An Introduction to WAHBANUNG – The Resurgence of a People: Clearing the Path for our Survival
50 years after Wahbung: Our Tomorrows …
A Summary written by Knowledge Keepers Dr. David Courchene, Jr., Chief Dr. Harry Bone, Florence Paynter, Philip Paynter, Chief Katherine Whitecloud, Chief Robert Maytwayashing, Mary Maytwayashing and Gordon Walker at the Turtle Lodge Central House of Knowledge, With Contributions from the late Orianna Courchene
Presentation by Anishinaabe Elder, Nii Gaani Aki Inini (Leading Earth Man) – Dr. David Courchene, Jr.
At the Turtle Lodge Central House of Knowledge, March 19, 2020
Video of Elder Courchene’s introduction to the Pipe ceremony:
Purchase a copy of Summary of Wahbanung – The Resurgence of a People: Clearing the Path for Our Survival at http://www.turtlelodge.org/wahbanung/
Let me begin by first of all, by thanking each of you who have answered the call for our presentation here today.
This is not an ordinary day, but a day for reflection, a day to build hope, a day to be much more united.
What we are witnessing globally are unprecedented times. The coronavirus has raised many issues. We are living and witnessing what our visionaries spoke about in prophecy. We have reached these times. One of the most dangerous outcomes has been the fear and panic. How would our ancestors have responded to these times? They would be calm, and approach things with gentleness and confidence.
They would say, we are not alone and we have never been alone. The ancestors are here with us to take us forward. They would say, why are you afraid? Do you not believe? Did you really think we were in control and could overpower nature? These are natural consequences that we have helped create. Nature is only returning the poisons we have put in to her, the abuse we have inflicted on her. It is a time of reckoning now.
Stop with this fear, stop feeling sorry for yourself. You have allowed your minds to take over from your spirit. Now you have become weak. The food you have eaten has made you sick. The water today is filled with so much poison. You have contaminated the air; now you have climate change. It’s like we are caught in a runaway train leading to nowhere. That’s the fear, knowing we are going nowhere fast.
We cannot struggle against the natural force of the Earth.
Today we are encouraged more than ever to never overstep the Spirit in whatever challenges we may face. In our world as Indigenous people, we have faced many challenges and we will move on with the spirit of hope and faith in the spiritual realm. The Elders have requested we do a special ceremony in regards to the issue of covid 19. Given what is happening out there, with the fear and panic, there is even more reason why we must proceed with a strong faith and belief. It has always been by using our gifts to invoke the help of the spirit, that we begin.
This covid 19 has created a lot of fear and uncertainty. In the spiritual world there is never any uncertainty. Spirit never changes – it has always been there to support life. We need to connect with the spiritual realm.
There is always a root to the problems, challenges, and sicknesses we may face. We are being told in our lodges that this virus was unleashed by the animal world, because of our abuse against nature, represented by the animal world. We must feel what we have done to nature. Now, we run scared. We can run but we cannot hide. We are being held accountable by natural law.
Today, we are proud to present a follow-up document to the 1971 Wahbung paper. It has taken a lot of effort and ceremony to create a document and initiative that we entitled “Wahbanung – The Resurgence of a People: Clearing the Path for our Survival“. Wahbanung is the east, the rising sun, the place of birth and beginning. What we have done in this initiative is to highlight our true identity as a unique and distinctive Peoples.
We have highlighted leadership, a leadership that comes with very distinctive duties and responsibilities. A path if followed that can take us out of the current colonial environment we are living.
The resurgence of our people took hold in the late 1960s and early 70s. I remember these times. The law of prohibition was lifted in the 50s. So much damage had already been done. Most would not remember the ancestral ways, the songs, the ceremonies; the language. These were very hard times for us culturally. There were those amongst our Nations that remained faithful in keeping our language alive, our ceremonies alive. Today we acknowledge their dedication and courage. They have carried the hope for the future. And now we are here, to reflect once again, the path we need to choose.
