For as far back as oral histories can tell us, Indigenous people around the world have marked the summer and winter solstices in ceremony, ritual and celebration. Here, on Turtle Island, most Indigenous communities mark the longest day of the year by reminding ourselves of all the good things in our lives and by giving thanks for all that the earth has shared with us.
On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, Indigenous people in our union are inviting everyone to join us in celebrating in a new way, one that not only highlights all we have to be thankful for, but also to focus on all that we have to offer the world.
In his book, An Inconvenient Indian, Indigenous author Thomas King ponders what Canada would look like today if settlers had adopted an Indigenous world view instead of the European model of mercantilism, profit and excessive consumption.
What if we lived in a world where people kept only what they needed, instead of taking everything they can get?
What if we were to treat the land and the water as if they were sacred and protected them as if our very lives depended on it – as they do?
What would society look like if the strongest in our communities made sure that the most vulnerable were taken care of and fully supported?
There are certainly many other examples of the ways in which an Indigenous value system would make the world more equitable, safe and peaceful. Let us this year commit to reconciliation in this most beautiful way.
This year's National Indigenous Peoples Day image is taken from "Wisdom of the Universe", a beautiful painting from award-winning Métis artist Christi Belcourt.