There are sacred fires, gatherings, and other forms of communal coming together across Canada and in my community of Thunder Bay
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission provides the community with a roadmap on how to move forward and it is useful to re-read it.
At the same time, we can be active agents for envisioning and enacting a new present and future. It is never easy to achieve a new future and, for me, embracing what seems at first to be macabre paradigms such as Robert Burns' insight in his dirge, "Man was made to mourn" or the Buddha's insight that "life is suffering" is an effective way for us to recognize reality as it is. Buddhism, Islam, Christianity point to a reality.
But Indigenous spirituality also points to a reality. In the video below, James Vukelich provides an etymologic breakdown of the Ojibway word "Giga-waabamin". He explains that there is no word for good-bye in Ojibway. Instead, there is a phrase that means "I'll see you". That is not just a maybe but a clear understanding that I WILL see you. You will never be lost; you will never be gone.
As he says the phrase, there is no glossing over the pain. He says the "eternal is moving through the permanent" and that eternal will never end but our present life will end. We will die. This phrase acknowledge that reality. But it also acknowledges that this is not the end. While we suffer in the present moment, we WILL see each other and as he says, "and the Spirits will decide.”
Life is always subject to change, and this is now a change in our collective consciousness (in some way, depending on how we choose).
The understanding of that reality gives us a truth by which we should live our life. And we should live our life, according to the elders and the language with "truth, compassion, love, virtue, righteousness, honesty, humility, and respect for one another, acknowledging the sanctity of each others' lives, with strength of heart, with courage, with bravery, with intelligence" And when we do see each other again, we will certainly know how to treat each other. And the Spirits will decide.