When first being told we were going to be involved in planning a land experience, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I figured that I would gander on over to Fort Qu’Appelle, look around, and come right back home. It turns out that there would be so much more to this amazing experience with the land.
Today when I woke up, I felt like I was going on a class field trip like back in elementary school. I packed my snacks, tied up my runners, threw on my backpack, and was out the door. I only realized my excitement for the day when I met my other classmates outside of the school. We all packed into our carpools and made the journey to what would be an amazing, thought provoking day.
When we first arrived it took me a moment to kind of adjust to my surroundings. I took time to look around at the buildings located in this town, talk with my classmates to see how they were feeling, and made myself feel a little more comfortable. When we began walking down the street someone passing by looked to our group and said the words “Welcome to Fort Qu’Appelle.” Four simple words immediately made me feel at ease.
A time that I really appreciated was lunch. We all came together and had a potluck. Growing up I have always had potlucks at church on Sunday. It see it as a time to catch up with others, and to create a sense of community and sharing over food. It meant so much to have everyone contribute what they could, and to see how every single person appreciated it so much. During lunch I also got to take some time to shoot some hoops with Chris, one of Sheena Koops students. We didn’t share very many words, but he told me a little bit about myself and stated how happy he was that he joined us. This made my heart the happiest to hear. Additionally, as I wandered though the school I also came across a witaskewin poster hiding in the corner. I don’t know how I found it, but feel like today was meant to be.
The wind was blowing and I was freezing. The only thing I could do was huddle closer into the crowd of people to stay warm. I could barely hear with all of the extra background noise, but tried my best to engage in what the elder was saying. With all of these outside factors, I was still so happy to be in this moment. I was even more appreciative when his daughter sang us the amazing song about a Kookum who comforts those entering the spirit world, and who she looks to for guidance. I was immediately overwhelmed and regretted all the thoughts running through my head about being cold. I was hit with the realization that this truly was impacting my treaty walk.
“Reconciliation happens in back alleys”
When I got home I took time to go for a walk around Wascana, and this is where I chose to give my tobacco back to the land. While in this moment I thought about how the elder at the All Nations Healing Hospital said that we are all equal. He told us to put our hands up in a circle and stated that we ALL belong here, and that we share ALL the land. It also stuck with me that I need to remain humble.
Now as I sit in my warm bed and really think about today, I realize how grateful I am to have experienced this. I also recognize how my treaty walk does not end here. I still have so much more growing to do. This is just the beginning. I want to end this post with a poster from the school about peace.
“Take what you have learned today and do something with it.”
– Ms. S