This whole process of Wahbung, and now Wahbanung, that we have been involved with, began with a ceremony done in 1971 by the late Louis Prince. My father was given a name, headdress and Pipe, and initiated as a leader, and the spirit was invoked to support the work of the leaders of that time. What I have come to realize is how significant and important the ceremony done by the late Louis Prince really was. [Anishinaabe Elder, Dr.] Harry [Bone] and I were present, and we have shared the story many times.
We remember the instructions the Elder gave to the leader being honoured. The message was simple, “Help open the door for the People to return to their way of life.”
A door was opened by those leaders of that time, to restore our self-determination and unity as a People through walking the path of our identity as Anishinaabe, through our ceremonies, our languages and our way of life. Unfortunately there were not many who took advantage of this. The movement became more focused on challenging the governments and institutions that had a deep impact on our oppression. Not much has changed. The legislation of the Indian Act continues to overrule our independence and our right of autonomy.
We decided together as the authors of this document that to proceed today was in the spirit of the document itself.
We are presenting our way of life that has helped our People for tens of thousands of years.
My father always reminded us, “never ever run away from a problem. You meet it and deal with it, in a good way. You can run, but there is nowhere you can hide from yourself. There is nowhere you can hide from Mother Earth.”
Our decision to move ahead today was to show faith in a Higher Power, to know our ancestors are here with us today to offer their continued guidance. The gifts we hold, we embrace by using them. We are not alone and we will never be alone. Each of us is given a certain amount of time to live this human life. This is our Creator’s promise. What we focus on in each breath of life that we are given, it is always a moment of opportunity to do something good to serve a greater purpose.
Clearing the path was removing the obstacles that prevent us from living a simple, good way of life, that we call Mino Pimatisiwin.
We focused on our spiritual identity.
We focused on our way of life.
We focused on our laws.
We focused on our duties and responsibilities.
We focused on the importance of our ceremonies.
We focused on the faith required to rebuilding ourselves, our families, our communities, our Nation. The choice is in each of us to make, freely.
Our position that we share in Wahbanung is not meant for the external forces that try to keep us controlled within their legislation. Wahbanung is about us as a People. It is meant as a message for our People. It is about defining our true identity as Anishinaabe People. I am not a Canadian, I am an Anishinaabe. Canadians should not feel offended because we claim our right of leadership in our homeland.
In these current times, as we are overwhelmed with so many issues, it is easy to lose sight of our true purpose, and our responsibilities of leadership. Social media has become a huge distraction. Our children are addicted to it now. Our children are not feeling the land. Being locked up in these stuffy classrooms is not helping the spirit of our children.
Our hospital, our schools, our pharmacy, and our education come from the land. The land is where we learn about life, where we get our life from.
The so-called taxpayers of this country Canada see us as a burden, as a waste of resources. Obviously, they fail to remember who helped them to survive when their ancestors arrived. They moved in with a vengeance to conquer the land and all her resources, and the same attitude continues. Now we have climate change and coronavirus.
In the great wisdom of the Elders, we are encouraged to return to our sacred places to find the directions we will need to confront these challenges.
Everything begins with spirit. Our position is to establish our true leadership with the full autonomy of deciding our own destiny – our own future.
This leadership must be based upon the spirit our ancestors lived. Modeling colonial leadership disconnects us from our identity and our autonomy.
This document was not made for governments. It was made for the People. What we are proposing does not need the validation or approval from those oppressing us. We need to establish our own leadership now. We begin exercising our leadership by supporting our identity, that has the knowledge and understanding of what reflects who we are – the unique, distinctive, free and independent Original Peoples that are the true leaders of our homeland.
We need to stop acting from a marginalized position, engaging with the colonizer from a defeatist perspective in always asking for our rights, and submitting ourselves to be continuously treated with disrespect. Our position is about spirit and leadership. Our position is about a knowledge and understanding that we can offer that can help the world to heal and to transcend cycles of domination and victimization, war, and climate change.
Our brothers and sisters came from immigrants, and we had welcomed them, not for them to take our homes, or our homeland, but to work with them to create a new world of understanding, uniting the uniqueness of cultures of people from all over Mother Earth.
