I had a vision. I kept it to myself for a while, then shared it in little moments on Facebook, on Twitter. But it’s time to share it, as undeveloped as it may be, I feel that it’s right. And there’s something in me that won’t allow me to stay silent about it any longer. Take it or leave it, I’m releasing it now.
In my vision I saw something new. Something like government but unlike it completely. I saw true representation for The People of Turtle Island, starting right here in Kanata.
I saw three levels of governance: The Elders Circle; The Congress of Spokespeople; The Youth Assembly
I saw the Youth give the dreams and the vision: the hope and the energy.
I saw the Elders give the wisdom and perspective: the guidance and calm.
I saw the Congress of Spokespeople combine these things into action, carrying out the will of the people.
Where did they come from? They didn’t run for office or position, they were nominated by their regions, their communities. In fact, attempting to campaign for a position immediately disqualified the person.
They were asked to serve and they served. It was all volunteer, no money paid. They served for one year. There was equal representation by the sexes, whether one spirit or two-spirit.
Who was a member? Anyone who claimed the smallest drop of Indigenous blood. No blood quantum discrimination. You could be 1/64th for all it mattered. But you had to claim it. Stand up and say, “Yes. I am one of The People.”
And you had to give precedence to Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Honouring, and Sharing. Ceremony and smudge, discussion rather than heated debate.
There were only three directions to follow:
- Promote the well being of the earth, water, sky
- Promote the well being of communities
- Promote education & peaceful relations
Anyone who went against these directions disqualified themselves from having a voice, as there were those who wanted to subvert the process, to act for other parties with special interests. The only special interest here was the Common Good.
This organization had no official powers, was not part of government, was separate from Indian Act governance. It had no funding. Not from Ottawa, not from Corporations. It was run through service. It made use of all our modern technologies.
And before it began there was a Large Assembly, a Gathering. At the Gathering the people voiced their thoughts, they spoke their concerns and hopes and cautions. They shared their visions.
A Document was conceived. It was a plan for the road ahead: a Seven Generations Path. It was made available for everyone physically, and digitally. A practical, spiritual document. It was painted on hide. It was made into songs. It was a gift for the people now, and the people to come.
It detailed the way we should walk forward in every aspect of life: Economic, Political, Financial, and so on. It showed a new way to think about Kanata and it’s relation to the world and All Our Relations.
That is what I saw and share with you today. Can it happen? Will it happen?
I ask that our leaders step forward and step up. I ask that those who know how to organize such matters devote some small part of your time to making it happen. There is no room for negativity here, no room for lateral violence, for hate, for anger. If those are the gifts you bring, perhaps you should reconsider your approach.
Bring only the best of you, the greatest version of you, the version of you that is becoming free from colonization and the culture of fear and blame.
You are standing on the precipice of a great change. Peace, organization, and a giving, healing spirit.
That’s our gift to everyone and to our generations to come and it starts here.
It starts now.
Light the flame.
Light the Fire.
Open yourself to your greatest possibility.
Are you ready?
Then bring forward your best and let the dreaming and the creation begin.
Follow Aaron on Twitter @aaronpaquette
Aaron Paquette is one of Canada’s leading First Nations artists and the founder of Cree8 Success, a philosophy of injecting creativity into the practices and lives of youth, teachers and enterprise. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Aaron has been creating art for the past 20 years. He apprenticed and has become both a Cathedral Stained Glass artist and a Goldsmith, influences of which can be seen in the line and structure of his paintings – displayed in various galleries throughout the country. His work is frequently exhibited in galleries across Canada and he works as a guest curator for The Art Gallery of Alberta, St. Albert’s public Gallery: Profiles, and the McMullen Gallery at the University of Alberta Hospital. He currently has a traveling exhibit with the Art Gallery of Alberta called Halfbreed Mythology.5