The earthquake that shook Canada


Last updated 11/14/2015 at 3:42pm

The political ground shook in Canada on October 19, 2015, when the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper was resoundingly defeated by the Liberal Party. It was kind of a David and Goliath story of biblical proportions. Political commentators said that it was a combination of anger over the former government along with a great desire for change that brought about this landslide victory.

When you read this, Justin Trudeau, 43, will have been sworn in as the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history (Joe Clark is youngest).

First Nations leaders said that in a significant way, it was Aboriginal people voting in record numbers that, in a way, caused this political rumble—like “a sleeping giant awakening from a long sleep.” Native people finally realize that they can have a say and that every vote matters.

However one wants to describe it, one thing is true, the future holds significant changes across Canada that will be felt by people of every sector of society including First Nations. There will be changes on the economic, social and ethical side as well as issues dealing with values based on religious rights and freedoms. Observing what transpired during October’s election, let’s reflect on it through the framework of an Indigenous worldview as it affects Indigenous education, social justice and spiritual awareness as followers of Jesus.

This can best be illustrated by Native North Americans’ four-quadrant circle representing the four major factors that must come together if we are to see genuine change in our society as a whole and in our Indigenous communities. These factors are Family, Community, Education, and Spirituality or Faith.

Our Indigenous peoples use the four geographical directions as well as the three spiritual ones (Up, Down, Inward) to express qualities of character which we believe Creator has entrusted to us in regards to living our lives in a common community and society. These directions help us to remember qualities which in many ways are the biblical teachings of Jesus.

North represents Wisdom. Wisdom is expressed through Indigenous Education which is key in creating a better future for our Native communities. We hope that our political leaders in Ottawa will be able to work with our tribal leaders to increase educational resources and opportunities across Native Country. But we also desire that many more non-native people will receive a “good education” about the First Peoples of Turtle Island. Let’s learn from our past in order to effect change in a good way in the future.

East stands for Strength or Fortitude—the ability to persevere in the face of adversity. We choose to stand with strength and the grace the gospel of Jesus offers as a voice of justice, reconciliation, and peace. With this in mind, we encourage our non-indigenous communities to engage with Indigenous peoples in effecting change and working to accomplish goals—removing barriers and building bridges.

We commend the churches in Winnipeg and elsewhere who have banded together in mutual support to push our political leaders to build an all-weather access road into Shoal Lake to give that community clean water year-round.

South stands for Generosity. We support those with resources, time and energy to encourage and bless our Native community. This coming year, Indian Life will be having a booth at powwows and other Native gatherings and activities as God provides, in order to provide literature, spreading teaching and hope and encouraging our Native faith communities to involve themselves in their local areas, sharing good news with their neighbors.

West means Courage—the willingness to put one’s self in harm’s way to protect our families and communities to advance a higher cause or purpose. Indian Life will continue to publish news and stories that stand for what is right, even when it is not popular and there is opposition. We stand for life and for caring for the land in a good way. One of the changes we will face in the coming months is increased pressure against life from conception to natural death.

Up is an honorable direction. Having Integrity and Honest Character. Human beings and especially leaders, must seek for and find help from above—from our Creator God. We will continue to proclaim good news and invite our readers to embrace the life that many of the subjects in our stories write about—a transformed life through the love and power of Creator’s Son: The kind of life Jesus talked about (Matthew 6; John 10:10).

Down expresses Respect in embracing and understanding the sacred values of all creation. Our values in this regard shape our decisions and actions every day in living in harmony with all around us. In order to do this, we work towards greater reconciliation between Native and non-Native peoples by giving them both opportunities, offering assistance and relationship building in order to help eliminate prejudice, and promote greater friendship and mutual awareness, challenging them to follow Jesus’ teaching.

InwardHumility is the core value. It is understood that only Creator God is sacred or perfect and human beings, at their very best, by comparison, are pitiful. Spirituality: All human beings desire a meaningful, enriching, fulfilling and good life with their family, friends and community. We embrace Jesus the Christ as this way, this truth and this life (John 14:6) which empowers us to live in a sacred and humble way.


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