Our ancestors had true models of leadership for everyone – the mother, the father, the elders, the parents. Leadership begins from each of us. Leadership was never meant to reflect a rise to power, but rather a surrender in support of the laws of our Creator and the laws of the land.
Our way of life encourages each of us to become independent, by being true to your own spirit. Then you naturally fit into the collective of the vision of the people, who have found and live in freedom.
The position we have proposed in Wahbanung may seem radical to some – to make a sudden shift away from what we have become accustomed to. However, if we choose to remain in the current environment of domination we will also become victims of the same attitude of greed and power.
Our ancestors always knew our survival was in the hands of Mother Earth. She has always operated on the principle of balance and harmony. Disharmony tends to disconnect, not harmonize with the laws of nature.
To those who choose to help us, we do not go to them with cap in hand, but rather create an opportunity for them to truly give unconditionally.
The question has been asked so much, “Whose side do you stand on?” The initiative of Wahbanung is about standing with the Great Laws of our Creator and the Great Laws of Mother Earth.
How we are ensured continued breath of life is by living life in a good way, and that is with complete kindness, giving and sharing. Central to the giving and sharing are our children and our Elders.
We need to put some perspective to what is happening out there. What must prevail is common sense. Fear does not seem to have respect for common sense. We must approach this virus using a more holistic approach.
Nature is bringing us together, from all walks of life, to build a humanity we want, of a peaceful, loving people. We all have the God-given capacity to show and live in kindness.
One of our most powerful gifts that we have all been given is our natural immune system, our best defense that offers strength to the body.
Our mental attitude must meet these challenges with grace. Fear and worry will not be supportive of our natural defense mechanisms.
Our emotional well-being and peace of mind affects our natural immune system.
People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes such as becoming withdrawn, and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.
The thoughts we have in our mind can affect our whole being. The Earth’s energy operates on the principle of the positive. A strong feeling such as love, anger, joy, hate or fear is accompanied by a physical reaction.
We have severely harmed and weakened our best defense mechanism. We have compromised our health and wellness. The overuse of antibiotics makes them less and less effective. The foods we have consumed have made us severely weak and unhealthy. The processed foods filled with chemicals have attacked our bodies with a vengeance. Sugar is deadly, and it seems it has been added to most foods we are eating. Obesity is a symptom of this.
We are not drinking the most natural medicine to keep the body clean, water. That water needs to be blessed with spirit and prayer. The water we are drinking is not as pure as it was during the time of our ancestors. We have polluted the most important elements we need to live.
The air is contaminated with such an increase in carbon dioxide. The gift of air carries our thoughts, our words, and our messages. The drum is a good example of the air carrying the sound of the heartbeat – of the Earth, of our own heartbeats.
The sedentary life we are living weakens our immune system also. The medicines that are natural need to be brought back immediately. Most of our medicines are preventative, to clean the blood and cleanse the body and support our natural immune system. There’s a storm out there and we need to learn to ride the storm.
We are living witnessing nature doing its own cleansing. We must be in support of that. We must welcome a call on Mother Earth that encourages us to change our attitudes, our behaviours that are selfish and greedy.
What we all need more than ever is a faith, belief and a good understanding. The first thing we must remove from our minds is fear, or else you will have an overstock of toilet paper. We need to clean our minds and bodies.
Continuing to play politics with our lives will not resolve what we need most – we need connection to Spirit and the land. We need to spend more time on the land and within the sacred lodges of our People.
It really is a time to heal. Let us join the spirit of Mother Earth as she heals, that we also heal with her.
What will keep us alive is doing the work the Creator expects us to do. Stop chasing what doesn’t give us life. Stop running away.
Wahbanung is encouraging all of us to take full responsibility, beginning with our leadership and most importantly, to immediately offer support to the youth to be given a full immersion process, learning from the Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
Where our efforts should be put is on our survival. Not only do we consider physical survival but also our spiritual survival. We must act like a true Nation and to do that we begin by knowing who we are as Anishinabe People. We have a language, knowledge, and understanding of our duties and responsibilities as a free and independent People. We must move out of being called and looking at ourselves as Indian Act Indians.
