Prairie Post (West Edition)
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: The NFU Reflects on Pathways toward Right Relations with Indigenous Peoples
This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the NFU pauses to reflect on some of what we have been learning over the past year from our efforts to explore and take seriously our responsibilities towards Indigenous peoples and lands.
Gratitude must be the starting point of our work together – gratitude for one another as human beings, and for all the beings of the Earth. As Celeste Smith (Oneida Nation) points out, “gratitude, as a way of being, means listening to and learning from one another as equal partners. When we act from a place of gratitude we honour life and our connections. It’s from this place that we can build meaningful and authentic relationships.”
We are deeply grateful for what we have been learning from the Indigenous peoples in our lives – our community members, members of our families, friends, and members of the NFU. We know that this learning is an important basis for taking action in solidarity with Indigenous peoples to defend Indigenous rights and sovereignty and protect the land, water and biodiversity on which we all depend for our survival and wellbeing.
Relationship building must be at the heart of our practice. It is through building authentic and meaningful relationships that we can take action together to overcome the injustices of on-going colonization and build pathways toward right relations with one another and the land. Tiffany Traverse (Secwépemc Nation) shared her perspective: “regardless of the atrocities that have and continue to happen, we want to form meaningful relationships. We are in this together now. We need to try to find ways to live and work together.”
An entry point for relationship building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous farmers is the shared connection we have with, and love for, the land and water. In relationship, we find respectful ways to connect with and learn from Indigenous ways of knowing and being on the land. We come to see that Indigenous worldviews, knowledge and science are crucial parts of the solution to the social and ecological crises we are facing.
Together, we are learning more ways to practice democracy. The NFU cares deeply about democracy. We know that each of us needs to have an equal voice in what we are creating. To do this we need to respect each other’s knowledge, experience, processes, cultures and points of view. Indigenous peoples in the NFU are bringing their own knowledge of and experience with land and governance that are helping to ensure that everybody in our community has a say and is valued and heard.
We know this learning is a life-long and continual process, and that making change takes time and commitment to being in community together on a consistent basis.