The story of the Unist’ot’en people returning to their land, and creating this traditional Healing Centre, while resisting oil pipelines and mass environmental destruction, is a story of their fierce love for their relatives, all life, ancestors, those beings alive today and the generations to come.
In the face of colonial extractivism, their struggle and that of so many land defenders, is a fight for love and for life. When Jesus speaks of the downtrodden being lifted up from the earth and calling all people together, perhaps we can see something of this today, as so many non Indigenous people, communities, begin to finally listen to those who speak for those who cannot: so often those who have experienced violent oppression, such as the Indigenous peoples of this land, under the colonial Canadian government.
And just as true followers of Jesus will follow this call, today those who love the land, who love the lives of their children, and their children’s children, who love the life that water gives, that clean air and earth give, are beginning to, and must heed the call of so many Indigenous voices, calling us to come together and protect the earth, and heal her.
It is important to remember that the capitalist society in which we live, is designed to separate us, and alienate us from the colonized, both our human kin and non-human kin. Instead of overcoming these barriers, we are meant to chose instead the comfortable path: perhaps we make a donation to a cause, but otherwise we maintain this status quo that keeps us safe and on top of things.
But this is now a time, just as winter dies and spring is born, just as Jesus prepares for death and rebirth, to be lifted up from the earth, for us to shed those fears and allow ourselves to be drawn in to one another: to oneness. And not to stop there, at the spiritual delight of oneness that all prophets call us unto, but to consider the implications of oneness. The political, social changes that we must be part of, in order to truly respect the water, the soil, the air, the forests, and to be true stewards to this land that we are borrowing from our great, great grandchildren. And luckily much of the work of envisioning this change has been done for us, by those already taking action, laying down their work, their comfort, security, safety, even lives, to defend what is left of what is sacred.
Next week we will gather with some of St Aidan’s movers and shakers, to explore allyship, as non-Indigenous people, and what it means to manifest our ideologies, to make our faith real in our actions and lives, in the context of standing with the front line land defenders on this Turtle Island where we are now settled.