I am not proposing taking a political position but rather a spiritual one. We have to do what we need to do, without seeking validation from the colonized government. We do it without confrontation but fully peacefully. The law of spirit does not respond to anger, confrontation, nor, of course, violence.
This is about change and changes are not immediate. Change has to start somewhere, and we propose the first step is to return to the beginning, which we have outlined within the document.
It is going to take faith, it is going to take responsibility, and it is going to take work and effort on our part. A good part of our problems is that we are living in an environment of dependency. We have allowed external forces to take over our lives.
Our leadership must be led by the gifts we were given by our Great Creator. The sacred pipe needs to be lifted in humbleness to invoke the Spirit within our presence with whatever actions and initiatives that we will embark on.
Our concentration should be on implementing our perspectives and models of healing, and creating our own traditional ancestral educational system to teach the children their identity that comes with sacred duties and responsibilities.
To our understanding, there are no separations. We are all one People. We have been created as one People living here in our home we call Mother Earth. There is no Manitoba. There is no Ontario; there is no Saskatchewan. These are just imaginary boundaries of separation. The work we must do that must begin in each of our communities should be as a collective in sharing and helping each other.
Putting energy to change a system is really meaningless. Change will happen when we build our own new narrative from the ground up, of course led by the Spirit itself.
To try and convince those in power and control, one has to surrender that most have become instruments of the economic structures that are very entrenched. What is lacking are the values needed to act as a foundation of what we do, what we create, how we treat each other, how we shared the land, and how we shared everything.
It’s all about respect. The value of respect has been completely thrown out the window and we opened the door to allow greed to enter. Money has become the God of our times. We equate survival with money. I heard one say, that money you treasure so much will not be worth much when the changes come. You will be lucky to use it as a bit of fuel to singe the hair of the animals and little creatures that may be left for you to eat. It is not money we need, we need more actions of kindness, more love shown to the land.
The true role of our leadership is first of all to be active in our leadership and lead a movement to unite all Peoples. We share how very important it is to live by the rules of conduct in our homeland.
We cannot continue to be silent in not expressing our perspective as a People. Our perspective must be shared with respect and kindness. This is our strength as a People. We have been able to create partnerships, with the full spirit of our autonomy and our identity as a People. We have developed relationships that we now have an equal voice in determining what we believe will best support the health and wellness of our People.
Here in this community we have created a healing place called Giigewigamig in the Pine Falls Hospital. We have introduced our own medicines, created sharing circles for healing, and built sacred fire arbours in four local communities for community members to share and heal. The Elders have accepted to take the full leadership of Giigewigamig. Much of it is the Elders volunteering their time. Most of the work being done is being concentrated in the four communities. If real change is going to happen, it must come directly from the People that are directly impacted with the symptoms of genocide.
Money is not going to buy us out of this mess; it’s going to take Spirit. Spirit will provide whatever we will need to deal with the many challenges such as this recent coronavirus. One has to understand, this is Nature at work – what’s the lesson here?
Mother Earth is releasing her sickness.
Has it not helped wake us up a bit from the deep sleep of arrogance we are in? Isn’t it about perspective?
What’s most important in life is family. You cannot live life in fear and panic. Let me repeat that. You cannot live life in fear or panic.
We need to live in faith with the Spirit. As much as we are concerned with our physical survival, we must focus on our spiritual survival. This is where the guidance will come from, not from institutions made by man.
There are definitely two unique paths. We have attempted to define a path that we have full faith and belief in, that we need to walk on. It is a path that will require a strong faith and belief. We will need to believe in ourselves. Family means everything and we must walk this road together, strengthening our families, strengthening and supporting the role of our mothers and our grandmothers. We have to put them back in their rightful role as the life-givers.
More than anyone, it is the mothers that need to have faith and belief in themselves, that they have been provided with the gift to guide our children to a good life.
Central to having a good life is the child. Everything we do and must do must be for the child. We are reintroducing the Mother Earth Lodge later this year, that one of our Grandmothers will share more about, as part of our initiative to support the return of the role of the Ogimaakwe, the life-givers, to their place of influence in leading and guiding our children. This is our most important priority as a People today.
