This holiday season, we are bidding farewell to 2020 and welcoming 2021 with a series we are calling, The Conversation: a collection of brief but meaningful insights and reflections curated and shared by members of the Domain7 team. Centring on themes that help us reflect on a tumultuous year and move forward into the future, we are exploring change, resilience, community, transformation, and grounded hope.
Today’s host is Kevan Gilbert, Facilitation Practice Lead at Domain7. Just a note, that we are like many of you, working largely from home, and that these recordings may have a homemade flavour. We hope you enjoy joining us in our work and neighbourhood environments, for a little audio visit. Here’s Kevin.
Hello, and happy holidays. I’m Kevan Gilbert.
Today, I’m sharing the opening epigraph from Tanya Talaga’s book, Seven Fallen Feathers.
The Anishnaabe are guided by seven principles:
Zaagi’idiwin (love): To know love is to know peace.
Minaadendamowin (respect): To honour all of creation is to have respect. Aakode’ewin (bravery): To face life with courage is to know bravery. Gwayakwaadiziwin (honesty): To walk through life with integrity is to know honesty.
Dibaadendiziwin (humility): To accept yourself as a sacred part of creation is to know humility.
Nibwaakaawin (wisdom): To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
Debwewin (truth): To know of these things is to know the truth.
About seven years ago, I was given the task of helping create a digital storytelling project, to bring a certain indigenous leader’s story onto the web in partnership with the university. I was impacted and inspired by her story but ultimately I failed in completing the project.
She chose to withdraw her story and no longer participate. One of the things she told me, was that my writing was, “doing what was always done to indigenous peoples.” It has taken me a long time to understand what she meant and I don’t claim I fully understand it even now, but this quote helps me understand a little better.
It’s one thing to talk about the generations of injustice that have been inflicted on indigenous people, and it’s one thing to talk about present day conditions of struggle. But what often gets lost is the sense of beauty, and of wisdom, and of possibility, and that is not past tense at all, and it is not in a position of weakness deserving of sympathy. In fact, it remains true that indigenous perspectives and values and ways of knowing contain the very ingredients that can lead us as a society home towards wholeness.
These perspectives have nearly been paved over by the relentless pursuits of people like me, and it’s time to return home to that which can heal us. The concepts of love, of peace, of interconnectedness, they will be how our society can grow and heal, and they have been here all along.
One question I’d leave us with today in closing is, what perspectives have we been ignoring that it’s a long past time to listen to?
Kevin read the epilogue from the book, Seven Fallen Feathers by author Tanya Talaga, published in 2017 by House of Anansi Press.
The Conversation is a special edition of Domain7’s podcast, “Change Is In The Making.” Our audio producer is Kurt Wilkinson and our designer is Ryan Martinez. Music provided by James Boraas, leadership and editorial support provided by Sarah Butterworth, Kevan Gilbert, and myself, Veronica Collins. Thank you for tuning in for the first half of this month to hear about moving from 2020 to 2021 with hope and purpose. For more of this podcast and other resources, visit us at domain7.com. From me and the team at Domain7, Happy Holidays.