Thought of the Day by Keith Wager
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Ya’at eeh, brothers and sisters. (Dene language (Navajo) – Hello)
As the National Day of Reconciliation (formerly Orange Shirt Day) approaches I find myself experiencing a multitude of emotions.
Great sadness at the thought of so many children torn from their homes, with many never heard from again. Ire at the thought of more than 3000 missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls. Anger that so much was ignored for so long. But also I mourn cultures that have died, languages forgotten.
Jesus told us that when we do something for someone else we do it for Him as well. The Indigenous people of Turtle Island shared with the newcomers. They provided food to keep them from starving, they showed new crops to cultivate, they taught which plants provided food and which were not safe. They shared their knowledge of medicinal plants (we learned how the Algonquin saved Champlain and his settlement from scurvy). They shared their knowledge of the land and provided new methods of transportation such as the canoe, toboggan, and snow shoe. They served as guides and interpreters when needed. Most of all they offered to share (not cede) their land because no one could own the land – how can anyone own what the Creator provided for all?
My feeling is that even though they had not been introduced to this saying of Jesus, the Indigenous followed the teachings better than the European. They welcomed the stranger and treated their new neighbour with a respect that wasn’t shown to them in return.
So, in closing, at some time today, the Day of Reconciliation take time to include our Indigenous brothers and sisters in your prayers.
Wakan Tanka nici un (Cherokee – May the Great Spirit walk with you)
“A’ho” (so be it — Amen)
Prayer: The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 – 5,:2,8)
This prayer is from The Community of the Cross of Nails and it was selected because it is comprehensive of more than reconciliation but encompasses other issues of concern to Indigenous Peoples as well.