Gathering Statement of the Turtle Lodge National Knowledge Keepers’ Council 2020

By Elder Dave Courchene, Hon. LL.D.

Chair, National Knowledge Keepers’ Council, Turtle Lodge

Recently from August 7 to 10, 2020, the Turtle Lodge National Knowledge Keepers’ Council gathered at the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Education and Wellness in Manitoba to discuss the current challenges that are affecting our world and the Earth itself. I am sharing this message on behalf of my respected colleagues on the National Turtle Lodge Knowledge Keepers’ Council.

Our largest concern, at this time, is the disconnect of human beings to spirit and land. We believe this detachment is the root cause of much of what is creating an imbalance in our world today. Some examples of this imbalance are reflected in climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing global loss of habitats and biodiversity, the issue of racism, and the opioid crisis. 

In the pursuit of healing for all Nations, the Knowledge Keepers have suggested that Sacred Fires be lit. They teach us that the elements of earth, air, water and fire, the roots of life, work together to ensure balance. Through the Sacred Fire, and this balance, comes instruction from the spirit. As we light the Sacred Fires, it brings the sun, the essence of spirit and all life, into our presence. Its light and warmth help us in journeying towards our true identity, our purpose and our dreams. This is the first step in transforming ourselves to be People of the heart, and learning to lead with love for ourselves, each other, and all living things. 

This request of lighting Sacred Fires is in keeping with the ways of our ancestors, the First Peoples, and is the first step to ensure our survival as human beings. There is fire in each of us that needs to be nurtured. The date chosen to light our Sacred Fires is December 21 2020, the solstice, and we will be joined by people all over the planet. The fire acts as the entrance to the spiritual realm. It is in humbleness that we request the help of our highest intelligence — the natural forces and laws that govern the universe and the land itself. 

We need healing, and the land cleansed from the impurities causing the destruction of life, which are harming the animals, the birds, water, plants, and ourselves. With humility we invoke the help of the spirit so we might evolve to take better care of the earth, and accept with gratitude this collective responsibility. 

Through the help of the Sacred Fire we will receive direction that can help us reach a deeper level of understanding, and lead us into balance, harmony, and peace with all life on Mother Earth.

Wherever you may find yourself on Mother Earth, join us in lighting a Sacred Fire that will bring light to a dark world.  

Elder Dr. Dave Courchene (Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Leading Earth Man) is the founder of the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness and chair of the Turtle Lodge’s National Knowledge Keepers’ Council. 

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