This report comes from Christy. Follow developments on the Earth Justice Gathering in Grassy Narrows at FreeGrassy.org.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Last night, members from the community held a barbeque and evening of music and dancing at the blockade site in order to recognize and thank the organizers and volunteers who helped out with preparation for and activities during the youth gathering and powwow. In addition to the many youth organizers and helpers from the community, Grassy Narrows also chose to honor our group of interns. It was a great mix of familiar faces of people we’d worked with during the youth gathering and powwow (cooks, organizers, youth and adults). Before and after the meal, there was dancing and music—a drum group from Whitefish Bay performed traditional music from First Nations communities from all over Canada.
Levi, a Grassy Narrows band councilor, presided over the ceremony. As the youngest member of and recent addition to the band council, Levi is responsible for doing a lot of outreach and work with youth in the community. Before the meal, he acknowledged the volunteers by name, with a personal certificate thanking them for their service during the gathering. Then Judy gifted the honorees with a tee shirt commemorating the youth and elders gathering, with the blockade symbol on the front, and a Native American prayer on the back.
Judy also presented each one of us with an eagle feather. In Anishinaabe culture, eagle feathers are sacred items, used in sweat lodges, ceremonies, and powwow regalia. To receive one is a very high honor, and many who received the feathers were visibly touched by such a poignant gesture. Eagle feathers represent friendship, and are commonly used for protection in one’s travels. Judy explained that since all of our feathers came from the same eagle, those of us who received eagle feathers will remain connected to one another, even after we leave Grassy Narrows, for as long as we keep our feathers.
O Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives like to all the world,
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes
ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make
my hands respect the things you have made,
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in
every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, no to be greater than
my brother, but to fight my greatest
Make me always ready to come to you with
clean hands and straight eyes
When life fades, as the fading sunset, my
spirit may come to you without shame.
—Native American Prayer