It is dark outside to the west where the Rocky Mountains sit.
When I lived in Calgary years ago, I’d feel sad seeing sunrises since they made me lonely for home back in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Landing in Calgary this time, I felt my heart, had reconnected with a very old friend.
I thank my old friends from Calgary, I’d have to say, a very busy place, who have texted and emailed me and said they’d make time for me, to visit. This actually says a lot about the friendliness of the west. When I had moved out here years ago and had my son I was immediately reassured with that charm.
Ill often tell the story about crossing 17th ave sw just to get a Starbucks. Traffic stopped in both directions. Me thinking, wow. I crossed, with my husband, to get a latte. We had visited Calgary in March of 2006 and decided it was a place we’d like to move to. We moved in June that year, and left Ontario. It was sad. Perhaps some thought we were selfish. But jobs are crucial for a family. Jobs mean, security. We did what was right for us at that time.
Now, I know, Alberta is facing a hard time in certain sectors. All I can say is I truly hope for new engagements. Revival of new businesses as I heard yesterday in Tssu Tina, as Hal Eagletail shared about economies, and reviving traditional economies. Also just about, the importance of the event centre. This huge building really amazed me. The details of the site are truly beautiful. I heard that business is important for all of us and that, its important to be innovative to think about ways to relate and build together. That the invite is there, to build, in regards to economies.
The Assembly of First Nations chose Calgary and Tsuu Tina, as a place to bring and invite 800 delegates. This says a lot. I think the choice to do it here was a very wise one. This means the Grey Eagle is booked solid. Other hotels I have heard are also booked, the Delta South, The Carriage Inn and a few others. This means, many of us are venturing out in Calgary and the area, to enjoy our stay. It means giving back to a place that really can use the help. The gratitude I see is evident.
Day One agenda at the AFN was huge. If you look at the link to the agenda, you will see the magnitude of theAFN 2017 Education There is so much work to do. We heard about schools on reserve, schools off reserve. I especially liked to hear about how our children, those off reserve, such as my own, and the work that is being done, to help to influence change, so that culture is reflected.
That even though, we run into deficits and have for years due to unfair and insufficient funding for our schools, which operate so much in the negative, that we have to rise above that, all, and be that pillar of culture, of strength.
Never to be defined by the deficits. That culture and language are especially critical. We know our children walk in both worlds. We have to be that guardian to our children, to, be that point of knowledge transfer. In our roles which are many. I am hearing that culture is pretty much the most important safeguard. Which in reflection was always what, kept me in line as well. Those roots the keep us strong. Sometimes the roots are about family and community, sometimes our belonging is tied to our intellectual families, as well. There are so many reasons we feel those roots. Clearly the roots here is that we are all educators, leaders on education, with our various skills and gifts.
I had the opportunity to hear from delegates who attended the workshop i presented on, “Designing an Approach that Roots Our Learners: Stories of the Land, Our Home”One important message I will leave with for today. An Elder told me as he left, and I wanted to record him so I would not forget, of course, I never forget stories shared.
He said that is was Two Feathers who said:“The Land is not given to us from our ancestors, it is loaned to us from our children.”