Yesterday, I stopped to visit with my niece and as I was getting ready to leave, she asked me if I forgot that it was Canada Day, presumably because I didn’t mention it at any time during our visit.
The answer of course, was that I had not forgotten but I had to really think about how to explain to her that it wasn’t necessarily something I would be celebrating in the same way that other people might. In the end I just asked her, “Do you remember how I said that we live on Turtle Island?” To which she answered yes.
And so I shared with her how I planned to spend my day and I also told her that I would blog about it. While I have no claim to expert knowledge, I understand that living on Turtle Island means we have certain responsibilities and as indigenous peoples, we have our own way of fulfilling them that has been passed along through generations.
I told my niece that the Treaties are a living and foundational part of the relationship between indigenous peoples and non-indigenous people and that while non-indigenous people were having something of a celebration, I was going to focus on something a bit different – reflecting on the relationships I’m in and hopefully learning more about how to honour the Treaties and better fulfil some of my responsibilities.
I have many friends who are not indigenous, and who are aware of and have a great love for Turtle Island and the environment. They have a range of interests - as people do. Some of them are farmers, some artists, and some musicians or teachers of different subjects. And though I have never asked each of them specifically, it is my feeling that all of them desire to have good relationships with Indigenous peoples and I think many of them would be happy to know that the treaty relationship provides for exactly that – peaceful relations, enduring friendship and mutual respect. So it seems like continuing to infuse my relationships with positive thoughts and intentions is a good use of my energy. And to me – that means learning about and exercising treaty rights and responsibilities.
I don’t know very much about eco-systems but lately I’ve been trying to learn and understand more about the health of the area of Turtle Island that I live on (Six Nations of the Grand River). So I spent the day investigating and cleaning up wherever I found debris and litter along the river, which is something I have wanted to work on for a little while now. I had a total blast doing this. I am fairly certain that there must be another name for the Grand River but I don’t know what it is. This is one of many thoughts and questions that occurred to me while I was working and I really look forward to learning more about that, the river and what other efforts I can contribute for it to be healthy – it really is beautiful water after all and one that is still very important to lots of people from my community.
Anyways - I did a little video of the trip and took some pictures (it's a bit windy so that comes through in the sound a bit). It was a lot of fun. I’m almost 100% certain that some of the information in my video is slightly incorrect, but I’ll be sure to correct that as I go. Welcome to July everyone!