I want to take the time to acknowledge my wife who left us about a month ago. She was half of this Lodge. I would never have been able to do what has been done here without her. She left us a legacy, a most beautiful gift, “The Sound of an Eagle Mother Earth Lodge”.
In memory of my wife’s legacy, this Lodge that she was a leader of is going to be put on in June. This is one of the ceremonial Lodges directly tied to the Turtle Lodge. It will always be about love. It is about honouring Mother Earth and all the life-givers. Through her inspiration, dedication and leadership, this lodge must be activated again. This is one of the only resources we have to spiritually survive and to reclaim the honour of all women.
It is a Lodge that teaches a woman how to be a woman in its most traditional sense.
This is how we will stop these issues we are living with today. Begin by supporting the women of our Nations in living their role, as the rulers of their nests we call homes. Their Lodge is what must be supported. The men have a role in the Mother Earth Lodge, to build and prepare the Lodge for the women, to look after the fires, to build a sweat lodge and retrieve the grandfather rocks, and to respond to whatever the women may request from the men. It must be done.
We keep looking for ourselves from outside our true identity. We will continue to be lost in this darkness unless we find the light of our Lodges.
The Mother Earth Lodge is directly connected to Mother Earth. This is the Lodge we must depend upon to survive into the future. It’s all the teachings that come from Mother Earth. In this Lodge we will support Mother Earth by honouring her spirit and learning her laws. This is how we must engage in changing our next current negative behaviour we are showing to Mother Earth.
The systems that we depend on so much are being shut down. The children have been freed from being captive in these school environments. Nature has pulled them out and taken them back to the parents, helping bring back family. Parents need to teach their children. People are encouraged to stay home – a reprieve from the hustle and bustle – the life of speed.
Obviously we have not reached our true destiny as humanity. We are still in a learning curve. Much of what nature is taking us through is only to help us come to terms with our negative behaviours.
Over the years that I’ve been involved in ceremonies, and working towards living our identity as the Original People of our homeland, what has become abundantly clear is that to survive we cannot do it without ceremony.
Ceremony has always been our way of life, as we live as close as we can to the values of our ancestors. Doing ceremonies on the land has brought us back to remember our instructions and respecting and taking care of the land. There’s absolutely no doubt that we must return more and doing ceremony on the land. This is what will ground us, and will help us to find balance within ourselves. If we continue to do the same things within our current struggles and not return to the land for healing, we will never get better.
Our current lifestyle is a complete imitation of a different world. It is understandable how easy it is to get lost in this overwhelming world of materialism. It is very seductive. It takes away our vision. We can become blinded by all these comforts. We become totally dependent on the system. We have to let go. Our own duties and responsibilities are in being balanced human beings. We’ve been overtaken by sicknesses. We seem to have no defenses to help with these crippling diseases, so we just succumb to the healthcare system. It is just preparing for the inevitable, death with much suffering.
If we take a quick snapshot of our communities, we see and feel a People in despair. The community is fragmented for various reasons. The community never moves forward. The ones put in positions of leadership continue to administer colonized systems, education, Band Office, health department, child welfare, and many of the other systems, all based on the colonial thought. There is no reflection of the original ways of our ancestors. We have become assimilated.
What is the most troubling is the loss of our values as a peaceful People. We have replaced the sacred values with selfishness and adopted the worst of greed, because of materialism. There’s no spirit of unity, only division and separation from each other. We have become suspect of each other‘s motives.
If there is any hope, it lies in the next generation of leaders. These young people need to be educated in the ways of their People. They have to return to the rites of passage from youth to adults. They have to be brought back into the lodges to help carry the teachings. We have to make an immediate investment to support a new leadership. This leadership must emerge from the lodges of our people. Time is running out, there is no time to waste, and no room for doubt or fear.
We have to let go of our anger, our fears and our doubts, and get to work building a world that defines our way of life, a way of life that comes with duties and responsibilities. Centered in these duties are the Children and the Elders.
