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A Reflection for the Summer Solstice


By Marie-Louise Perron, Knowledge Keeper
Indigenous Centre, Saint Paul University

Taanshi kiawaw, greetings everybody!

As I write to you on this day, variously known as the Strawberry Moon, Summer Solstice, and National Indigenous Peoples Day, I remember the Ancestors who have brought me here. To them and the Creator of all things, I am grateful.

In honour of this day, I would like to share with you a reflection on the Seven Sacred Teachings that I have been given. These are: Truth, Bravery, Honesty, Love, Respect, Humility, and Wisdom. In our epoch of the anthropocene we really need these teachings!

The Strawberry Moon is a time for travelling to sacred places and coming together with family and friends after the hardships of winter. It is a time to discuss the state of the world, to share each other’s stories, songs, dances, ceremonies, economies, and, in short, to reconnect with all our relations.

Along the road to reconnection, we encounter the apologies for past wrongs, the calls to action for justice for those horrific wrongs, and promises for societal change – words that are often pushed to the wayside. It is time for all of us as individuals – not only those in positions of power – to pick up these words and translate them into the language of action to create the kind of world we want for our children seven generations hence.

The resolve to bring about a better world activates the teaching of Truth, to face the truth of Canadian history, as well as colonial histories everywhere: Truth comes before reconciliation. Truth also invokes the teachings of Bravery and Honesty. It takes bravery to look at ourselves and how we really live in society, and honesty to be willing to make the changes required for its betterment.

Looking at ourselves brings us the teaching of Love. We must first love ourselves before we can love others —those like ourselves, and also those who do not share our beliefs, traditions or background.

Love can accomplish wonders and brings us to the teaching of Respect — to understand that we owe respect to all Creation, even those beings whose purpose is still a mystery. Holding place for the unknown in our lives, the visible and invisible mysteries of the world, leads directly to the teaching of Humility. This is a very difficult teaching in this time of influencers, likes on social media, and yearnings for stardom…

At this time of the year, Mother Earth brings forth a powerful helper – the strawberry – who arrives just in time for this season of travels, gatherings, and renewal of relationships. Both food and medicine, the strawberry is shaped like a heart, and is red like our life-blood. This reminds us to speak and act with kindness in our hearts.

Lastly, we reach the teaching of Wisdom, where we know our place in the universe, and we have attained the capacity to be grateful to all our relations, to the Earth — our Mother who provides us with everything we need — and to the Creator, to be able to walk the Good Red Road of balanced lives.

Safe travels, and have a good summer, everyone!

This reflection was originally published June 21, 2023.

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