In honour of Grandfather William Commanda and his teachings that he shared with us.
Today I heard an Elder talk about how our people always pray. We pray for understanding. We pray for the enemy to become an ally. We pray around the sacred fire and offer our tobacco so that one day these visitors on our land will understand our way of life, our understanding of how the world operates and how our societies and how our clans operate, and how we follow protocols, how we honour the land, the water, and the world we live in.
And I thought about our people.
Our people are such gentle people. We even pray for our enemies. And we pray everyday for them to wake up. We even take the time to understand our enemy to the point where we understand them more than they understand themselves. And this is a cause of such frustration and at times anger where we can’t stand being so gentle anymore. Because we know what is true. And the truth lies in our societies, our clans, our social structures and our languages. And we want to take a stand but that anger inside brews wild and makes us into crazy-makers. And anger is good but only if you know how to use it to bring about change. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of angry people getting more people angry and all kinds of chaos ensues. And change never happens.
And I thought about our people. Our people are angry. We are angry about so many things. Too many things. Things that don’t even make sense anymore. We believe in the treaties that our ancestors signed long ago with the Queen of England, the crown and the government of Canada. These treaties are legal documents that have failed to be upheld by the state to this day. Yet, our people believe and we pray for our enemies to become our allies. When those treaties were signed together by our ancestors and the ancestors of those first immigrants to Canada it binds all future generations together for as long as the grasses grow and the water flows.
And I thought about our people. Our people have integrity. When our ancestors signed treaties and gave their word, they knew any word uttered meant something deep and spiritual. Because our breathe is tied to those words and those words are sacred. The same is true for the written word and signatures. This is why we pray and we offer tobacco. We know there is power in words and power in the spirit of tobacco. It is this that makes us human, anishnaabe.
And I thought about our people and how our people can believe so much in tomorrow and that something good will happen. It’s been over 500 years, and yet we pray that something good will happen. Even when the water is contaminated. Even when there are nuclear plants leaking radiation into the Pacific Ocean. Even when a child eats a big mac instead of eating some dried deer meat. We pray.
And I think about the generations of Canadians and how they don’t even know any of these protocols that we know. They don’t know about the treaties that they are governed by because it’s not just us that are governed by these treaties. They don’t know about the history of Canada. Or even try to understand the true history of Canada because if they knew they would understand that Canada has a lack of integrity. That signing legal documents means nothing. That giving your word means nothing. And yet it has a seal of approval. Approval to lie, cheat, deny and relinquish responsibility.
And I think our people will keep on praying and offering tobacco today, tomorrow and the day after that.
And I will pray that more words will come to me. More insights and a better understanding so that I will have the courage and the strength to make allies and create change in this world that has turned upside down. And I will pray that more of our people will continue to rise up with good intentions and with support of our elders and clan mothers to create change and a true alliance is made.
And I will pray that the people who immigrated here long ago along with their generations of descendants will be brave enough to create that change with us along the two row wampum belt.
Today I heard an Elder talk about how our people always pray. And I honour that.
Here’s some late night reading. Please take the time to enlighten yourself. Be the change you want to be in the world (Gandhi). Peace and blessings to you all. Over and out.