"The Energy was Bigger than Us! "
What do I mean by that.
Well it was just a wonderful, magical, spiritual and to non-believers it was unbelievable because of the power that was with us.
Let me explain. I arrived early, I was tired as I was so excited I hadn't slept since about 4 am. I was early and went got my Student ID. I was commenting that I hope it looked better than the last one.
The last one was 21 years earlier and at that time everything was switching from film to digital and so while I got it right away..the photo quality really sucked. LOL, whatever...moving on. Actually this photo turned out really nice. Thanks Henry!
I found our room. It was all desks, like the old fashioned ones...(some one made a comment - too much like residential school desks). I was surprised because it wasn't what I was expecting. I thought it would be at least tables with chairs and a circle.
Anyways they brought all these bags and mentioned a potlatch.. and well the whole thing is kind of blur...
Aaron Nelson Moody - (Young) Splashing Eagle is one of the instructors and the head carver. He's our carving instructor
Splash's uncle Chief Shane Pointe he was there and was invited to say a few things.
At some point I realized there was a lady sitting behind me that I hadn't seen at the orientation...turned out she's the Dean. Cool thing was that when we joined hands for the circle I joined hands with her and with another student and well it was a wonderful powerful experience and truly unbelievable for some because while Shane was speaking/singing and calling the ancestors to watch over us and help us....it blew the power OUT!
Seriously, if you want you could believe someone did it for effects but no one could have timed that. It was really amazing and I got goosebumps all day when ever I thought about it or talked about it.
Then they fed us. There was this great feast of really fancy sandwiches and fruit and buns and later Suzy from Fine Arts brought us a CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE!!! YES! Seriously!!!
|Sadly I didn't take a photo of the Chocolate Cheesecake. I was a little shy!
It was unbelievable! I told you! Ha! Ha! But this is all true.
They told us that we were being asked to do something very very SPECIAL and UNIQUE and that they were VERY VERY GRATEFUL to us. They told us they were there to help us in anyway they could. I get teary just thinking about it. It was really beautiful.
It was really lovely and touching. So we sat around and chatted and it was really nice. Then we went over the syllabus and Aaron did some drumming.
I realized later that there was a lot missing. Like there should have been a smudge (burning sage to cleanse the room) and it's something I hope we can do at the next class.
So for the afternoon class which is the actual carving class we all introduced ourselves and said why we were there. THAT WAS HEAVY!
These brave souls that I am with are an AMAZING GROUP of people and well it was really great to be there.
After though someone pointed out we were not alone as some other students were just sitting in listening if they wanted to be part of the group and so it was awkward as some people shared some very touching personal experiences and we weren't actually in a sacred safe place. Not like in the morning
And I don't think that was Aaron's intention or fault or anything, it's just everything is brand new and there's going to be alot of things like that as they work out the kinks.
We are the first! Going no place we've gone before....so I must prepare myself a little better. My life and many of my experiences are already on the web, so it's not new what I shared so much as how I shared it, with great emotion(tears). That is because the others were so honest and brave and shared (lots of tears) and felt I must reciprocate with honesty while I had the opportunity so they know they are not alone and so they understand me a bit better.
Next class I am going to take a lot more photos. I only took a couple. Garwin Sanford- he was there in the morning and he is going to be documenting all the program the best they can so it can be shared with other schools and bands and as a learning tool for the Truth and Reconciliation as a way to bring more healing, enlightenment, education and knowledge to what has truly occurred in the last 100- 500 years since colonialism rampaged in and changed everyone's life so in it's destructive and ignorant ways.
Notes to self
Why didn't Aaron contact Rueben George ( Tsleil-Waututh Nation) to find more people to participate?
Some suggestions for next class. Wonder if we can smudge?- so we all have good energy.
The new room.
The new room is in the art area. So it's really much much better than where we were and hopefully we can get our own energy really working in there. The carving is going to be hard. Hard to learn and hard on my hands. Just learning how to sharpen the knives is going to be so important. Tool making. TOOL MAKING! this is exciting because I remember reading in anthropology back in the early 90's and how important tool making was. It was passed on down through the men. In that book Clan of the Cave Bear, Ayla wasn't supposed to touch tools. But who knows the truth...something I should research...anyways, this is going to be a valuable skill for so many reasons.
But like Aaron says, when trying to find things for this course, like books and things, it's really hard because it's mainly some anthropological point of view and talks about mortuary poles and artifacts but not much about life and colour and feasts and the true beauty of living off the land and being one with it and being indigenous.
Indigenous. We are all indigenous to this earth! We've just taken different paths and many were forced down horrible paths that they did not want to go. For that we need time and healing. Hopefully this course is going to help with that.
So that's my first post. I hope to make many more and blog about this whole experience. I am sure if it's anything this whole experience like the 1st day, it's going to blow me away!!
Here's to looking forward!!
For my children's children!
Related links and Info:
Shane Pointe is from the Point family and is a proud member of the Musqueam and Coast Salish people. He is a highly respected Musqueam community member, ceremonial traditional speaker and cultural educator. He provides protocol and ceremonial guidance for many cultural events – locally, nationally and internationally. He has worked in various capacities such as: Aboriginal Support Worker (AEEW VSB), Trial Support Coordinator for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Native Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program worker with the Musqueam Indian Band, in the Longhouse Leadership Program at the First Nations House of Learning (University of British Columbia), and most recently providing support to the Aboriginal Mothers Centre.