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Tag Archives: Inuit

First Nations

First Nations.

In Canada, indigenous peoples are referred to as First Nations. Their art work is incredible with deep connections to Nature. The link is a collection of photographs displaying ‘graffiti’ on Winnipeg buildings. I use the word graffiti in a positive way here. It reflects the work of an artist and adds to the city scape rather than defacing property.

Winnipeg is a city with a deep First Nations’ history. Along with Métis and Inuit peoples, the province of Manitoba is home to people with indigenous roots.

When I was quite young, my grandmother, who lived in northern Manitoba, gave me a pair of beaded moccasins. An elder in the local community had made them from hand and I could still smell the smoke on them. I regret not having kept them over the years.

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The Other Kingdoms

It is Sabbath and winter arrived over night. It snowed and is colder. Mary Oliver`s poem speaks about the way the Inuit use many expressions describing snow. In doing so, they are mindful and aware of the world they live in. It speaks to them and shares its experiences in ways words used are meaningful. But, it happens only when we are present and attentive of extraordinary events co-mingling with the ordinary world we think we experience. We rush past the world and lose the words it speaks quickly. We lose the kingdom we live in unless we slow down and drink from its cup fully.

When we slow down, we grow wild and are in the wild world around us and in us. The wildness animates us and we live more fully. Snow today means slippery roads, drivers who have forgotten what it means to drive in the snow, and a blanket beginning to cover the ground as it slumbers. Snow means more than just one word to me. It is how I experience the snow that speaks of snow. There is nobility in the titles the world carries that we have not given names for and can not find the words for those titles.

Consider the other kingdoms.  The
trees, for example, with their mellow-sounding
titles: oak, aspen, willow.
Or the snow, for which the peoples of the north
have dozens of words to describe its
different arrivals.  Or the creatures, with their
thick fur, their shy and wordless gaze.  Their
infallible sense of what their lives
are meant to be.  Thus the world
grows rich, grows wild, and you too,
grow rich, grow sweetly wild, as you too
were born to be.

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