Monday, March 25, 2013

It has to be a sign as Eagle greets the Nishiyuu walkers

The walkers had arrived, the singing and drumming stopped and a momentary calm and serenity fell over the crowd.  Heat from the throngs of humanity, and the energy from its kin below made the air buoyant, and the moment had come.  “It is time to reveal myself to them” said Eagle, and so it drifted from the clouds, crossing the sky above Parliament Hill in Ottawa.  There was a gasp from below as sharp-eyed hunters recognized the majestic bird and its significance.

I recognized the collective gasp and followed the direction of the gaze to see it for myself.  A Golden Eagle drifted across the sky.  There was no mistaking it.  The Eagle symbolizes great strength, courage and vision.  Remarkably these are the exact qualities of the Nishiyuu walkers, and the great movement that supported their quest.  I would like to believe that the Eagle’s appearance over the walkers and their thousands of supporters was a sign to the youth and the entire world that was bearing witness to their accomplishments.

Speaking in their own Cree language, the walkers took turns sharing their thoughts to an attentive audience.  Some were overcome by emotions that one can only imagine after walking 1500 kilometres from Hudson’s Bay to Ottawa, through deep snow, minus 50 degrees temperatures, fatigue, injuries and hundreds of reasons to give up.  But they didn’t!  They pushed on, all of the way to Ottawa, because they had a rendezvous with a Golden Eagle on March 25, 2013.

What I saw and heard today from the walkers touched me to the marrow.   I hope that their efforts, and the great solidarity it has generated turns out to be a redefining moment for Canada’s First Nations, and Canada as a Nation.   I hope the Journey of Nishiyuu  marks a change in direction in Canada from treating nature as a commodity to treating nature as our mother.  I know for me, this moment will always be an inspirational one, and for that I am most grateful to the walkers.

 Before coming to Parliament Hill, the walkers met up with many supporters including Chief Theresa Spence on Victoria Island.    photo Ted Cheskey