While the dominant discourse relies on codes and categories that separate for ease of analysis, Indigenous models of knowing rely on awareness of the whole. This awareness is spoken through stories, teachings, and medicines that are interwoven in the language, meaning, and spiritual life of the People. This awareness is lived and known, interacted with and understood in relationship. A deep abiding respect for all of creation is part of the whole of life. This and other core values of kinship govern the politics and the ecology of all our relations. This is why, and we need to remind ourselves of this, why the damage of colonisation continues in the lives of all First Peoples. The core relationship we have with ecology, environment, and earth expresses a living relations within our Family of Nations. Our Family of Nations includes Rock People, Winged People, Finned People, and many other Nations.
Thus it is possible to understand that when we fight a political argument, which for other Peoples may be abstract or disconnected, related to an ecology that is othered, that is foreign, that is made to be only material to exploit, and that does not involve a life and integrity all its own, this is why for Indigenous Peoples we carry the weight of our knowledge and our responsibility so heavily. We do not fight for an abstract or material world, per se. We fight and give voice to our relations of trust earned over hundreds of thousands of collective years, and our memory extends that far in our stories of ecology, environment, and place. We stand in solidarity with “the other” who are our brothers and sisters. If they are destroyed, we too, as a collective humanity, will face the threat of extinction.
Thus as a counsellor and psychotherapist, counsellor educator and scholar in minority and marginalisation issues, my work in the healing of identity post-trauma suggests that we all have much to learn. Much to learn about how to treat each other with greater respect. Much to learn about how our trauma lives and is passed between generations. Much to learn about methods of healing, and of bringing our lives back into balance with ecology, environment, and place.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to contribute to this blog – I look forward to exploring these and related issues in future. Msit Nogama, Tahoe.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here