Seeking Justice for Aboriginal Peoples: Associate Assembly Day
On March 8, 2014, 60 Associates and Sisters gathered for the CSJ Associate Assembly Day at 2 O’Connor Drive. Guest speaker Sister Priscilla Solomon, a Sister of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie, spoke on “Indigenous Issues, Spirituality and Current Justice.” Sister Priscilla is Ojibway which is part of the Anishinabek Nation.
Sister began her presentation on “The Medicine Wheel Way of Seeing.” The medicine wheel symbolizes the interconnection of all life, the various cycles of nature, and how life represents a circular journey, with the Creator in the center. In the afternoon, we reflected on “Seeking Justice for Aboriginal Peoples Today” and “Building a Relationship of Understanding and Reconciliation.” Small and large group sharing followed.
Sister Priscilla outlined actions we can take to help our Aboriginal brothers and sisters:
- Political and social elements are part of the spiritual; we need to speak out about economic and political injustices.
- We need to lift the stories off the page and allow them to be heard in heads and hearts.
- We need to be involved in having the stories recorded.
- Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal need to work together to host events in many communities for healing and education.
Following this presentation, Leah Watkiss, CSJ Program Director for Social Justice, Peace and Care of Earth, spoke to us about her ministry. Then Sister Virginia Varley outlined her vision of bringing interested parties together for a day to express their personal gifts of creativity.
The impact of the day was reflected in some of the Associates’ comments:
“Sister touched me greatly in her personal journey of integrating her Christianity with her Aboriginal Spirituality.” —Cheri Noordman
“Sister changed my whole perspective in how I see the Aboriginal people and their justice issues.” —Anne Doyle
“A lot of time it’s not a lack of compassion but a lack of knowledge that make us indifferent to social justice issues. Thank you, Sister Priscilla, for opening our minds and giving us the opportunity to listen, take in and trust and for making us aware.” —Debbie Scott
“Sister has deepened our respect for aboriginal spiritualism. The day was both thought provoking and insightful. May we pray for all Canadians to acknowledge the sins of our past and present so we can move forward, change the wrongs and heal. The purification ritual at the end was very powerful.” —Debbie Read
Speaker: Sister Priscilla Solomon
By Cheri Noordman
Pictures by Joanne Davies