Archive | August, 2012

Universal Love

13 Aug

During my consumption of the book, “The Secret”, I was in Nicaragua building a school. I stood rooftop before any of the other team members had risen, thinking about what I would choose as my “love signal”. This signal would be something that I would see or hear and be reminded that the Universe does indeed love me. One girl I know chose the colour yellow and it was on that rooftop I decided that my symbolic love identifier would be a honking horn.

Moments after I chose it, a loud exchange of horns happened between two or more vehicles somewhere in the maze of cobblestone streets. I smiled. It was as if the Universe hugged me.

Two years later and I am waterside on a very different endeavor. Honoring the water with others and trying to preserve the land and river from a third hydroelectric dam development.

Three days into the camp we post signs all along the highway. Some of them read: “Keep the Peace“, “No Site C Here“, “I’m saying NO for my children, grandchildren, and those who come after“.

Later that day passing vehicles began to honk their horns to show support for the cause. What surprised most of us, is the fact that most of these honkers were truckers who worked for the industry. It was a shake-off-your-stereotypes event where you really find out who cares.

For the next 2 days, every hour was graced with the welcomed sound of a vehicle horn. I closed my eyes, lifted my shoulders up towards my neck and faced the sky. Saying a big “thankyou” to the Universe.

What we were accomplishing there was building a solid base to build from and creating a ripple. There is much more to be done, more words to be said, and more connections to be made. Yet there is a strong presence of hope that we will succeed in protecting one of Mother Earths vital arteries. Preserving what we have for our future generations because “they have a right to know a landscape like their ancestors did”.

I have more the share about this journey and experience and it’s all based in love, because… I love that undammed river.

Signed and Sealed with Love,

Helen

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Love Broke

4 Aug

Recently I have undertaken a bit of a “project”. The project being planning and coordinating a grassroots young Indigenous Peoples camp to help save the Peace River from a third hydro-electric project called SITE C.

A month ago I laid in my bed, fresh out of a conversation about the Peace River and the devils of BC Hydro, when it hit me… a picture of young Indigenous people out on the land using it like their ancestors did. The camp would be situated at a historical gathering space for the Dane Zaa and most likely the Cree too. An important part of the First Nations voice in helping save this river, that is surrounded by privately owned farm land, is using it as much as they can. Plus, the place we are camping would be UNDERWATER if the dam is approved.

I was still uneasy though, just coming out of a treatment centre a few months before made me question my stability to take this on. I prayed, asking for answers through my dreams but a few weeks passed and nothing happened. When I was at a Youth and Elders camp and a few of us were fireside one of my mentors in life shared how water is the lifeblood of Mother Earth. If we keep poisoning her waterways or clogging her arteries then she will surely get sick. We can work to preserve what we have right now, and sometimes the way to bring it back into balance is to mix our blood with her blood. Sacrifice. The sacrifice he spoke of was fasting and prayer.

The teaching moved me to start discussing the camp and actually envisioning the pieces through a brainstorm session with a buddy. I was still unsure of beginning such an endeavor. I showed my son a map of the river and where the flood lines came up too. My son is four years old and whenever we pass by the river he yells out, “Look! Saaghii Nachii!”

Which means “Big River” in my Dane Zaa Grandmothers language.

I tell him about how many animals will lose their homes and how the trees will be gone and the land will be covered in water. We talked about how sad that would be and then my son looked up at me and said, “Why don’t we put some of that stuff in the water? That will help won’t it?”

That “stuff” is the tobacco that I’ve been teaching him to give back to the water and the land in offering and thanks. In his child like understanding of things, he told me to pray. I rubbed the hair on his head and pulled him in close, “Yes baby, that would help.”

The Save Saaghii Nachii Movement was born from that moment. It was a moment where the stress and pain of doing all of the work prior did not measure close to the pain that would happen if I had done nothing.

The camp is in a few days, (August 7th 2012), and I have been astounded by the willingness of others to step in and help. We have some cool photo, writing, and video projects going on, organic youth and elder interaction, story times, and . I encourage anyone to come camp with us as long as they’re willing to take part and act in a good way.

One thing I’m sure nobody really knows is I struggle deeply with being “sure” of myself. Although I have done several other events, I always have a feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. I guess what matters is I’m doing the best that I can. In my great moments of darkness and in light, I place my trust in the forces that guided me here to lead me out. This is my sacrifice.

The name of this post comes from me being financially broke for the sake of love. I love the river, and believe it is important for the future generations to inherit it without anymore damage done to it. We violate our children’s rights by making such decisions that will harm the Earth.

I am supposed to be moving soon for school and I have no idea how it’s all going to pull together. I was sitting in my room today after looking at some rental listings. I had a”what-the-f***-am-I-doing?” moment. It was much alike the moment I was raising money to go build a school in Nicaragua for the second time and I was broke. Single mother in school full-time and working part-time. I told myself I was foolish for wanting to do such a thing, given my circumstances. Just after that, the money I needed pulled through. Wanting to do good is never foolish, denying yourself the opportunity due to your circumstances is.

My grandmother came in literally a minute after my monetary crisis moment and handed me a flyer.

“Look here,” she said, her brown finger pointing at a picture of a pan set.

“You go and buy yourself those and that plate set, here is the money,” she said smiling and handed me $80 dollars.

I don’t really have anything to move with. I live at my mothers and when I did have my own place, my Grandma moved in with me. My Papa passed a few years ago and I told him I’d help look after her. Grandma came with a life time of things and I never needed to buy anything of my own. After I entered a program we all packed up and moved here to my mothers. So what my son and I have can fit in my truck.

I don’t want to take the money, I know Grandma has had her cheque cut in half this month. I know how much this really is. I start tearing up and Grandma pulls my head into her and tells me she loves me. I try to give some of the money back and Grandma becomes straight up irate with me, there will be no such exchange.

I am sitting here, dumbfounded by the love of my Grandma, and the ways that God chooses to fill one’s needs. Move forward faithfully.

 

 

Signed and Sealed with Love,

 

Helen K

 

 

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