Posted by John Borst on Mar 22, 2017
Guest speaker Roy Napish, shared an oral history of his culture, comments on the role of treaties and his experience with residential schools.
Napish recalled that at the residential school students were discouraged from maintaining any connection to their indigenous culture. He explained that for his people, the reality of the treaties was to assimilate First Nations peoples into the white culture rather than creating an equal relationship as his people had intended.
Roy went on to describe his concept of 4 Directions which give us the 4 sacred values of honesty, kindness, strength, and sharing.
The Four Directions:
  • The North gives us the rocks, which speak to us of strength. 
  • The East gives us the animals, which talk to us about sharing. 
  • From the South we get the trees, which teach us about honesty, and 
  • From the West, we are given the grasses, which teach us about kindness. 
All things in this Life is given to us by the mother of us all: Our Mother, the Earth.
Napish explained how the all of these values were related to nature and how the First Nations people respected Mother Earth or Creator (as the Great Mystery) and in doing so this kept people happy and as a result, they were not looking to change things. This he contrasted to our western Europen civilization which is always looking for a change.
One concrete manifestation of this First Nations cultural view is that they do not look at anyone being able to have ownership of land. Instead, they feel that land is to be shared by all.