Gather Women Canada

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Imagine a Canada...

 Greetings all my relatives, Tansi!  ‘Namwayut – We Are All One.  All human beings everywhere, wherever they live – we are one – Humanity.  It is a gorgeous spring day here on Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan and I cannot wait to join you all in Winnipeg at our Gather Women Canada event on June 3…

I love this beautiful country we live in, and on this 150th anniversary I pray for awareness and understanding of the 500 years of history on the land we now call Canada, that this provides an opportunity for each and every one of us of all diversities to act on what we learn about Canada’s history and take actions towards forgiveness and reconciliation. The future of our children and grandchildren rests on the kind of relationships we build today.  Reconciliation is a difficult task, and I invite you to reflect what Paul calls us to in 2 Corinthians 5, which echoes Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount about the importance of peacemaking and reconciliation, and more recently, which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called all Canadians to engage in. 

One of the questions I always want to pose to you that you should pose to yourself is this… who are we – why are we here?  It’s a profound question, because it’s not only about asking yourself who you are based on the life experience you’ve had up until this moment but more about how are you going to live out the rest of your days.  How you are going to be relative to others as you were created to do?  How are you going to hold yourself up and others up, in creating a world that is much more caring and compassionate where everybody is important?  Everybody has value, everybody has purpose.  We haven’t asked ourselves that question often enough and there are people in our land who are becoming further and further marginalized and behind.  That every child who lives here, regardless of the color of their skin, has the opportunity to achieve their optimum … every child.  One of the things that is happening on this earth, God’s kingdom, every color, every creed, every race, everybody’s here and we have to know how to begin to cradle one another, honor each other, respect each other, love one another.  Our young people are beginning to build silos around themselves, already feeling divided and different, afraid.  So, it’s our duty, all of us to make sure that we acknowledge our common humanity.  Everybody has something in common about how we see the world around us, what we care about, what we inspire to be.  We must find that core again.

It’s crazy – the complexities that exist today in our world – which we have created.  I’m beyond blessed with the opportunity to travel the globe and speak on reconciliation, repentance, restoration and peace building.  At the very essence and core of reconciliation is that idea that we can rediscover love in all of our lives – and not just to limit it to our own families, but to be able to extend that view of others and to love them for who they are, what they are, wherever they live and whatever the color of their skin, we must learn to relove each other again.  Politics will not change that, law will not change that, it is you and I who will change that, with your hearts, your minds and your very souls, opening up to the idea that of course we are one humanity.

What does it look like for us to engage in the ministry of reconciliation in this country?  What would it take to begin to heal the deep wounds of division among our people?  The 94 Calls to Action offers some first steps – education of ourselves and our people in the history of colonization; residential schools and why apologies were necessary; education of church leaders and their communities who work in Indigenous communities and to respect Indigenous culture and spirituality.  Inspire – Motivate – Educate – towards Reconciliation.

We are all in this together, we all have a part to play in the healing of God’s Kingdom and in the renewing of the Canadian federation in which we all now reside.  The very first book of the Bible informs us, “We are ALL created in the image of God.”  So how do we in this time and in this place, begin to think about how we are going to be caring for all people, not just our families and interests, but all people?

I am excited to share my story with you all as a Nakota Cree woman who loves Jesus deeply, and have you journey alongside my story of forgiveness, loss of culture, identity and spirituality.  Forgiveness from abduction and of loss of identity from a government that intended to take “the Indian out of the child”, to assimilate the savage heathen to the dominant white culture.  I have lived ‘both sides of the coin’, raised white by a loving family, with the core of my identity Indigenous … a wholeness that I have now found. As a resilient survivor of foster care and assimilation, I share my journey of forgiveness, justice, and reconciliation bringing hope towards a grander vision for tomorrow’s leaders, our children and grandchildren.  

~ Desmond Tutu:

“The quality of human life on the planet is nothing more than the sum total of our daily interactions.  Forgiveness is the way we mend tears in the social fabric.  It is the way we stop our human community from unraveling.”