A reminder, a welcome, and a call to action

Polek Rybczynski has reprised his photo journal practice this year, and is 48 days in to the project, which goes further afield than the Pemberton ‘hood, and extends the length of the Sea to Sky corridor.

 

I’ve subscribed to his blog – even though my email is out of control and I try to be very careful about what I sign up for – because I enjoy the daily injection of stillness and beauty and I like to make sure I don’t miss it, the way I miss other things that surface and disappear in my social feeds.

(Shameless plug: you can subscribe to the Wellness Almanac blog, too, you know. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your email in the space under the far right column FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL:)

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This was his photo for February 13, and I asked if we could share it.

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I remember interviewing people before the Olympics, and hearing representatives of the local First Nations say, “we want people to realise that we were here, and that we are still here.”

Especially in Whistler, which was preparing to welcome more guests, more eyes, than ever – the first people, the original inhabitants, didn’t want to be invisible, storyless, unrecognized.

I’m part way through the MOOC that UBC is offering on Reconciliation.

When I was thinking about signing on, I asked Tanina Williams if she had experience with it. I don’t have a lot of (any) free time, so I didn’t want to misdirect my energy. And the program is geared towards teachers. Tanina, who was a driving force behind Signal Hill’s amazing blanket ceremony last year, offered the most gracious advice – she offered that it would be a good step towards healing.

(She was kind enough not to add that healing requires us non-natives, or “settlers”, to actually take a step, out of our comfort zones, out of our privileged lives, out of the good fortune we enjoy that has been built on every thing that has been taken away from First Nations. She didn’t hit me over the head. She offered a welcoming gesture, a strong word of support, and left me with the space to figure things out for myself. She’s wise like that. And I’m so excited my son will have the chance to learn from her, too, when he starts school.)

So I signed on.

Before I began the course, I would have defined myself as pro-reconciliation – but I didn’t know what that meant. I thought it meant basically being a kind and compassionate person, and trying not to be too judgmental.

Now, after watching some videos and considering some of the material presented in the course, (including this most heart-stopping, mind-shifting, perspective-expanding one from elder Gerry Oleman), I realise it’s so much more. I realise how many more steps I need to take towards healing.

I’m still workshopping this in my mind and heart.

But, when I watched Gerry Oleman share his story, I was moved. I was emotionally moved. And as I started to unpack that word, that response, I realised, it’s just idle words, if I don’t actually then act, physically move, do something to alter my stance, my position, my physical self. If I am moved by a story, a sharing, a tale, something I consume on my computer, then I need to get up out of the chair, stretch, take a deep breath, and move my physical self with a new sense of purpose.

I don’t know where this is going to take me.

But as the call goes, once you wake up, you just can’t be Idle No More.

 

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