A sense of “welcome home to Akwesasne” greeted us, the members of the Nation to Nation Bike Tour, as we arrived on Thompson Island for our first four days; an orientation on the traditions, values and lifestyle of the Mohawk community.
Our group was treated to a creation narrative that highlighted a number of things, including the place of women in the Mohawk community and the inclusive nature of the community.
The fulfilment of a prophecy is how Chief Brian David and traditional Mohawk speaker Aronhiahes Herne described the Nation to Nation Bike Tour. In the words of these community leaders, and historian Darren Bonaparte, “It was prophesied that one day people of all colours and from all nations would come together.”
What I gleaned from these profound words is that this coming together would make human understanding complete. It was further explained that this means accepting each other as part of the same 'stalk,' even though we are separated by political, cultural and economic boundaries.
Linking up with nature
While the sharing was going on, I reflected on how each one of us is individually related to nature -- the created world. This was stressed more when we had the opportunity to hear from elder Eddie Gray. He talked about how nature has been carelessly treated by mankind and highlighted the fact that even trees, weeds, and other plants have life and that, when harvested, they give their lives for the well-being of humankind.
It is interesting how many people think that academic knowledge is superior to that found among Indigenous communities around the world. This notion was proved false by the profound knowledge and wisdom among the Mohawk community in Akwesasne. This is not the end and all has not been told. The group is upbeat and looking forward to more learning.
Tour members will be blogging and tweeting about their experiences. Follow along at: @oteshaproject, @oteshaontour, @kairoscanada, & @MediaKAIROS, and sign up for the Notes from the Road Tour Blog by clicking here