Indigenous Spiritual Teachings for Building a Peaceful and Harmonious World
Faith Spotted Eagle is a founding grandmother of the Brave Heart Society, supervised by a group of community grandmothers called the Unci Circle, which is dedicated to restoring endangered and lost cultural practices to heal the wounds endured by the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota peoples. This process of restoration is decidedly community-driven: “We can’t wait for someone to do right by us, so we have to do it ourselves. I think our prophecies with our native people have indicated that there will be a time when we absolutely have to stand up, and this is that time.”
Chief Darrell Bob, of the Xaxli'p Community, St'at'ime Nation, Lilooet, BC. Chief Darrell feels fortunate to have been raised by his grandparents on a small farm in Lilooet, BC with the teachings of the Old Ones and their language and knowledge of their way of life. They had no electricity and everything was done by hand with a very small tractor which they also used for transportation at the best of times. They had five gardens and many fruit trees and hay on their lands. This kept his family busy year around as they stored their fish for winter with his grandfather catching no less than 700 fish in a summer.
In 2006 Chief Darrell became a leader of his community where he received his most significant teachings about the importance of the lands of his people. He was taught to look at the whole territory when he made a decision and not just the narrow scope of an initiative. The Elders always reminded him that what you do to one you do to all which includes our Mother Earth! "Being stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to look after Her and nurture Her to the best of our ability so that She can continue to provide for us!"
In 2009 Chief Darrell, honoring a profound vision helped initiate the International Indigenous Leadership Gathering in Lilooet, BC. He has continued this gathering of indigenous spiritual leaders, Elders, healers and educators sharing their Sacred Teachings and Traditional ways with natives and nonnatives alike. Each year this gathering has doubled in attendance reaching 2,500 people this year and planning on many more next year.
In 2010 thru 2011, Chief Darrell has also continued his leadership role at the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Roundtables supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge. With his deep connections to Mother Earth, humbly sharing traditional ways thru song, drumming and leading ceremonial sweat lodges, he has touched the hearts and spirits of many
Sun Dance Chief Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is an Indigenous community organizer and spiritual leader. He is a Sun Dance Chief and the grandson of Chief Dan George, the Oscar nominated and universally respected First Nations spiritual leader. Rueben started his career by founding and creating Dukes Youth Healing Centre 19 years ago. Rueben learned very quickly that the foundation for his success in his work would be his culture and spirituality. Rueben’s grandfather taught him “anything you learn in college or university on healing there is a First Nation teaching that says the same thing.” Based on the teachings of his elders, Rueben created a reference library of successful psychological healing programs and translated them into First Nation’s culture and spirituality. As well as being a Sun Dance Chief Pipe Carrier and sweat lodge leader, Rueben is an active participant in his Coast Salish Winter Spirit Dancing Ceremony.
Rueben has worked across Canada and the United States facilitating workshops on healing and wellness. In every project Rueben works on, he is sure to incorporate his culture and spirituality. In his present position as director of community development for the Tsliel-Waututh Nation, Rueben oversees the education, social services, employment and training, youth and Elders programs, family support programs and the Tsliel Waututh Nation Daycare and Early Childhood Learning Centre. Chief Rueben assures that the foundation of all community development programs are Tsliel-Waututh Nation culture and spirituality. Chief Rueben, on behalf of his First Nation, is co-coordinating the fight against the Kinder Morgan proposed tar sands oil pipeline and tanker expansion into Vancouver Harbour, the unceded Traditional Territory of the Tsliel-Waututh Nation. This pipeline route is currently the only way this dirty oil from the Alberta Tar Sands is making its way from Canada to new markets in China and the Pacific region. This fight has significant implications for Indigenous global sovereignty, climate change and the future of the global oil economy! As Chief Rueben always says, “The roots of who we are, are stronger than anything we have been through or will go through in the future!”