Back in the day, our people used to have gatherings for social activities, these are called the Tea Dances, Round Dances and Pow Wow and other events. Once the Residential Schools were established, by the Government and the Catholic Religion, these activities were outlawed and considered the "devil's work". First Nations and Metis people learned to be ashamed of who they were and where they came from. They were not allowed to speak their language and they were not allowed to practise their traditional spiritual beliefs.
As time passed, some people continued to practise the old ways and passed them on to our children. We are starting to see the results of the passing along through our Oral tradition of learning.
I am pleased to attend the Driftpile First Nation Pow wow held every year. It has grown stable and is a great experience. This year, the Sucker Creek First Nation will host their first annual Pow wow. This fills me with excitement and joy. Our leaders are committing themselves to bringing back healthy gatherings and this is important to our people.
We need to look to our leaders, our events, our way of life and be proud of our identity. There are important issues that can keep us strong. These give us a sense of belonging and a sense of identity. Not just to the first generation survivors of residential schools, but to those of us who are second generation survivors and now we have third generation survivors and fourth generation survivors. We have the opportunity to say that we are no long survivors but are in our rightful place as warriors and keepers of our Mother Earth.
Also wanted to say that the gatherings are not just for Aboriginal people but for ALL people. If you have an opportunity to attend an event, please take it, you may learn something that will give you a new appreciation of the history of First Nation and Metis people.
I am grateful! Hiy Hiy.