Message by Elder Dr. Dave Courchene at the Setting the Foundation for Good Relations in Our Homeland: A Webinar by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers Addressing Racism in Healthcare

Posted in: Elder Messages

January 11, 2021

By Elder Dr. David Courchene

(Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Leading Earth Man)

We are living in unprecedented times. After much reflection, and witnessing what is happening to our world, it has become quite clear that humanity is suffering from the mindset of domination, that originated from the idea that we could control and dominate Nature. The land is the foundation of life and must be treated with absolute respect. To do anything less, we harm not only the Earth, but ourselves.

Racism, like other concerning issues such as climate change, pandemics, violence, insurrection, mental illness and addiction, is a symptom. The root of our dilemma, which has created these symptoms, is a severing of our relationship with our source of life, the Earth. When we lose touch with the Earth, we lose our connection to our true spiritual identity, and a true understanding of our uniqueness, our purpose as humanity, our original instructions, and our duties and responsibilities.

When we go to the root of racism, our solutions lie in re-establishing our sacred connection and relationship with the Earth. 

Our health and well-being as human beings is directly connected to the health and well-being of Mother Earth. We have made the land sick and contaminated our food chain. How we conduct ourselves in relationship to the land and to other members of creation directly affects the balance of life. What we do to the land we do to ourselves. The Earth operates on the principle of balance, and natural living laws. When we comply with these natural laws, we can restore the balance of our source of life. When our mother feels well, we as her children will become well again.

We need to work on innovative initiatives to addressing the problem of disconnect to the land, that are based on sacred values. May I humbly propose we begin by developing an education and implementation process to educate the youth of this country to become stewards of the land. 

The uniqueness of our approach lies in reconnecting young people with nature and culture as a basis to help change the attitude of dominating the Earth to one of respect and compliance with natural laws. The youth need to be encouraged to become unified in taking care of the Earth, thus creating the foundation of good relations in our homeland and a paradigm for the new world. 

Man must be initiated by Mother Earth to feel the kindness that comes from the land, and to realize his duties and responsibilities to become true caretakers.

We take the youth to the land to learn the ancestral ways of stewardship, which are based on values. It’s not just about going to the land, it’s about rekindling our spiritual relationship with the land, and in doing so, rekindling the spiritual part of our nature and our true identity as humanity. For us ceremony is about thanking the spirit and land and creating sacred relationship.  Before we go to the land to engage with and receive from the land, we always do a ceremony of gratitude. Showing gratitude rekindles the spiritual part of our nature.  It makes us kind. It makes us humble.

When we feel the love of the land, it is this love we naturally share with all. We develop the attitude of working together with the common spirit of loving the land, then that love can grow and extend to humanity itself. 

It is the leadership of our Knowledge Keepers who know the land that would make our initiative unique, in keeping with our traditions of Elder leadership. 

It is through the Knowledge Keepers’ guidance, teachings and the ceremonies they conduct, that the youth can be supported in knowing the land and feeling the land. 

We need to revolutionize our education system, by calling upon the Knowledge Keepers to create the foundation of an Earth-based education, complete with teachings and ancient approaches of connecting to the land, such as rites of passage. Learning to read the Book of Nature gives our youth the best chance of surviving with a knowledge of how we can live following the laws of nature. 

We have used science and technology to create our present world, yet without a foundation of values. Now let us ground this knowledge with the wisdom and intelligence of the land to develop a stewardship program second to none.

We have to work together. 

There is no one panacea to solve all problems. Nature operates on the principle of balance and oneness. Nature shows us it’s the principle of working together with diverse approaches, based on sacred values and natural laws, that keep the balance. Let the land, which is full of the spirit of life, be our connection and the foundation of our new world. Let us be guided by the laws of nature.

Reconnecting to the land in a spiritual way is the most important step that cannot be bypassed any longer. The land can provide us direction in how to live in a sustainable and respectful way. The land has an intelligence, a heart of kindness, and her own laws that must be learned and understood. Sacred relationship and communication with the land will provide the ultimate solutions to our current crises. By being on the land, the youth will begin to hear the voice of the land.

The youth must be given maximum support to become true caretakers of the land and human beings of peace, as guided by our Knowledge Keepers. Maximum investment must be made in developing this concept and supporting this initiative of true stewardship, that will have a long-term benefit.

Places of education led by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, who carry the knowledge of the laws of the land and rules of conduct should be recognized, established and supported with proper investment, the same way that other educational institutions, such as the university and public school systems, have received full investment.

This is how we can begin to change the negative narrative in this country. Begin with the youth, who will grow to understand our connection to the Earth, that will unify us as humanity.  They will quickly realize we are all related and connected in humanity, working together with one heart to ensure our responsibility to take care of Mother Earth. 

A national education campaign should be launched, where Indigenous Peoples share their knowledge of our relationship that has sustained us for tens of thousands of years. We want to come forward, to share that knowledge and our strengths, that are embedded in our identity as the Original Peoples of our homeland. We will not impose, but rather offer a spirit of sharing. 

Our best hope for a more peaceful world rests in the hands of our youth. Give them a chance to be the leaders they can be, to be guided by the mother of all mothers, Mother Earth. She will never betray her children.

Then a new world will grow that collectively we envision.

Rediscovering our identity as unique members of the human family is fundamental.  We all have gifts to share, and an identity that was given to us, complete with original instructions on how to take care of each other and how to take care of our home, Mother Earth. It is the land itself that is the source of the solutions to the spiritual identity crisis and the symptoms we are facing. The land can revive our individual identity. We start to feel, to hear the voice of the land, to become inspired and to dream. 

True humanity is built on values that stem from the heart – to be kind, to be humble, to show respect, to love all of creation.

When we begin by re-establishing our relationship with the Earth, we will find our way out of this world that is not sustainable.

We will achieve justice and oneness, knowing we are all brothers and sisters, united by the heart.

Read more here:

Media Release: Indigenous Knowledge Keepers will host national meeting to address racism and set the foundation for good relations in their homeland

5 Comments for : Message by Elder Dr. Dave Courchene at the Setting the Foundation for Good Relations in Our Homeland: A Webinar by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers Addressing Racism in Healthcare
  1. Reply

    Thank you for your wise insights Elder Dave Courchene. We can all follow this course of action together. It is possible. Keep leading the way for us please.

    • Beverly Jean Merrick
    • January 28, 2021

    As Senator and Supreme Court Judge Murray Sinclair retires, our work never does. Thank you for your continued commitment. I am here in support from Long Plain First Nation to your endeavors. Former Supreme Judge Murray Sinclair was a student to my late grandfather, Angus Merrick. I am honored to be one of your original disguised students and forever dear, dear friend. Miss Beverly Jean Merrick, from Long Plain First Nation.

    Chee Meegwetch, I will see you again. Please send out Love to OUR family. Beverly

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