Misiwe Ni Wakoomahgunuk
To say, All My Relations, Misiwe Ni Wakoomahgunuk in Cree, recognizes our interconnection to each other, and is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life. In other words, we need to embrace the sacredness of our connection to all before we can truly obtain harmony. Oglala Lakota war leader Crazy Horse (1822-1877) was quoted,
"I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am at that place within me, we shall be one."
I fell in love with this quote the second that I heard it. The truth, wisdom and respect that it carries resonated at the core of my Soul. You have light, I have light, let us embrace the light within each other and shine as One.
Crazy Horse fought in a battle well known in history to protect what is Sacred about this interconnection. I honour him. I have stood in prayer on those battle grounds.
We have had our own similar battles here in Canada. Our war leaders today are people like our land and water protectors, those who created Idle No More, people like Cindy Blackstock and Senator Murray Sinclair.
All who are like beacons showing us the way, telling us that we cannot stand by and pretend we are bystanders in the current injustices.
Reminding us that we are all able activists and as relations are accountable to protecting each other.
I join the fight against our federal government whom the Supreme Court found guilty of a human rights violation because they underfund Indigenous youth in care.
I work with these youth; they are the most vulnerable population in this country. Many from communities in northern Ontario that are in third world conditions, where there is a sense of hopelessness and despair, and youth suicides are high.
How does our country spend billions on its 150th anniversary, but in the same breath say that they do not have the money to rectify this disparity between funding, so our most vulnerable can have an equal chance of living?
How do I look these children in the eye and say this country supports them when it does not even think they are worthy of equality?
This is an injustice. But most importantly, and most alarmingly, it is a lack of compassion.
Their communities cry out and yet somehow, we as a collective turn our backs on the wellbeing of our fellow neighbours.
Every meticulous step I have made in my life, or path I seemingly stumbled upon, has been an effort to rectify injustice and help people find their light again.
Becoming a psychotherapist to work with Indigenous youth to help heal them, their families and communities, from the impacts of the residential school genocide.
Creating and facilitating programming that brought youth in foster care together to learn about, embrace and celebrate Indigenous culture, which for many years this country tried to eradicate with its aggressive assimilation tactics.
Becoming an advocate and educator developing workshops and training opportunities to support truth and reconciliation and help forge the needed relationships across the province.
Studying under the amazing Algonquin Medicine Man and creating a healing lodge to provide a sacred space where everyone on the medicine wheel felt that they could come together to learn and heal, regardless of their ethnic or religious differences.
There is a peace warrior at the core of each and every one of us.
Connect with that part of you.
Look up to the Star Nations for guidance, let your bare feet root to the energies of our Earth Mother, sit under the quiet of a tree and learn to listen from your heart, and feel the love and wisdom of Creator and the Universe.
And in this moment of sacredness, may you realize you are not separate from anyone or anything, and that the world needs you to realize your sacred part in creating a harmonious nation.
Allow your light to shine, see that same light in others, and together may we shine bright as one.
All My Relations. Gitchi-meegwetch.
By: Jenny Sutherland, M.S.W., R.S.W. Indigenous Treatment Program Coordinator, Connor Homes