So we had our Aboriginal Gathering for Survivors of Suicide. I am trying not to say Aboriginal Survivors of Suicide because the acronym for that is ASS. So ASS might not be the best acronym for something serious like this. It is a little catchy though and the best marketing names are short and catchy.
The Gathering took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada at a community Centre called ThunderBird House. Holy smokes that is a fantastic building. I was always hesitant to go there because I had my reservations about people affiliated with the building. But the lady that is managing the building, Chrissy is my new hero. She was so nice, so helpful, so sincere, so willing to do her best to help us. Chrissy and her staff sure have a lot of patience and willing to be flexible in meeting the needs of people using their facility. The ThunderBird House is a very nice building. The building is circular, with a beautiful cooper roof and a skylight shaped to the Head of a Thunderbird. Very nice. The flooring is covered with hardwood. People are respectful for the building and take off their shoes regardless of the weather conditions.
The ThunderBird House was the prefect place to hold the Gathering. We had a number of guests to come out and speak with the people in attendance. One of our Speakers was the Judge. Murray Sinclair is an Aboriginal Judge in Manitoba. Not too many of those I will tell you. Anyway, like most Indians I am hard on our public Indians. This guy is my new Hero. His words were very real. Very smart, very heartfelt, very insightful, and very true. He is going to be the leading the Commission for Survivors of Residential School stories. He is going around the country listening to Indians recount their experience at the Residential school and the fall-out of the experience. Not only from the people who went to the schools, but their children.
The Gathering was a two day event. We should have had more time for sharing circles with the survivors. We did have speakers come in. This one fellow is a Traditional Teacher from our Reserve. And you may not know but I think you can't be a prophet in your home town. It's a discrimination against the known. In any case this guy, Dave Courchene Jr. was asked to come and speak. You know what? He is my new hero. He was dynamic, well spoken, well informed, sincere, knowledgeable, and far-looking. He reached out with information from the Elders. He was an eloquent speaker and his message was not lost. He like, Sinclair, spoke of the Traditions. Not only the spiritual aspect of life, but remembering the Women. That is where we need to start listening.
I still have my old heroes, but it is nice to find new ones. The Gathering was a bit of work and it was great to see all the people help out. I was a bit disappointed with some friends. I was there for them when they wanted and needed help, but that's how it goes sometimes. I have to remember people are busy and they are dealing with issues themselves. So it is not right to think bad about them, or for me to think selfishly. I know negative thinking only spirals downward. It's best for us if we try to look at the good. I met some new people, shared some hurt and good thoughts together. Tabosonakwut and his son Wab Kinew shared their songs with us. Peter shared lot of Teachings with us and it couldn't have gone better. We have to laugh because the agenda goes out the window when you do things. You have to be flexible when it comes to Ceremony. You need to be patient so you can learn and accept things.
That Wab stole the hearts of many women in the audience. The gifts of being young, handsome and talented. Dirty bugger. :D
Me I was hugged a bit by the old ladies. Nice old ladies. They are so blind. They can't see. But they know a good heart. That's what we had there, lots of good hearts.
I even brought out the new mocassins. I love the woodland style of beadwork. It is what differentiates from the southern styles. I know remember where I got them from, Ojibway couple from Ontario.
Some of the kids that were visiting with the people at the Gathering. My boy was there. He was there with us. I know the Gathering for me was a selfish endeavour. I do it because I want my Boy to be remembered by everyone. I want everyone to know what he was like. I want to make sure he is still here. That is what I had hoped. That people don't forget our loved ones.
There were lot of people there that are my new heroes, Janice Green was awesome. A hard worker, good heart and plenty of energy.
My usually heroes, like Suz, Annette, April, Lorene, Leslie, Bob, Arlene, Barbara, Earl, Shirley, Donald, Ernest, Peter, Sally, Ron, Brenda, Smiley, Jean, Bernice came through with help as well.
All in all it was a good event. Some better people than me shared their hearts and their love with us. Now that is good.