Sue's Letter July 2017
Greetings to our White Eagle Family & Friends,
Happy 150th birthday, Canada! Our official birthday is July 1st and we are celebrating 150 years since Confederation. This was when Canada became "one Dominion under the crown," a.k.a. the Dominion of Canada, as per the British North America Act of 1867 that unified the colonies (Province of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick). The rest of the provinces and territories joined and were formed over time.
What a celebration it is for our beautiful country. There are events taking place right across Canada this year. There have been TV commercials highlighting Canada’s unity as a country where people from nations across the world make their home. One, in particular says, ‘it’s not you and me, but only we.’ On July 1st, there was a live telecast from Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. Our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, started the day with his opening speech. He reflected on how Canada achieved our Confederation and then went on to speak of how Canada has grown to become the extraordinary country it is today – prosperous, generous, and proud.” He also said,“Today, as has been the case for centuries, we are strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them.”
Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were also in attendance representing Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Canada. The Prince spoke of Canada’s war veterans and the great sacrifice they made to ensure Canada’s freedom and democracy. He also recognized the need for Canada to do its part in reconciling with our indigenous peoples so that changes can be initiated to correctly acknowledge the role the First Nations had in Canada’s history which goes back way beyond 150 years.
For some First Nations, the words “Canada’s birthday” are irrelevant. During the last 150 years, our indigenous people have had to endure many injustices resulting from ‘residential schools, unequal policing, unequal health care, education and child-welfare systems and exploitation of resources.’ (The Star.com, by Jim Coyle, Saturday April 1, 2017) There is also the betrayal of treaties and in our history books there is no mention of how the First Nations helped to forge and shape this new country named, Kanata, meaning, village or settlement.
May Canada be sincere in honouring our First Nations to right the wrongs of the past and to always have an accurate account of our First Nations in the future. White Eagle says, “Bear patiently the difficulties and the problems of the present time, but know that God, all love and all wisdom, holds humanity in His-Her clasp. Right will conquer, and justice will balance apparent wrongs. God is no respecter of the wishes of persons or nations, and knows only justice; but at the same time brings to bear, on human affairs, love, healing and peace.” (Group Consciousness, pg.45)
I would like to mention our cover photo. This photo is from my friend, Shelley Sterling. This pond was constructed last summer by volunteers. Last year, Shelley was diagnosed with ALS. She is the most positive person to the moon and back and just keeps smiling the way she always has. This water feature allows her to sit with friends in a peaceful place. Her husband and their two grown children are a source of strength for Shelley. She is now mobile in her power chair. Shelley, you are truly a source of spiritual inspiration to me.
On July 5th, we were saddened to hear the news of the passing of Herb Belcourt, Lesley Tarrant Belcourt’s husband. Lesley is our White Eagle contact person in Alberta. She was married to Herb for 44 years. He passed on July 5th at the age of 85, just one day before his 86th birthday. Ann Force, our leader for the B.C. Lodge, told me that Lesley and Herb did visit in the past. Ann’s group got to know Lesley and Herb in Texas during retreats.
Herb was an Edmonton businessman, philanthropist and Métis leader. Herb strived to better the lives of Métis people in Alberta. He was one of the founders of the Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards Fund which supported post-secondary education of Métis youth in Alberta. He was honoured with the Order of Canada in 2010 and most recently the Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award, to name just a few. We would like to celebrate Herb’s life with a full article in our Christmas Drumbeat.
Our White Eagle family in Canada send our condolences to Lesley and the family.
May the warmth and sunshine of the season reflect the Christ Love within our hearts,
Happy Summer Everyone!
Leader for the Star Centre for Canada