Where did you go to worship this weekend?
Did you go to a church or temple in your community? Do you prefer the peace and quiet of a corner shrine in your own home? Did you rather escape to a provincial park for camping out in nature?
It has been many years since I have ventured into a Church or other place of worship on a regular basis. Although one can appreciate the sense of community and kindred spirits in a man-made structure, I appreciate and respect one in the middle of nature, among the trees, fresh air and water.
There is such a place in the middle of the Ottawa River. It used to be a meeting place for Indigenous people who came from thousands of miles away. They left their weapons at the entrance. They came in peace. They gave offerings to the Creator.
Then the European settlers arrived. They pushed the Indigenous people away from areas ripe for development, for harnessing the power of the water. They took away their children and their language. They tried to destroy their culture and their spirit.
|“If you take [a copy of] the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind.” Statement by an anonymous Native American woman.|
An agreement to eventually return the sacred area back to the original people has not been honoured. There are reports that developers are driving processes, that the Indigenous community was not appropriately included in consultations about plans for this space.
Ask yourself and others if it is finally time to return this sacred land to the care of our Indigenous people, to recover it as a place for healing, for worship, for sharing with all people.
I am a pen name for someone who is a Canadian Citizen, a Mother and a Grandmother. It was a random, personal encounter with one of the Grandmothers on the city bus that finally got my attention about this important issue. I am lending my voice to thousands of others in order to educate more people about this very important issue for the Ottawa area and our nation, our home and native land.
I grew up in the Church that assisted the Canadian government in segregating the Natives, taking away their language and their culture. I am ashamed of that heritage.
It is time for reconciliation and healing.