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Love From Earth

<Back to the Issue

Idle No More | YOUR VOICES

Unist’ot’en Camp | I AM LISTENING

Free Grassy Narrows | YOUR VOICES

Grandmother Water Walkers | I AM LISTENING

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women | YOUR VOICES

Walking With Our Sisters | I AM LISTENING

The REDress Project | YOUR VOICES

Elsipogtog | I AM LISTENING

Klabona Keepers | YOUR VOICES

Standing Rock/Iŋyaŋ Wakháŋagapi Othí | I AM LISTENING

For my entire adult life, the clock has been ticking, and the ideological pendulum has been swinging. Finally, my awareness has come to rest in vital knowledge – that I was raised by a false paradigm on “Oh Kanata,” and that I am living on stolen land. A shattering reversal of reality radicalized and transformed me, yet I don’t feel disempowered.  For to use a common cliché, “the truth will set you free.”   I am a white woman, a Gaelic Scot born into the colonizer agenda, the great Empire-building project, this “grand and glorious experiment” on Turtle Island.  And at the same time that I’m a product of the status quo, somehow I hold awareness of the colonized.  I feel blessed to be thriving in the traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishnaabe, and I battle with cognitive dissonance and the dismantling of my whiteness every day.  As an example, the “acknowledgment of territory” that has become so popular in white spaces can only go so far, when it is indigenous flags that should be flying on top of municipal buildings, and the land repatriated and returned to First Nations.  

I woke up from a childhood cushioned from reality and blind to the walls around me, walls that separated people of colour from those privileged by Empire, and now I am trying to cross that great divide.

Terra Nullius | NO MORE WALLS

The Doctrine of Discovery | NO MORE WALLS

The Papal Bulls | NO MORE WALLS

Manifest Destiny | NO MORE WALLS

White Supremacy | NO MORE WALLS

“Racial Science” | NO MORE WALLS

Monotheistic Religion | NO MORE WALLS

Genocide and Slavery | NO MORE WALLS

Settler-Colonialism | NO MORE WALLS

Cultural Imperialism | NO MORE WALLS

The Military Complex | NO MORE WALLS

Corporatocracy | NO MORE WALLS

Ecocide | NO MORE WALLS   

In the 1980’s I was a teenager living in various regions of British Columbia, traveling here and there as the impulse struck. With my young husband, we eventually put down roots in the Similkameen Valley, just before the great wave of First Nations resistance and resurgence began to rise.  Day after day, members of the Smalqmix community came back to the bar, as the cheap beer kept flowing and the cowboys kept singing.  “Welcome to Hotel California.  You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”  We offered many rides home, giving “safe passage” to our native friends, taking them back to their dark and broken shacks, with no running water or warmth in winter.  I hold the despair etched into the actions of this devastation.     

One day we found ourselves drifting through Hope B.C. and decided to sleep under the stars on the banks of the Fraser River.  We approached a circle of Stό:lō folk beside their nets and bottles, and in the common way of vagrants everywhere were immediately made welcome.  Cultural differences and language were definite barriers, but at the moment the imperative to set the nets and harvest the salmon took priority.  As the evening wore on, the drinking took center stage.  Farther down the rocky shoreline, I fell asleep listening to the sing-song Stό:lō speech.  Screams in the night woke me, as inebriated people ran back and forth along the river bank while a Stό:lō man got caught in the current.  His body washed up downriver many days later, and I hold the despair etched into the actions of this devastation.  

Fast forward through a kaleidoscope of cultural events, teachings from the elders, pow wows, indigenous arts, books, film, theatre, music and First Nation friends who sparked my life for decades.  Deep in the canyon of city streets, I pass a crouching woman with long black hair hidden in the corner where bus shelter meets skyscraper wall.  Urgent with my own necessities and agendas, I feel helpless in the face of such obvious need and press on. What happened to this indigenous woman?  Her Toronto was not my Toronto, and I hold the despair etched into the actions of this devastation.  

A few years later I am working in a gallery in a mall, where day after day an indigenous artist appears, to take his own cues from the paintings.  Over coffee, I hear he has a terminal illness, in addition to PTSD.   What is PTSD?  It is being pushed beyond one’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits not once, not twice, but repeatedly, over and over and over. I see the dark and necessary spirits circling above this man, both from his own Ojibway heritage and the other chthonic realms.   I hold the despair etched into the actions of this devastation.  

In recent times, I am a middle-aged woman. With an Elder’s prompting, I notice the cultural appropriation rampant within my own community, mostly by white sisters who practice New Age Spirituality.  I distance myself immediately and learn all I can about white privilege and Allyship Theory.  I hesitantly enter solidarity spaces and become bolder as confidence grows.  From both native and non-native people, I encounter hostility, denial, and confusion.  I hold the despair etched into the actions of this devastation.

