We based this meeting (some joining via Zoom) on the section of Elizabeth Davis’ presentation dealing with Indigenous people.
Kinsale Cluster watching the presentation
We used a PowerPoint presentation starting with the Red Shadow singers Eagle Song. This set the scene for our input on the relationship of Indigenous people to the earth. We paused for a response from the group. Sr. Clare had experience of the plight of a Native Americans tribe, who are still suffering the consequences of their treatment by the early settlers. Another sister felt that we are the poorer for the loss of their culture and way of life.
Words from the song ‘Colours of the Wind’ – ‘ I know every rock, and tree, and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name’ tell us how intimately the native people were connected with the natural world which they shared with all other creatures.
The story of First Nations people of Canada, Australia, Torres Straits and New Zealand summed up the worldwide picture of the lives of Indigenous peoples. One Sister was fascinated by the fact that the Maori people have had the status of personhood conferred on the Whangunui river. The native Choctaw Indians sent money to Ireland during the Famine even though they were very poor and in recent months we are told an Irish group have donated $300,000 to a Navajo tribe in US who are seriously impacted by COVID-19 virus.
While we talked about the history of The First Nations people and our treatment of them, we also focused on the ‘now’ where the Amazon is still being burned to free more land for agriculture. The Canadians thank the earth for materials for our homes, clothes, and tools. We are at a disconnect from ‘the earth’, because of the ready availability of goods in shops and stores. We fail to appreciate that everything still comes from the earth.
The sharing was followed by a Reflection on the Canticle of the Creatures by St. Francis. We finished with Pope Francis’ Laudato Si Prayer sung by Hazzan Steve Kalper and Br. Al Mascia OFM.
Joan O’Regan, Eileen O’Sullivan and Brigid O’Connell