From my desk to the dance floor:
Spending the last few years entrenched in research books, going through interview processes, and numerous job experiences have lit a passion inside of me: a passion for the journey of discovering the history, culture and richness of my Nation’s First Peoples. This weekend has allowed me to fully experience that passion. No longer am I reading and hearing about these celebrations but I am immersed in them. The stories of residential schools, warriors returning home and love stories have been re-enacted right before my eyes.
My weekend of exploration began Friday morning with the sun blazing and traffic slowing just enough for me to see the beginnings of a beautiful day. With a tea in hand and my mind frantically running, I entered the stadium to the sounds of laughter and friendly voices. As we began to prepare for the weekend, we were given the privilege of being situated in the stadium’s box seats, which came complete with a panoramic view of all of the performances and the captivated audience. With a bird’s eye view of the activity below, I allowed myself to let go of the romanticized ideas and preconceptions about these celebrations so that I could be free to experience each piece the way it was meant to be. It was in this freedom that I finally moved from my desk to the dance floor. In an instant, all of this became real and palpable: real people, real stories and real lives. There is no Hollywood, here, just authentic people wanting to share what has shaped, molded and made them into who they are.
Saturday began in a similar fashion. A sun-soaked sky and slow, meandering traffic was a theme of my weekend outside of the stadium. However, as soon as I stepped inside the building again, what was happening in my heart, mind and soul in the morning was very different. My heart was still beating to the reverberating sound of the drums from the day before. My mind was ready to be filled by the gift of sharing stories. My soul was eager to be stirred by heartfelt, powerful song, dance and stories.
The following is a sneak peak into what I was able to experience earlier today:
At the moment I am being blessed to witness a powerful song for those who suffered the residential schools.
This song is sacred and no videos are allowed, so I will store in it my heart.
Women holding hands, men canoeing, children covering their eyes and the haunting echo of drums have taken us back to a time where human voices were stolen and silence became a darkness. It is with this song that we are encouraged – we can hear the voices taken back and find no more enemy in silence.
Once again I am honored to be here.
All my relations,
That was a live Facebook update that I furiously typed out so I would never forget the journey I had just been taken on. In all of my readings, I had never felt more close to understanding this part of Aboriginal history.
Now, as the evening is coming to a close, I reflect on what the last two days have meant to me as a non-aboriginal guest at this very intimate celebration. I am so thankful to Social City Networking for letting me help out and be a part of this amazing experience. I am in great debt to Nisga’a nation for gifting me this opportunity as well. As the Grand Finale begins down below, I am ever aware that now that I have been to the dance floor, I will never go back to my desk the same.
All my Relations,
-Written by Danielle Rainsford on behalf of Social City Networking INC-