Be Curious

I love to travel. Meeting new people, learning about their culture, eating local dishes, appreciating their music and art as well as learning a few words in their language are all part of the experience. It’s so interesting to understand how each and every culture contributes to the world.

My curiosity for learning about other cultures has been directed toward my own country the last couple of years. I have come to appreciate the incredible number of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples in Canada. Each community is unique in their name, language, history and culture. Each contributes to our country in different ways.

For example, do you know the amazing things the Inuit and First Nations peoples are doing for environmental sciences? Do you know about the First Nations political system which uses a circle model rather than a hierarchy model? Did you know that in many instances they’ve had much greater success when implementing their own framework for policing and rehabilitation compared to the current punishment/jail system?

Have you explored the diversity of music, art and languages that exist across our country? Have you read any books from the incredibly talented Indigenous authors? Have you taken the time to discuss philosophy or spirituality with an Indigenous person, learning about their beliefs, values and creation stories? Do you know how effective their herbal medicine and natural healing are? Have you read history from their perspective – their interesting and amazing trade routes and economic systems across North America prior to contact with Europeans?

If any of this surprises you, I encourage you to be more curious! Talk to Indigenous people in your area. Ask questions. Find out for yourself.

Today is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Today I honor and give gratitude to the many Indigenous Peoples in our country and to those all over the world for their amazing contributions.

Thank you.

Visiting the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec in 2019

Changing our World View

I’ve been thinking. Thinking about the Amazon rain forest fires, polar ice cap melting, plastic in our oceans and numerous other contributors that are destroying our environment. Thinking how our advancement in science and technology are now needed to fix the problems our progress created.

I think it is time. Time to change how we view our planet, people and nature.

I have a passion for learning about (and from) the Indigenous people on our planet, especially in Canada, where I live. The more I learn, the more I see that they have a very different world view about land, water, plants and animals.

We need to start listening.

I had the opportunity this summer to hear Elder Adrian Wolfleg of Siksika Nation speak at the Closer Look Tour: Niitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. He spoke about the history, traditions, and values of the Blackfoot people who have lived for thousands of years on the plains of Alberta and Montana.

At one point Elder Adrian Wolfleg explained how tipis were built. Whenever they cut down a tree for the frame, they planted a new tree to replace it. I commented how our world would be very different if we adopted that practice. He agreed and said that for every house we purchase, every piece of furniture we buy or make, we should replace the resources we have used.

Can you imagine? What if our government, businesses and communities thought that way? We purchase a chair or table or house, then we (the manufacturer, suppliers, sellers and us personally) contribute back to the environment by planting the appropriate number of trees, etc.?

I had a similar moment of enlightenment speaking with Dr. Patricia Makokis, Ed.D. from Saddle Lake Cree Nation this past year when I participated in the Walk for Common Ground and Treaty Talks. Dr. Makokis shared they are teaching her grandson that all life is sacred, and all animals, including insects, are his relatives – to be cared for and protected.

Indigenous people in the Amazon are saying the same thing and fighting desperately for their own survival in the rain forests and for our planet as well.

We need to start listening to the Indigenous people of this world. It is time to embrace a similar world view. To see our planet and all life as sacred.

Are you ready?

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