June 8, 2021
Sat Nam. Blessings to you from Guru Gobind Singh Sadan. "Meegwetch" means thank you in the Algonquin language. More on that later on...
It may have come to your attention that the remains of 215 First Nations children were discovered buried at a church facility they called a "residential school" in Kamloops, "British Columbia." Wikipedia link This is not news to our First Nations family. They knew that "res-school" was a bad place you were forced to go and might never return from.
It is only now that "the evidence" has been found that this is a big story in the Globe and Mail - and around the world. But it is not a new story.
When Europeans first came to this country from France, they needed the First Nations people to help them through the terrible first winter. Then they traded and intermarried and developed constructive relationships. That is my understanding. It could be wrong.
Things went very wrong as the English came and the relentless grip of capitalism squeezed the game from the forests, the fish from the waters, the buffalo from the plains, even the trees from the forests. Treaties were always signed under duress because the First Nations people found themselves no longer able to feed or defend themselves adequately. Western greed and technology ruled the day.
Know your history. We live on stolen land. Canada, the U.S., North and South America, Australia, New Zealand... all stolen from the people who lived here first.
Giving verbal acknowledgments that we live on First Nations territory, as has become politically correct these days, is a shallow joke. It is not funny. This is no way to acknowledge an historic wrong.
I humbly recommend that anyone living on stolen land learn their history. This 60-minute talk by Mark Charles a good start. But just knowing is not enough.
I seriously propose that the tax system be changed so we all pay a user fee to the people who have been so brutalized by the forces of historical conquest of which we are a part. In Canada, we have a consumption tax we pay on all goods and services that ranges from 5% to 15% from region to region. It would not be an unreasonable strain to pay an extra 1% to our First Nations so they may have the same standard of living, health care, clean water, education, et cetera that most of us take for granted.
Once we start to truly pay our dues to our First Nations family, only then can we truly and properly say "Meegwetch!" for the land and also the culture of sharing and respect of the Earth. Only then can we live with mutual dignity on this Earth alongside the people of the First Nations.
Love to all! Peace to all! Life to all!
In the Name of the Cosmos that prevails through everyBODY, and the Holy Nam which holds the world.
Singh Sahib Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa
P. S. The historic photo at top is of Plains Cree Chief Pîhtokahanapiwiyin aka "Poundmaker" and his wife outside their home.