Elder Dave Courchene from Turtle Lodge welcomes the new Manitoba government and Brian Pallister as the new premier at a swearing in ceremony at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
Opening Blessing by Dave Courchene (Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Leading Earth Man), Anishnabe Nation, Eagle Clan
Swearing In Ceremony for New Manitoba Government
Garden of Contemplation
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
May 3, 2016
Boozhoo, Dinaymaginitook, The Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the newly elected Premier Pallister and his Cabinet, my Relatives!
My dear Relatives, as a representative of the Anishnabe Nation, which was signatory to Treaty 1, it is my great honour to offer welcome to the newly elected government of the province of Manitoba.
In the traditions of our people, let me offer these words of encouragement and understanding at this swearing in ceremony.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights offers an opening and a doorway for us to walk through, following values and principles that can help us transcend the past and bring unity.
During the construction of this museum, a footprint was uncovered. To our people, this footprint was symbolic of our ancestors walking a way of life. They believed that Spirit was the beginning of everything, inspiring us to live from the heart, living our teachings and values to show love and respect for all life.
We have entered into a time of great change and opportunity. Here in Manitoba we are geographically situated at the centre, the heart of the continent. This positions us here to be a place of beginning, a place where we can reflect the best of our humanity, a place where we can go beyond what has separated us as human beings, and what has disconnected us from the land.
It is the children who must be paramount in our efforts. Central to our vision – supporting the rights that every child is born with, teaching the children to live with values of kindness and respect for each other and the land.
Given the current realities we face today, climate change being one of those challenges, it is to our benefit that we find the spirit to work together in our efforts to guide our children to love and take care of the land.
It was said by our ancestors: there would come a time when we would reach the forks of a road. It would be a time of choice, a time to make changes to ensure a future for all our children.
The Forks has much symbolism – this site here has been an ancient gathering place of many of our Nations, who would travel by land and water, to share our collective remembrance of our duties and responsibilities.
We find ourselves gathered here now, with all Nations of the world, with a destiny to fulfill as humanity. We must work together to help bring peace and harmony into our world, amongst ourselves as human beings and in our relationship with the Earth.
This will require a committed and strong leadership.
In our culture, the Elders and the Grandmothers have a significant role in offering guidance and direction to the leaders.
Our ancestors and our great leaders of the past were always led by a vision, inspired by Spirit.
Our relationship with the arrival of our brothers and sisters from other parts of the world began with the signing of Treaty 1, signed in the spirit of respect, love and kindness, and outlining how we would share in our duties and responsibilities as equal partners on this land.
Today, in the Garden of Contemplation, we find ourselves in a time and a place to come back together to reflect and envision how we would like our world to be. Together we can plant that seed.
As a people we have endured great challenges to survive with an ancestral way of life that carries an understanding of deep spiritual values and a connection to the land.
It is our hope that we will be welcomed to participate as equal partners in helping to create a vision that includes all of us, and design a future that would include our Indigenous knowledge and understanding.
Working together, we have the potential to set the stage to define a strong national identity, united in our diversity, and rooted in all our value systems, that reflects the love we all have for our children and the love that we have for the land.
Today I call upon the Spirit to offer guidance and direction and to support each of you, that you are given the fullness that Spirit can offer each one of you as you live your roles of leadership.
Working together, we can make the Manitoba miracle a reality!
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