Karen and I stayed until noon the next day at Turtle Lodge and were honoured to witness the morning part of the ceremony of leadership and water. Elder Dave Courchene talked about the responsibilities of the original people, their survival, the importance for them to take their place as leaders to the world for us all to live in harmony with Mother Earth. He spoke: “We reject assimilation. We are a beautiful people… And we have the responsibility to heal ourselves with the unconditional love of Mother Earth.” Dave Courchene also said: “Water is a primary concern and carries in its spirit the memory of creation.”
Fred Kelly spoke about all the waters being connected and told the creation story of the different waters coming from the sky to join the grandfather stones. Grandmother Katherine Whitecloud: Speak with the spirit to make our families and our nation whole again. And then we heard from the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde who spoke of his experience in Alert Bay some months ago where the community demolished the residential school then celebrated with dancing and singing and he heard a ten year old girl speak and shout with celebratory defiance “They didn’t win!”
We needed to rejoin our journey and left with gratitude to the Turtle Lodge knowing we are part of the “2-legged tribe” responsible for reconciliation and environmental healing. As we drove into Alberta, we listened on CBC Alberta Today to author and Idle No More founder Sylvia McAdam talking about righting treaty violations and sharing knowledge with the world to arrest environmental decimation. Her book is titled Nation Interrupted.
I carry the deep feeling that all who share this land can come together to heal. A great voice is growing. Let’s all hear it now.