Sunday, July 3, 2016

Building good relationships

Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings - “Lovely day Misses”, the voice echoed across the parking lot. I look around with surprise and delight to see a Pikanii acquaintance smiling and waving. The gesture is indicative of a significant difference of mood happening on our streets as Indigenous and non-Indigenous folks share smiles and greetings. It seems the country’s efforts with the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” are making a difference.

It’s been a privilege to help plan a cross-cultural gathering titled “A Journey Toward Good Relationships”. Through sharing fellowship and spiritual reflection, Blackfoot and non-Blackfoot participants are inviting each other to build positive relationships of respect.

As our committee members have shared understandings, I’ve been reminded that the Traditional Blackfoot Territory (before Treaty 7) extended from the North Saskatchewan River (Edmonton) to the Yellowstone River, and from the Continental Divide to the Sand Hills (in Saskatchewan).

I’m mindful, too, that the grief experienced by those who suffered from attempts at cultural genocide does not suddenly give way to celebration. But those who have endured so much deserve the esteem of all of us.

It’s amazing how so many members of our First Nations’ Peoples are making significant contributions in the fields of sport, medicine, education, law, politics, science, etc …

Our special gathering will take place at Waterton Peace Park and World Heritage Site. It is a special place for the Blackfoot as their “Waterton Bundle” is one of their most sacred ceremonial possessions.

We will have a Blackfoot educator help us reset our understanding of who her people are, and the changes pending in our education curriculums.

We will have a neighbour who has lived near the Pikanii Reserve all his life talk about never really understanding why his neighbours faced so much hardship.

With scripture and prayer, music and story, we will give thanks for the opportunities that lie before us … and pray for God’s blessing on our endeavours.

Everyone is invited to join us Sunday July 24, 10:30 am at Waterton Park United Church.  Spiritual reflection time will be followed by a Pot-luck picnic. Bring food and lawn chairs.

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