Whatever we choose to do must be for the benefit of all. Our children deserve the right to know their true identity. Let go of colonial education and have faith in the knowledge of our Knowledge Keepers. I believe the main reason we have not let go of the colonial systems is because it has created employment for a few, and they are not prepared to let their paychecks go. So they are quite content to let things be, “don’t rock the boat.“ I know that many of us have been criticized for offering those kinds of comments, but it is only what we see, and it must be said.
The idea still prevails in those who have made it into the system, “if I can do it, so can you”, or “if you’re going to survive you have to become a full participant in and assimilated into the system.”
We’ve become deaf to the cries of our children. We hold onto this false hope that another People’s education will be the panacea for our survival and success. We never stop and look at what this way life has done to the earth, what it has done to dehumanize a People such as ourselves. Their way of living is our way of dying. Their way is a way to destroy life; why in the world do we want our children to learn how to exploit land, and continue to learn about another culture’s supremacy? It’s twisted history, that holds no truth, only domination filled with lies.
There is a biblical saying that there is a universal truth: “the truth will set you free”.
We hold the truth in our lodges, we hold onto that strong foundation of the teachings, laws and values of our ancestors.
When we finally connect to the Spirit is when we will become free. Spirit is about life, it is about love; it’s about kindness. It is about our spiritual survival.
Like in the past, it has always been the few who remain faithful and loyal to our ceremonies, our teachings, who brought us forward today.
It has become apparent that many of the challenges we face today are because of a lack of moral judgment and moral imperative.
As a People we have had to endure the invasion of our lands and the destroying of our cultures, with a vengeance. Yet in spite of all these attempts it has not worked. The attempt to destroy the spirit of a people connected to the spirit of the land has not worked. The spirit of the people has survived, granted, not without a lot of tremendous collateral damage.
We are still living with the impacts of this deliberate attempt to destroy the lands of the Original Peoples. With this terrible experience we have learned so much – most of all, how powerful the Spirit is and can be. We would not have arrived today with our way of life intact, without the Spirit guiding us and by staying connected to the land.
The greatest lesson we have learned has been seeing what a powerful way of life the Creator has blessed us with. Because of our closeness to the land, we have been able to feel the spirit of love that is beyond words. It is an intense feeling of joy and happiness. The land is everything. We have become the land. There is nothing more peaceful than sitting by the trees, listening to the sounds of nature speaking to each other, and there are many different languages. You quickly feel how connected and related we are to all of life. From deep inside, you feel that every living being has a purpose.
As you walk into the forest, you smell the sweetness of the land, a smell that becomes imprinted upon your whole being. As you come to a river, to a lake, you feel the power of the water. It has a powerful spirit. It will go wherever it wants to go. The sound of the gentle waves from a gentle wind is almost hypnotic, relieving your burdens, comforting and healing you.
And all this madness that we are witnessing today is a total reflection of many involved that have been disconnected from spirit and the land. There is no talk of spirit.
The problem is with spiritual identity.
We keep looking for our answers from outside our true identity, using methods that are not our own, such as civil disobedience. We will continue to be lost in this darkness unless we find the light of our lodges and return to our powerful way of life that has the answers to our dilemma.
We have reached a time of reckoning, a critical time for choices to be made. For most, they will stay in denial, believing that the systems they have created will save them. What we seem to be witnessing is a massive global suicide.
Deep down inside, to those who have any sense of sanity, we instinctively know we are in a lot of trouble. The problem we have, is that it has become so overwhelming. We feel there is nothing any of us can do. We reach that sense of hopelessness. Some will turn to protest, and sometimes major protests. Well, it doesn’t work. What has always been missing in the conversation is spirit, an element that has yet to be fully accepted and understood. This is where the land becomes everything – the true teacher for life.
The challenge with returning to the land means having to let go of what has given us so much comfort and false freedom. There will be a need for a sacrifice most are not willing to make.
No matter how we can lessen the blow of the Earth changes that are coming, the fact remains, if we are going to survive, we have to totally rely on Mother Earth.
