Nation’s Day of Prayer – November 22, 2014
Our collective past, present, and future is granted to us by kise-manito, kind loving Creator, who placed us here on Turtle Island for a purpose. We receive guidance, protection, direction, and connection through prayers; through ceremony. We invite and welcome all spiritual support of prayer! On November 10, 2014 Treaty Nations met in Saskatoon at an emergency meeting to discuss the coming repercussions of Bill C 27 (First Nations Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Act) on Nations who stand on the position of Treaty, refusing to submit to Canada’s coercive tactics to impose this legislation. During the meeting, it was suggested and agreed that a Day of Prayer be called across the Nations to call on our spiritual grandmothers and grandfathers to help us through this time – to remember the spirit of Treaty to guide us. We must remember who we are and the strength of our Treaties – our ancestors thought about us when making Treaty and now we must think of the future as we make our decisions in what we will do to combat legislation that counters the treaty promises and treaty relationship.
At the Emergency Meeting held in Saskatoon, Chief Margaret Bear’s words explain the significance of November 22, 2014:
“I feel if we can have a day of prayer across our Nations. We need to stick together. We will stand with you as it is our fight as well. It is important because of our existence of who we are; our inherent and our treaty rights; our self-determination; we do it because of our children and our future to ensure that we as nations and peoples survive. As a woman, mother, grandmother and leader of my community, I feel I must do something and not just do nothing” (Nov. 10, 2014).
This day is significant because the Federal Government has sent threatening letters to those Nations opposing C-27, stating if they do not receive financial information by November 26, 2014, they could ‘withhold funding for both essential and non-essential services, require the council to develop an action plan to provide financial information or get a court order to force councils to carry this out’.
We ask for prayers four days before the day the federal government has set the deadline (November 26, 2014) for all Nations to submit to Bill C-27.
We ask with humble respect for the Elders, women, men, and youth to raise their voices to our Creator on this Nations’ Day of Prayer for the purpose of ensuring our survival as peoples and Nations.
kinānaskomitināwāw, we thank you all.
but that was a threat levelled just lately but his has been going on and on.
A National Day of Prayer
“We were hungry all the time,” writes Bev Sellars in her personal recollection of 1960s residential school life They Called Me Number One. “I can remember my stomach aching and feeling empty.”
Sellars offers her story along with others now being told about poor nutrition at Canada’s residential schools. She and other First Nations call on all Canadians to respond to Canadian Press reports last week of nutritional experiments on aboriginal children in residential schools in the 1940s. In support of this issue, the Idle No More movement has named today a National Day of Prayer, when all Canadians are encouraged to observe one minute of silence at noon to honour the children affected and to bring awareness to the issue.
Chronic underfunding of residential schools may have been the reason for the poor quality of food. Certainly, government funding was often so limited that the schools relied on their own gardens and livestock farming to earn income. But Sellars says the administration did not always share the produce with the children resident at the school. “Even though the schools raised beef and had vegetable gardens the children were not the recipients of the good food.”
Sellars adds to the discussion in They Called Me Number One, writing: “Many times I could not eat the food at the Mission … Once when I was doing chores in the dining room, I witnessed a young girl, Junie Paul, get caught throwing food into the garbage. Junie had made the mistake of scraping her food directly off the plate into the garbage can. A nun saw her and made her dig her food out of the garbage and eat it. The food, of course, was now mixed with other garbage. Junie sat there crying and gagging trying to get the food down. If she had vomited, she probably would have had to eat that too.
“At one time, the food got so bad we just couldn’t eat any of it. Instead of throwing out the rotten morning mush, the cook, who had a heavy Dutch accent, mixed it with the soup at lunch. We couldn’t eat that, so it was mixed with the supper. This went on for a couple of days before the mess got so bad it just had to be thrown out.
“There were many hungry bellies those days.”
Rallies are planned across Canada today to draw attention to nutritional experiments performed on aboriginals and to demand the federal government release all documents that could reveal other such abuses. When posting on Social Media about the issue today, use the hashtag #honourtheapology, and find out more at idlenomore.ca.