I gathered my belongings into the plastic milk crate on my trusty one-speed 1960’s bike and headed over the lovely new bike bridge crossing the
Oodena Celebration Circle at the Forks (photo by tripwow.tripadvisor.com )
Part of me thought I should get on my trusty one-speed and head home. The other part remembered my Christian Peacemaker Team training - I wanted to be present, to stand in solidarity with the M’ikmaq people, the Acadian people and the Anglophone people of New Brunswick. This morning they had experienced a violent crackdown on their right to protest. If this was to happen today in
I needed to be a witness. [My CPT colleagues who were in New Brunswick wrote this account of 17 October-here] Winnipeg
As I found the east end of
I watched and listened. There was a woman sitting in the very center of
As I stood I heard a drum beat come closer and closer to my right ear. I looked and saw one of the women drummers standing right next to me. We looked at each other and she stopped drumming for a minute, taking a beautiful new handbag off her shoulder. It was sewn in the four colours [representing the four colours of all peoples: red, white, black and yellow]. She handed it to me, we looked at each other for another few seconds and she moved on, picking up the beat again.
I stood in silence again. I had ridden downtown to find a sacred fire. There were no flames rising from the heart of Winnipeg’s biggest intersection, and I hadn’t expected to find any there, but as I thought about it, I knew I had found the sacred fire. Within each of the people standing and drumming and dancing and singing, there were billions of cells. Within each cell were the mitochondria. And within the tiny mitochondria there was the burning of the fuel of food eaten to create energy- the energy for life process such as movement and growth and activism and solidarity.
This settler of Irish and English ancestry found the sacred fire at Portage and Main in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 17 October, 2013.