Why a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness?
INVITATION FROM INDIGENOUS ELDERS AND KNOWLEDGE KEEPERS
As Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers, we have always relied on the Spirit to guide us toward a peaceful, harmonious life, and a close and sacred relationship with the land.
With the myriad of challenges facing humanity – climate change, violence and war, mental health and addiction crises, the ongoing marginalization and poverty among First Peoples – we need more than our sharpest minds to solve the problems before us. We need the Spirit.
As First Peoples of this land, Indigenous Elders invite citizens of all religious and spiritual traditions to come together for a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness and to pray together in solidarity and unity.
The Day of Prayer begins on August 6th at 9 am at the East Coast of Canada and follows the path of the sun traveling from East to West. Please join us with your moment of prayer, ceremony or mindfulness at 9 am local time.
Stand with us and pray with us!
for Reflections by Nii Gaani Aki Inini on the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness
In today’s reality, we struggle with a loss of humanity. We face misunderstanding and violence. Over 2.9 million youth in this country are in a state of depression. Many contemplate suicide. Addiction has become a national issue. As the First Peoples we continue to find ourselves marginalized and in poverty. The world faces nuclear showdowns. Climate change is a critical issue, reflecting a loss of relationship with the Earth, which provides our home and everything we need to live.
The peace we are seeking must begin with the help of Spirit, that will lead to defined actions. These actions must be in union with the Spirit, following our spiritual and natural laws, teachings and ancestral values. They must be based on love, kindness and respect.
People misunderstand prayer and ceremony and think that our work is limited to prayer and ceremony. We must combine our prayers with direct action, based on direction we will be given through dreams and visions throughout our Nation. Prayer and ceremony creates a direct relationship with the Spirit that begins to guide us. In our understanding we have to meet the Creator half way and do the work that the Spirit asks of us.
The true power lies in the Spirit, and in the power of the individual connected to Spirit. We must believe in the power of love and respect. To pray together is about taking back our power. It reflects the need for us as human beings to value our spirituality and spiritual ways of knowing.
Who initiated the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness?
The National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness
was initiated by Elder Dave Courchene from the Turtle Lodge in Manitoba, acting on behalf of a National Indigenous Elder Council from the four directions across Canada. Elder Courchene has been designated to be the holder and caretaker of a special pipe commissioned by the Elders, that will be used for this prayer.
Because every prayer matters, the Elders wanted to call all people in the nation to a National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness
: a national day that people of all religions, denominations and sects pray or meditate in their own way, in their own churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and lodges. The hope is that they stand with Indigenous people and call out in their own way for unity, understanding and a peaceful resolution.
Supported by the AFN Chiefs Committee on Health
A resolution to hold the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness
on August 6th was passed unanimously at a recent meeting of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs Committee on Health.
Assembly of First Regional Chief Isadore Day was strongly in support of the idea.
“Humanity is at a crossroads, with many pressing issues facing not only First Nation people, but all races, creeds, religions and genders. We must defer to our Elders and spiritual Knowledge Keepers for direction and support. Our survival as a human species relies on our willingness to seek wellness of the spiritual foundation of the human family. To that end, we support fully the National Day of Prayer.”
— Regional Chief Isadore Day, Assembly of First Nations
Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee says it’s important for Canadians and First Nations to come together in a spirit of harmony.
“It is crucial, if we are going to empower ourselves as Indigenous people, that we embrace and restore our identity and legal and spiritual systems. Regional Chief Day is calling out to all First Nation territories to light sacred fires to symbolize and support the National Day of Prayer.”
— Grand Chief Patrick Madahbee, Union of Ontario Indians
An Invitation to Turtle Lodge for People in Manitoba
Everyone is invited to the Turtle Lodge this Sunday August 6 to take part in the National Day of Prayer and Mindfulness. Please arrive by 8:30 am for the ceremony, which will begin at 9 am, followed by a Potluck Feast at 11 am. We will be bringing out a special Sacred Pipe that was received in vision by Blackfoot (Peigan) Elder Morris Littlewolf last year, and commissioned by First Nation Elders and Knowledge Holders from the four directions in the nation. Grandmothers Florence Paynter and Mary Maytwayashing will also be conducting a Water Ceremony. Please come and join us and bring a dish to share!
“It is through prayer and ceremony that we ask the Spirit to give us the strength and courage to fulfill our duties and responsibilities that are defined through our original instructions, our spiritual laws, our natural laws, and our ancestral knowledge.”
— Elder Dave Courchene