Gathering Hearts and Minds To Restore the Land – Autumn Celebration

We are the caretakers, and the land takes
care of us too. As long as we do our part, the land will take care of us. The land is everything, we have to go back to a certain way of life. We will never go back to hunting buffalo, we will never go back to living in a wigwam or teepee… …but our true identity is out there, taking care of that water, taking care of the land. So our young ones and future generations have a place and have that knowledge of identity so we can prosper once again. For indigenous people our land was taken from us, and it wasn’t that it was just taken it was stolen. We had treaties, we had agreements with what became the Canadian government… …that would allow us to continue our way of life. No matter what they did. And what happened was those agreements were violated. In addition to that our populations declined significantly and as a trsult of those two things combined… a lot of that knowledge was lost, but not completely. And that’s what’s important is that there have been fragments left behind. By the elders, by the ancestors and we carry them in our day-to-day lives. There’s been few efforts to try and bring people together to talk about you know… …What are all those things? And what do they look like? What do they sounds like? What do they feel like? And how can we utilize what each of us know to put something whole or something larger together that… …then we can share with our community. Over the past year I’ve been working with the local community here to build Indigenous land based sustainability practices. We’ve been asking questions about what do we know about each season related to… Indigenous land sustainability, Indigenous knowledge. And how can that translate into programming at the college… as well as in the various community organizations that we’re working with. This isn’t about us, this isn’t about me and my generation, okay? This is about planning for our children’s, grandchildren’s grandchildren. I’ve known Andrew for a long time and as a young man, he was always visionary. He always had an opportunity and a energy about him to want to build something…. …you know the way that he understood it. And to come into the college and to come into the community and make that work he really impresses me… I think he’s got a huge future to help change how we live in this world. I honour him at his young age and his ability and his want to make something better. ♪ Indigenous Drum Music ♪ Educational systems were one of the most damaging impacts on Indigenous culture. On their language, on their religion, on their way of life. So, I think that universities, colleges, this whole environment and sector needs to be… …much part of reaching out and healing. We can’t just take Indigenous knowledge and do it in a non Indigenous way. We actually have to see how Indigenous knowledge has a whole educational method associated with it. Long ago our ancestors they used this garden as a teaching method for our young ones on how to nurture life. If we have an opportunity to show our
young people that the schools like Conestoga… …are willing to do this type of
program then they’ll be more apt to come. And you know be part of the wealth of
this country the way that we were supposed to be. It’s been amazing to see
just how complex this really is. Through our collective efforts we’ve been able to put together so much material… …that now we have a real good sense of what this is going to look like down the road… …in terms of a curriculum. We’re not doing gardening, we’re doing land preservation and land sustainability. We don’t need blank fields. So I want you to keep that in mind what we’re doing to our land when we scarify it that way. If we’re gonna make change we have
to demand that that ends! We have to demand that it ends! That’s not how you feed a civilization. Indigenous people learn to listen. We learn to have this very intuitive sense through deep listening to what the land, and waters, and the animals, and the plants, and all the beings beyond the human have to share. This work is reminding people to listen. It’s teaching people how to remember. How to remember where it is they come from. How to remember what it means
to be a human being. I choose to remember, I choose to listen, and I choose to recognize that it means something to be a human being. We have our place and if we forget what our place is we destroy our environment. It’s that simple. But when we remember what our place is restore our environment. When we do that and we work together and we learn together by doing… …I have no doubt that the future is bright and more and more people are going to be involved and share with us. End a way maa gin I dig. It means I am related to everything, it means I am connected to everything. My DNA runs through this land and everything in it. we we we-we-we

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