Through the language we can bring healing to our people.

 

Through the Language we can bring healing to our people.

Tansi/Kwe,

As a First Nation, Inuit, and/or Metis individual, what priorities would you bring to the forefront of Turtle Island in order to bring healing, renewed relationships, positive action and revitalization of our diverse cultures?

This question was at the heart, spirit and intent of over 26 First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nations as I travelled Far East to “Unama’ki – Land of the Fog” and “People of the Dawn” in Membertou First Nation, Nova Scotia. Knowledge keepers, youth, elders, women, men, two spirited and all sovereign passionate souls gathered here on Mi’kmaq territory to collaborate, discuss, network, share stories and record ideas toward this question and plausible solutions.

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Jeff Ward (a member of Membertou First Nation) confidently stated that, “through the language we can bring healing to our people.” I have heard this time and time again from elders back home on the plains as well. That our languages and cultures go hand in hand and that it’s vital to keep our languages alive in order to also keep our cultures alive.

Jeff Ward also mentioned that, “We have a gift of Indigenous language, we need to think about that and honour that. Think of this gathering here in the east as a new beginning”.

A woman from the Native Women’s Association of Canada proclaimed that “Indigenous women are keepers of the language” and that only 5% of First Nation children learn an Indigenous language.

Many of these knowledge keepers, with passion in their words, their eyes pleading and searching for change, their hearts pouring out to a sea of Indigeniety sparked a flame inside my being. It had always been there but had not been inflamed to that capacity.

Being a young Nihithaw and Anishinaabe woman, who was born and raised in the urban inner city, far from any Indigenous language other than the “official” colonial construct of English and French. I am now learning so much more about the loss of our culture and languages and how its such an incredibly important time right now to strengthen our heritage, revitalize and reclaim who we are as Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. I must return back to my roots, visit and learn from the source, from my Cree (Nihithaw) territory in Northern Manitoba. I must return back and fully immerse myself in the language in order to fully become fluent.

Some nations have only a few fluent speakers of the language left and most of them are beginning to approach their final years in this physical realm. This is very painful to hear and ignites my spirit to want to create concrete action in order to reverse this. To create new generations of speakers.

Some tips to achieve this include:

  1. Record and document elders
  2. Teach children in public school system
  3. Begin immersion with on-reserve schools
  4. Create new generation of adult speakers committing to 2000 hours of meaningful exposure to the language.
  5. Language camps
  6. Elder socials
  7. utilization of media (TV, movies, cartoons, books, social media, etc.)

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With that, us as Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit, Metis peoples need to ask ourselves how bad do we want it? What are the commitments we are willing to make right now in this moment? What sacrifices do we want to make for our languages and culture? We need to feed the passion. We need to accept our role, its all within us.

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A group of passionate youth rose up and spoke out. They exclaimed straight from spirit that “before asking the people for their hand, we must ask for their heart”. They also said that language revitalization is about healing, reconciliation and belonging. We need to ask what re-learning our languages would mean for those “lost generations” to the residential school survivors. To bring life back to their beings and spirits. We must infiltrate and enforce our leadership, lead by example, use language whenever we can, adopt traditional roles and have hands on learning.

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Its time for us to come together and collectively heal. I believe in us.

Self Doubt, Insecurities, Etc.

332Self doubt. we all have it from time to time. some more than others. In fact, I’ve had major self doubt about this post. I haven’t written anything in awhile because I’ve been over thinking on what kind of content to write. Should I write about serious personal stories? perhaps a comedic piece? or how about just some photography? maybe a story about an upcoming event? so many things crossed my mind and then I would scratch them out because I would think that it wasn’t interesting enough. Then I got to the point where I was questioning my previous posts. After way too much thinking about what to write next I realized how ridiculous I was being.

I started questioning myself, why do I always worry about what others think? why do I always compare myself to other people or other blogs? I can write about whatever the hell my little heart desires! Then I got to thinking that I’m not the only one who does this. Just by reading this post so far you can imagine how deeply I think into things and how my train of thought can be crazy sometimes. Anyways, after all of this wondering I starting thinking, why do so many of us doubt ourselves? maybe it’s the messages and images put out by the media or the way society raised us or maybe it’s just all simply a part of human nature. I guess no one really knows. This is starting to turn into a ramble which is alright and I’m glad that I warned you about ramblings in my blog title and my first post entitled, “New Beginnings”. So don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

Anyways, after all this thinking of self doubt, insecurities and things related to this I started wondering about how it would be if more of us started to not worry about what others thought, if we lived in a world without self doubt. Sure, there must be a balance of consciousness obviously, we don’t necessarily want murderers to be running around our neighborhoods confidently. But what if that boy down the street wasn’t afraid to go after his dreams, what if that woman went beyond her self doubt and created a masterpiece of art, what if YOU moved beyond all that self doubt, all those insecurities and purely did what you loved without worrying about what the outcome would be. Sure, they may be individuals out there who have come to this epiphany way earlier that I did and they are doing this as we speak but my point is, we all have the potential to do great things, we all have the potential to create wondrous things! It may sound incredibly cliche but it’s true. We may fall down sometimes and we may fail but with hard work, passion and moving beyond those fears we can all bring great things.

There is so much things I would love to do and things I’ve been wanting to do or try for a very long time. I also find that I compare myself to other people  who are doing all these cool things which lead to me saying, you know what..I can do that! Instead of holding back in fear of being judged, envying others who are doing them and forever being to afraid to try, I should just get off my lazy ass, shut up my loud insecure mind and do it!  I’m taking it upon myself to move past my comfort zone and finally do all the things I’ve been wanting to try or do and I challenge all of you who are reading this right now to do the same! Life is all about experiences and learning from them, I know that far off in the future I don’t want to regret not trying something just because of fear of being judged or fear of failing. But please take into account, I am not advising that we all go try the new drugs or that new cocktail at the bar. Everyone has their limits, everyone has their choices so please move past your comfort zones responsibly.

Let me know in the comments below what you’ll do next!