Oshkimaadziig Unity Camp 2012 (Coldwater Museum)
I don’t really see anything as a right and wrong or good or bad choices. I am learning to see things from a “pro-life” or “pro- death” perspective. For simplicities sake, I will just refer to them as either “life” or “death” choices
For example, if someone chooses to drink or do drugs. Is that right or wrong? I can’t really comment on if that is right or wrong for that individual. Maybe drinking excessively is the wrong choice, but perhaps that wrong choice by others, serves as a warning to others to make right choices. So what may be perceived as bad or wrong, in the end is actually a right or good in the end for others.
However sometimes we over look the fact that in order for others to live, some may have to die. Death brings about life, and likewise some peoples lives bring about death for others.
For the sake of argument lets take a look at some wildebeest in Afrika crossing the Nile where there is crocodiles. Is it right or wrong to cross that river? There is only life and death choices. They HAVE to cross that river, for that is what the herd needs in order to survive. But some will have to sacrifice their lives so that others may live.
Indigenous knowledge, practice and innerstandings encompasses the Circle of Life perspective.
I mentioned the drinking comment above because drinking has been the bane of Anishinabek existence since alcohol was introduced on this continent. There is not a single one of us that have escaped the harmful effects of Alcohol. Every single one of us Indians on this continent knows a family member who has been afflicted in some negative or “death” type way. There are so few Anishinabek that carry good medicine, its painful to watch when they make “death” choices.
Anishinabek people are not totally unlike the wildebeest in the anecdote mentioned above, but were not exactly the same either. There are far too many of us steered in a “death” path, and not enough steered in a “life” path. We don’t need more of our people making “death” choices by drinking and doing drugs, to serve as an example of what not to do. There are enough non-Anishinabek showing us that already. What Anishinabek people need are more Anishinabek people making “life” choices.
These “life” choices begin with helping bring enough balance two our own lives, so that we can function as a community member. And being a community member means that we are in fact a part of a larger community and the the over all collective health of Anishinabek Nation is dependant on the health of all its people.
Therefore, our “life” choices must then be to rebuild ourselves so that, we in fact become a “life” choice for others to build with.