“One More Step Along the Way We Go”
A group of approximately 25 people, half of the attendees from aboriginal communities, were on hand at the Via Rail station, Wed. June 15th to meet the Kairos representative travelling by train, enroute to Ottawa, supporting the NGO KAIROS initiative. Though chilly and windy at the 6 a.m. time of gathering, people were warmed by the comraderie, drums and songs shared.
Drumming, Songs and Blessings, Appreciation Shared
Elder Charlotte Manual, TK’emlups Band Kamloops, gave prayers for a safe journey. Justin Young of the Objibway nation, youth leader Secwepemc Cultural and Educational Society who aided in decorating their banner, led the drumming. Iris Jules and Dalla Powder from Neskonlith Education Centre shared the Secwepemc Farewell song (Elder Ethel Billy’s song) to ensure safe travel for Minnie and Bert. They sang for a safe journey of the elders taking the banners and message, on the train to Ottawa.
Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Band and Reverend Teri Meyer of Kamloops United Church gave thanks for all who attended in support of this action, and performed prayers and blessings. Chief Judy expressed appreciation for the support shown by KUC and the wider United Church. Rev. Teri expressed gratitude on behalf of the United Church.
Julie Graham, Kairos representative making the cross–Canada journey, welcomed Skatsin Neskonlith Band Elders Minnie Kenoras and Bert Deneault as they joined Julie in taking the message that people care about and support the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and in encouraging and challenging the Canadian government to accountability as signatories on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (signed by Canada in Nov 2010).
Elder Bert (noting with a smile the meaning of his name, “Smoky Train”, appropriate to the occasion) and Minnie Kenoras, (“MiniLegs” named for all the walking she has been involved in, in the pursuit of justice and right relations), each carried ra eplica scroll of historial significance.
Bert encouraged us in understanding the past is done, the future yet unknown and our focus must be on the now. He also introduced a grandchild and spoke to the importance of involving the next generations, knowing they are the leaders of the future.
Declaration Rolling ~ Successful send off!
By the time the train finally arrived new friendships were forming, and a real sense of common community purpose was achieved. Julie gathered the colourful banners to take on the journey. These will be pieced together with banners from across the country and will be rolled out in events in Ottawa beginning on June 20th.
The purpose — To show that people across Canada support the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and want the Canadian Government to implement the UN agreement, signed by Canada, in November of 2010.
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