Canada’s history with Indigenous peoples is fraught with colonization and assimilation that destroyed centuries of cultural traditions and practices. Often when we hear about Indigenous peoples it is in discussion about residential schools, the 60’s scoop and the ongoing removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities. September 30th is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. This day honors children who never returned home, as well as survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day, which exists to raise awareness of the inter-generational impacts of residential schools. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by indigenous children over generations. I am not Indigenous and intend to be a humble lifelong learner in this space. One thing that I have heard countless times throughout my learning is the importance of connection with the land. Indigenous ways of living are shaped by the land they inhabit such as previous and current ways of shelter, food resources, and spiritual practices. There are many ways we can connect and honor the land including walking in nature, tending to a garden or fishing in a local lake.
Below are a few Indigenous resources to learn more about their rich and significant culture:
The Okanagan is the ancestral and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. Here is the website to learn more about Syilx: https://www.syilx.org/about-us/syilx-nation/
To find the ancestral Indigenous people that have inhabited and care for the land you currently occupy: https://native-land.ca/
Daily meditation and quotes from Indigenous people with information about their daily lives: https://wellbriety.com/meditations/
Meditation from September 12, 2022
“If you get troubled, go, and sit by the river. The flowing water will take your troubles away.”
– Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE
Sometimes we get mixed up and we don’t know what to do. Go to the river or creek. Take your sage and tobacco; sit and be still. Talk to the water, offer tobacco and the healing water will take your problems downstream. Give thanks.
Great Spirit, heal my mind today, let me see love.