Our September 30th Council meeting was scheduled long before the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation was announced. We were fortunate to have secured an agreement from Nasuʔkin (Chief) Joe Pierre to share with us the Ktunaxa Creation Story.
He began by telling us about his elders and those from whom he had learned this foundational story of the Ktunaxa people. Despite the harsh actions of those who ran the Residential Institution in the Ktunaxa territory and other colonial actions that have sought to destroy their culture, the story has been maintained and passed on through countless generations.
You can watch the recording here and read on below for some reflections on the experience.
As Nasuʔkin (Chief) Joe Pierre reminded us, Truth will not be achieved unless and until Recognition is achieved for all the Nations that exist across Turtle Island, honouring their cultures, their Territories, celebrating their languages and enabling the flourishing of their communities and peoples.
For those of us who are settlers in this region, it was an incredible opportunity to see the landscape and its inhabitants in a new light and with a new / ancient language. It was evident from the faces on the Zoom screen that people were deeply engaged in the story. We were happy to share the event with staff and elected officials from the RDCK, as well as others in the region who chose to spend the morning of the first National Day of Truth & Reconciliation with a Ktunaxa Elder.
Afterwards, participants shared their reflections. For many, it was a spiritual and emotional experience. The absence of similar learning opportunities in the curriculum of our schools, past and present, was identified as a loss and problem. There was widespread gratitude and wonder in the Ktunaxa place and animal names that we learned together in a language that is unique on Turtle Island, based in the vibrations and long history of this place.
Nasuʔkin (Chief) Joe Pierre closed by quoting Senator Murray Sinclair, who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for 6 years. Truth and Reconciliation will be achieved, in part, by creating relationships of mutual respect. We were invited to share the story, as long as we, like him, honour our sources.