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Sharing at the Core

Cindy and I met on the couch to watch the final Zoom talk in the 4 Seasons of Indigneous Learning workshop we joined last year. The speaker was teacher and author Dr. Niigaan Sinclair who talked about the need to put Indigenous culture and teaching at the centre of the major issues facing North Americans today. He made a strong case for Indigenous practices to help our children out of the climate crisis, the wealth gap and the divisiveness of public discourse.

It was a compelling talk. What struck me the most is his emphasis on core Indigenous values -- sharing, kindness, generosity, empathy and connection. He actually cited those specific values; all things that I've emphasized as I try to grow and live better. I feel I overuse these words, especially empathy and connection, in my struggle to understand the emotions and ideas within me. It was so comforting to hear someone else, in a different field with completely different experiences, use these terms in such a matter-of-fact manner. What I think of as new and weird (and exciting and powerful), he described as obvious and self-evident. That got me.

Dr. Sinclair has a new book out next week, Wînipêk: Visions of Canada from an Indigenous Centre. It's a series of essays about Indigenous resilience, past, present and future, centred on Winnipeg (the city and the watershed.) I'm excited to read it to help me learn, to hope and to take action.

book cover of Wînipêk: Visions of Canada from an Indigenous Centre by Niigaan Sinclair. Source: Penguin Random House Canada.