Yet I continue to do the work on principle, and as Settler-Ally I know I have no right to speak. Others tell me that keeping silent is an extension of the colonial agenda to infantilize us all, and I try to stay in the middle ground.  I learn how kind words can change lives.  But in the shadows, the tears of indigenous people continue to flow, and my care is another burden, another misguided platitude that does not fit the healing pattern.  I hold the despair etched into the actions of this devastation.

Mi’kmaq | YOUR VOICE

Innu | I AM LISTENING

Sahtu Dene | YOUR VOICE       

Algonquin | I AM LISTENING

Anishnaabe | YOUR VOICE

Odawa | I AM LISTENING   

Haudenosaunee | YOUR VOICE

Cree | I AM LISTENING

Blackfoot | YOUR VOICE

Lakota | I AM LISTENING

Syilx/Okanagan | YOUR VOICE

Stό:lō | I AM LISTENING     

I am listening.  You call me an enemy, and it’s true, I am a privileged white woman.  Yet if it was in my power to take the pain away, the burden of history, I would.  But the only real power I have is the power of One.  And with this power, I will fight for the rights of indigenous people and the Earth, as writer, ally, friend.   And to take responsibility for my whiteness, to know that my life’s work is to honour the Earth in all I think, say and do. And above all, to reject the patriarchal ethics that dominate our humanity and the land.  

Suddenly hope appears, in the midst of all the activism, rallies, discourse and friendship, and an idyllic vision rises in my heart.  Should I speak of it?  How do I dare? My vision touches on “inclusivity,” which is linked to neo-liberalism, white privilege, and power. Yet regardless of blowback, I continue to hold the vision.  It will not go away.  It is based on mutual healing.  Without pretending we are all the same, my vision is a thriving collective of diverse folk bonded to the Ancient Spirit of the land.  

Post-colonial | HEALING

Anti-colonial | HEALING

Decolonial  HEALING  

Reconciliation | HEALING

Restitution | HEALING

Honoring the Treaties | HEALING

Indigenous Sovereignty | HEALING

Repatriation | HEALING

Protection of Lands and Waters | HEALING

Intercultural Competency | HEALING

Respect instead of Appropriation | HEALING

Native/Non-Native Alliances | HEALING

Re-landing | HEALING

Ancestral Knowledge | HEALING

Peaceful Coexistence | HEALING

The Circle of Earth Community | HEALING

Unity in Diversity | HEALING

Can we allow the Earth to heal us?  That is my vision, and it is time to let it go.  

VISIONING

Pre-colonial societies know Mother Earth as the source of all that is sacred.  The Mother of All, she is the source of all life and joy.  Without exception, the wisdom and cultural traditions of all people are sourced from the land.  Not to know this is to remain disconnected from the Earth, the source of our spiritual ecology, and to perpetuate the goals of Empire that separate us from our embeddedness in the natural world.

How do we bypass the dominance of modernity and go directly to the source of our eco-being? Mother Earth is the source of all power and enchantment, and experiences in companionship with the elements, spirits, and forces in nature are equally available to all.    

We – eternal reflections of the Great Mother – red, yellow, black, brown and white – all of us, People of the Earth – are sacred vessels for spirit, ever loving, ever perfect, always blessed. We are strong in our bones as the Earth is strong! We reclaim our true power, as our circles form in bonds of protection, and we speak for the green realm, for all beings.  We align ourselves with natural law and our care for Earth Community, and we return to the source of all knowing – an intimate and humble interaction with the land.  

Recovery from colonialism has no timeline, yet our urgent task is to reclaim the sacred essence that spirals us back, to our deepest and most ancient connection.  Nourished by the web of life that sustains us all, we become re-rooted in our own earth-emergent heritage, our own ancestral traditions, and our own rites of passage. And in this true coming-together of hearts and minds in emotional integrity and right relationship, we find our way home to peace, and then, to peaceful co-existence.

The love of the land is the only true wealth we have – we are part of the Earth and the Earth is part of us!
And in this fledgling love, a small fire in the darkness, the spirit is luminous in every person.  Before time and before place, there is something we all share.  We are each a spark of the Great Mystery, in our natural divinity we are whole, and nothing has ever been broken.  Knowing our true heart’s home on the land, we hold ourselves gently, in perfect love and perfect trust.

 

See more at Pegi’s site: Stone Circle Press

About the Author: Pegi Eyers

Pegi Eyers is the author of Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community, a new book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, healing our relationships with Turtle Island First Nations, decolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community.

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