our instructions to be the best people we can be. To live a good life – a philosophy we call Mno Bimaadiziwin.

To live a life of hate, to live a life of hurt, to treat each other without that Love and Respect is painful to us all. It’s contradictory to our original instructions. It’s contradictory to Sacred Law.

How do we begin eradicate racism, discrimination, hate and intolerance?

It takes a lot for us to get out of our heads. We tend to want to overthink things, to analyze the issues and risk factors and come up with a good public policy response.

But when it comes to emotional and the spiritual, we have to get out of out heads and into our hearts.

We need to bring back ourselves to those original teachings that we are all brothers and sisters in Creation.

We are expected to Love, Respect and Honour each other. We need to offer each other kindness and gentleness.

That’s what I’m going to ask for during this prayer. That’s why I smudged this room with our sacred medicines prior to our meeting this evening. I asked the Spirit to provide us with a place where we can have a progressive, sensible and respectful dialogue. Where we need not succumb to anger or frustration.

Every one of us in this room, are advocates for change and believe in this a world without racism, discrimination, hate and intolerance.

We, in this room, are all going to be part of the solution.

And I’m a firm believer that Canada, and the vast majority of people that make up this beautiful multicultural mosaic, truly embody the Seven Grandfather teachings.


 

With much credit and Love to our teacher, Bawdwaywidun Binaise. Gchi-miigwetch, gchi-gimaa ni ge’kinoomaaged.

Premier Wynne issues apology over residential schools

A recording of the historic apology this morning in the Ontario Legislature.