“As Long as the Sun Shines, the Grass Grows, and the Rivers Flow” are the closing words of the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord. This month, my congregation will be voting on whether or not to sign on to this Accord as a partner with eighty other organizations in our city. I believe the vote will be yes — my people are committed to reconciliation work here in Canada, and they are hungry to join in with so many others in Winnipeg to make healing a priority in our city.
But in my work helping to prepare us for this historic congregational vote, I have found myself drawn again and again to those closing words. They are meant to imply longevity, a sense of time that goes beyond human understanding. And here, locals comment on how the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing is warm compared to the past. This summer there were almost no mosquitoes, and they are known for being the terror of the city during the warm months. While in the short term, these seem like positive things — winter staved off for a few extra weeks, months of being able to sit outside without being eaten alive — they are signs that we are heading for an age in which our surroundings look and feel very different that what we are used to.I’ve written to you before about how I believe our Earth-centered traditions will be a source of salvation for humankind. Now, with this Accord before us, with its existence hanging on the metaphor from an global ecosystem that we have arrogantly assumed is eternal, I am calling for direct action. Not for the stuff we have already been doing — recycling, low-flow toilets, marches, and so on and so forth. I am calling for us to dig deep into our own, personal sustaining beliefs and recognize that true reconciliation and healing cannot come when we continue to dismiss the parts of Earth-centered traditions that teach us of the spirits and gods of the old ways.
What are the wisdom tales of your ancestors that can give you a personal, spiritual connection to this work, and keep you renewed for the long haul? What is in your cosmology that connects you to the children in your life, to all the children of the world, and leads you to make decisions for their future as much are your own? What ties your heart to this work as much as your body and mind?