This is First Nations news from Canada and my reflection. I hesitate to share it because I am white, a United States citizen and it has been a very long time since anyone called me a … youth. I do share it with humility. Matthew Stevens is the source of my first learning of this event, as well as my teacher about the Idle No More Movement.
The news story: Youth from the James Bay Cree community of Whapmagoostui, Quebec, ended a 1,600-kilometre trek meant to bring attention to aboriginal issues. Six First Nations youths and a guide left Whapmagoostui in January to snowshoe and walk to Ottawa in support of the Idle No More movement. They called the trek “The Journey of Nishiyuu,” which means “The Journey of the People” in Cree. Other children and youth from Cree and Algonquin communities that welcomed them along the way joined the walk. Thousands more people were there on Monday, March 26, at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The group’s intent had been to meet with the prime minister, but Stephen Harper chose to fly to Toronto for a special ceremony to greet two Chinese pandas being taken to the Toronto Zoo.
Long Walk to Emmaus
(Luke 24: 13-35)
It is always a long walk to Emmaus.
Remember that meeting the holy
happens along the way
not at the end,
and telling the truth about what has happened
takes another journey.
So we thank God for these young people –
for their courage and their feet,
for the way their spirits
caught fire on the long miles.
And we thank God for hearts changed
in everyone who broke bread with them
along the journey.
Pandas never need forgiveness –
they are God’s cubs
who bring pleasure to children.
Of course, pandas cannot interpret
the signs of the times.
But for we who hear this story in all the world
something breaks, and we recognize —
which ones are companions with good news,
what tables welcome Nishiyuu.