THUNDER BAY – Guest Editorial – The bravest man was the man who could make peace, who could carry the oskitci (pipe stem). I wanted to share some few nehiyaw thoughts and teachings with all of you, my relatives ..ahpisis.
I don’t say I know a lot, I only know a little bit and this what it is.
What I say here is in our law of tahpewin (truth), do not be offended. The words I share here are from Elders, not mine personally as a human being.
As we go into this “resistance”, we can no longer be silent – its not an option.
In Canadian law, acquiescence means you comply, your silence is consent. We must not be silent with what is happening, it is not a far fetched statement when we say we are under attack and so are the lands, resources and our children.
I’ve heard many of my relatives say ‘yes, I will be there’ but they don’t attend the rally/event/gathering/ceremony etc.
Perhaps the reasons are legitimate, however in our nehiyaw weyeswewna (Cree laws), when we say we going to do something, the spirit world listens, your keepers listen and our ancestors listen.
When we say we are going to go ‘support’, we mean ‘e we ni towh setohks ka ke yak’.. this term means we are doing more than supporting, our keepers, spirits etc are going too, so the ones that are listening will begin to ‘pave’ the journey there for you so you may arrive safe and unharmed.
When we don’t follow through with our plans, than our keepers will have set the path for that journey for nothing. When a person does this far too many times, than you are ‘e pah kachimayak’, which means ‘to purposely mislead, dishonest, unsupportive..’ this word is difficult to translate into English.
This action is contrary to nehiyaw weyeswewna therefore you are breaking laws when you do not follow through with your statements to support.
After a while, the keepers and those that listen will not listen to you anymore or are hard pressed to trust you. Those times when you do need them, it will be harder for your keepers to listen. Keep this in mind as you go about your life.
As well, before you attend this “teach in” or rally, I would suggest that you smudge and pray or just pray in your own way.
What we are doing is invoking the warrior spirits of our women and men. Not to fight but to defend. In our laws; this is ‘e na tah maw was sew yak’ which means “defending the children/generations’. We are not only defending the human children, it is all of the plant relatives, tree relatives, animal relatives etc that we defend.
This is a nehiyaw law, it is invoked in times of great crisis. See that statement above about the pipe? The Elders say, anyone can make war & violence. The greatest achievement a warrior women or man can do is to create peace during a time of crisis. It takes great skill to negotiate and accomplish what needs to be done in a peaceful manner.
Lets gather together peacefully but make a powerful stand. Let us not be silent. Ekosi, kinanaskomtinawaw for reading this.
Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum
Sylvia is one of the founders of the Idle No More grassroots movement