It will not be about money anymore, it will be about water, it will be about clean air; it will be about food. It will be about the sacred fire. Somehow through the great love of Mother Earth, she will ensure we survive the cleansing she needs to do, as she corrects us, teaches us, and restores her and our balance. The dilemma we face is making our own personal choices on what to do.
The first and most important thing to do is to connect with your own individual spirit. It will require ceremony, led by the Indigenous Peoples. This is our gift and responsibility. One would have to make their way to our Lodges. Within the Lodge would begin one’s initiation to the land. One cannot go to the land without this initiation and education.
It would require an individual to find themself, to know their identity, which would be defined by their own spirit. This is the key to the beginning of understanding our true purpose here on Mother Earth. It is in the Lodges that one will feel the spirit with the presence of the ancestors. It is in the Lodges that the truth is spoken. It is in the Lodge the sacred and natural laws are taught. It is here you will hear about one’s duties and responsibilities as a parent, mother, father, uncle, auntie, grandparent, and great-grandparent. These duties and responsibilities define what makes a community. One learns about leadership. Ultimately one learns survival skills. One learns how to take care of the Earth.
The choice one needs to make it simple. Do you want to learn about the element of spirit and how it can affect and influence your life, and your own future? That is the choice to make freely.
We are encouraged and inspired by the Knowledge Keepers to seek the spirit within us. The Lodges have created that environment to make that happen.
What we all need to do is take a step back and look at what we are doing to ourselves, to each other, and to the land. If we do this, look back in sincerity, we will begin to hear a voice from within us. It is the voice that you must be guided from. We must learn to take responsibility for their individual lives, and it always begins with spirit. Spirit is what can guide us to true purpose in life. Given what we are seeing in the world today, we have to step out of that box, with trust and have faith in joining the circle of life.
The circle is a never-ending symbol of everlasting life. All we need to do is look at Mother Earth in her symbol of a circle. Everything returns to itself, to begin again. Death does not stop life; it is a part of life. Something has to die in order for something to grow. A mother uses her gift to bring life into this world, then lives the life of that woman, dies and returns to where she has come from. What she has given life to must now take her place, and live with what she has lived and done, what she has been born to do as a mother. Life always passes onto each generation, with the same duties and responsibilities. We must not renege on the sacred responsibilities. We must not break the sacred circle.
The Creator has a perfect plan in place. Everything has been predetermined, even our own individual lives. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What is the lesson here?” When something happens that has a global impact, the lessons become greater.
Within our genetic memory, we remember the epidemics of the past, the Spanish flu of 1919 was one of the deadliest epidemics in history. It was when there was a great loss of numbers of human life. Our Nations were devastated. My grandfather was 19 years old and remembers what happened here in our community during the time of the Spanish flu. There were so many deaths that they hauled all the bodies in what he called the Stone boat. They dug a huge hole to put the bodies into the ground. No services were done.
The truth must prevail in all of this, as we do not know who or what to believe. We can lose trust in each other.
This is a time to reflect on so many things. We have concentrated so much on our physical survival, once again we have left the Spirit behind. How do we serve the world of the Great Spirit in these times of change that are filled with teachings?
There is a loving Great Spirit, so filled with love. Our gracious Creator.
He never leaves us alone.
He encourages us to stand and move along.
He understands this troubled world.
He understands our broken hearts.
He understands our fear.
The Creator created a perfect plan for each of us. It is time to find and live that plan.
There is a sacred vow we have made that was to last forever: “we will bring peace and love into this world”. We have nothing to worry or fear, we are free in spirit. To flow with the spirit of the wind, to see the clear blue sky, with the sun shining down on us, letting us know we can never be alone. We can walk with the Grandfather Sun to help bring the light we need in our world – no more darkness, no more fear, becoming totally free.
I just want to conclude here in offering my gratitude.
I hope that what we have shared can be received and offered to all People. The Turtle Lodge has always been open to all People. We have never discriminated. I hope you will share this message because in the sacred lodges is shared the truth. Sometimes it is hard to hear but it has to be said.
If we are really to centre the children in our lives, we have to be motivated to change, to teach them, and to teach the mothers and the fathers what it is to have a family.