Yesterday was Indigenous Peoples Day and I had a great time celebrating how happy that makes me and reflecting on what it has taught me. I didn’t post anything, because I was out and about enjoying the day, the lands that I’m fortunate enough to live on and doing some brainstorming for a short story that I am in the early stages of writing.
I read a great deal about other peoples’ experiences with colonization and imperialism, from experiences of the Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon to those out West who are struggling against the tar sands. Here are some links to a few standout articles and thoughts of the day.
It is heartening that everywhere, people are working to maintain a balance in the relationship we have with the lands for coming generations. It is a difficult struggle – not just one against corporations or long and carefully guarded beliefs about economic prosperity and what having ‘enough’ of anything means.
It’s a personal struggle as well, one that asks us to learn and make adjustments in all kinds of ways – in the amount of water and energy we use to the kinds of products that we employ for various purposes. I’ve found it to be a good struggle – even if I’ve been far from perfect in it, it’s a struggle I’m more than grateful to have.
I have this little place I found earlier in the summer that I like to visit that I stumbled upon when I was looking for areas to clean up. It stood out to me for a few reasons – it was isolated, cluttered with litter, close to the river and really beautiful. The first clean up I did – I did here and began making notes about the Grand River and water and the importance of the Grand River to the larger global water system.
Now that autumn had arrived, I wanted to return there and think over things, what I had learned and how I was prepared to contribute. I often wonder, if the things that I am doing are helping or hurting. In fact – I think I spent most of September thinking about this question. And obviously, I want to be helpful so as October draws to a close I’ll resume work on that effort because it’s a small thing that might help and at the very least focuses me and gives me time to take my measure so to speak.
So it was the little things that seemed to be the real stars of the day – in more ways than one. As the day drew to a close and I started working on the story a bit more, I listened to some old voice notes I had recorded earlier in the summer. In one part of the note, I spoke specifically about the little things and how I had to remember to appreciate them because they matter – they help the big stuff. The stuff that seems too large, tangled and messy to ever be shifted to a positive place.
On a day when it might have been easy to despair - because incidentally, it was also the day that Columbus is remembered (twitter had some real zingers on this one), it became a day where a bunch of little things sent a message and made a difference. And together, they'll continue to.
Honour the Treaties!