My real name is Wakinyan Duuta…. Every now and then I must retreat for the purpose of moving forward. The past 5 months have been about retreat and in that finding out what being humble is. Not sure if I have made it there but it is always a learning…
Isagha taught me an important lesson one time before I left to travel the world for a couple of years after high school.
I was out riding my horse knowing that I wouldn’t have the chance to ride again until I came back – whenever that would be. In the process I lost my wallet in the snow somewhere. I panicked and retraced all my steps on foot for about 3 miles. It contained my life treasures as I knew it and about $30.00. You know all the things an 18 year old guy finds important. ID to get into the bar, library card, HS. ID, a roach, and of course, a condom. (Never knew when you will have to get into a balloon fight).
I cursed myself to kingdom come and felt really bad and was afraid of telling anyone. I was afraid that my dad would get really mad and we would get into a fist fight.
I finally told Isagha and he said: “Well lets sit here for a minute and think about it.”
We sat there and thought about it. He told me a few stories to make me laugh and talked about some of his adventures and of how he was proud of me and that my horse would be still here when I got back from wherever it was I was heading.
Finally he said, “Well let’s think about that wallet. Maybe it fell out when you were thinking too much about the future or something was bothering you.” We rode that same trail in our minds for a few minutes and then thought that it must have been when I rode through some thick brush and had to lay down on the horse to get through it.
Told him I will go there and be back. It took about 5 minutes but there it was, right where I thought.
When I got back he smiled and said well you should put $5.00 in the church collection. I said yes but decided not to. I needed it more than the church did anyways.
It bothered me for quite awhile and it took to a time when I was travelling through Australia. There was an old Aborigine man on the street just walking. He reminded me so much of Isagha that I stopped and visited with him. In his broken English he smiled and talked in that strange Australian accent but he know what “Red Indians’ were. In the end I gave him that $5.00 and he thanked me and we went our own ways again.
I remember this story because I thought of Isagha and Kunshi a whole lot the past 4 days at the Truth and Reconciliation Gathering on residential schools. It was a place where time stopped for me and I left the real world to navigate through a world of long ago but not that long ago. Everyone had to visit the impacts of residential schools. It was a very personal journey for so many people. Even for myself.
Anger and hurt does not really describe it well enough for what was going on. I saw people from all parts of Canada who had been through that time and were still there. Many were still struggling. Many were also on a healing journey. anger came from everywhere. The children of survivors, the grandchildren of survivors.
Representatives came from Gov’t and Native leadership. There was also the Representatives from all “Those Churches”. It was far from ideal but there we were all there. I saw so many friends that I grew up with from everywhere. Were we tired and we were nervous but we were also all there together with eyes that sized up each other to see where and how to approach each other.
I was angry for my reasons and made the giant leap into the unknown to change that. Time will tell the outcome.
“There…” we all were….
Survivors, intergenerational survivors, supporters, young and old. I saw all of us on our horses riding one more time until we will come back. We lost something on that ride and spent years looking feverishly for what we lost. Scared of what might happen if we admit to it.
We ask our grandmothers and grandfathers to sit us down and tell us funny stories of what it was like in their time and tell us how proud they are of us and when we are ready, our horses will be there waiting for us. Finally telling us to think about what we lost and maybe saying to us that we were thinking too much about the future or that the: “something” was still bothering us.
Lets ride that trail in our minds once again and think carefully about where it was where we rode through some rough places.
We can tell them we will be right back and find that precious gift sooner rather than later because we have clearer minds…
Now the matter about that $5.00…. when we are ready…. we will find the place to give it to someone
It will take a few days of letting the events work through me now that I am back to real time. I think I may write a note or two.
My name is Wakinyan Duuta
(March 30, 2014)