“As long as the sun shines upon this earth, that is how long our agreement will stand. As long as the water still flows and as long as the grass grows green at a certain time of year, now we have symbolized this agreement and it shall be binding forever as long as Mother Earth is still in motion”
Chiefs of the Six Nations and Government Interpreter explaining their Wampum belts to Horatio Hale Sept.14th 1871
Today was a very serendipitous day for me as I woke up this morning thinking about all the people that “liked” my most recent blog. For some reason it brought to mind the term Esteemed Ones. A term I learned in my recent class offered at work on the Anishinaabe Culture and Treaty Rights of the First Nations and Metis people. This is a term that translated into European Colonist culture as “Chiefs” a term never used by the Native People as they believed no one person was in charge, but everyone had to be in agreement, and the elders were referred to as Esteemed Ones.
So with this thought in mind I continued on with my Saturday chores and ran some errands. One of them was to stop by the McLaren Art Centre and pay for some classes I signed my daughter up for. She needs help with a portfolio for College admission. I said to her, while we’re here we might as well go upstairs and look around, it’s by donation only so I think we can spare a couple of dollars to have a look see.
There was not a whole lot to look at but there were two artist’s with an exhibit. We walked into one room, turned around and then came out heading to the second room. A nice lady came over to us and asked if we’d like to see the room we had just came out of, opened the door for us and we headed back in again. She explained all the art of Nadia Myre a First Nations artist from Montreal. She went through each series of work displayed and talked in detail about the thoughts behind the Art. It was truly fascinating that having this knowledge could make everything seem that much more special now viewing it for a second time.
Over on one wall was a framed beaded Wampum Belt. We discussed this a little as I had learned all about the significance of the Wampum Belt in my class at work. I was actually able to converse on the subject with this lady. I honestly never thought I’d use this knowledge again. I only took the class to get out of doing 2 hours of Excel spreadsheet work at my desk every week for 6 weeks.
I’m not sure what was going through my daughter’s head at the time, if she was thinking, mom are you just making this up or do you really know what you’re talking about.
Well after doing a little bit of research on the Internet and refreshing my memory, I can say without hesitation that what I learned from my class was Honor, Ceremony, Story Telling, Symbolism and Respect for the land and each other are very important parts of the First Nations and Metis Culture.
Strive to aim high like the Eagle, the bird that flies the highest of them all, so that one day we may become Esteemed Ones.