Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a path to a Truth we choose to ignore,
a truth that exists in the past,
a truth that exists in the future,
a truth that is beyond time
and the limitations of the human mind,
a truth that reveals the mind of the Great Spirit
who declares we are all sisters and brothers
who share the same Father Sky
who share the same Mother Earth.
We are all loved by the same heart
who knows how to love and bestows that love
on each of us,
on all of us,
just because we are family.

So when you laugh, I will laugh with you.
When you cry, I will cry with you.
When your children suffer,
and you suffer with them,
my children and I will suffer,
and we will suffer with you,
and with them.
Together we will let our tears flow
to wash away all that is and all that was.

But we cry not out of defeat.
We cry not out of pity,
not even out of pity for ourselves.
We weep because, “It is just not fair.”
The sacred child in us cries because
“It’s just not fair.”
This game that is not a game,
“is just not fair.”
The women who die needlessly on the Road of Death,
“It’s just not fair.”
The children who die alone a thousand miles from home,
“It’s just not fair.”
The young women who stand on street corners in our cities,
“It’s just not fair.”
The young men who sit forsaken in prisons,
“It’s just not fair.”

So we must insist we all play by the same rules,
rules that we can all abide by
because they have been written
by the mind we all can share,
the mind that is in all of us,
the mind that knows all things,
the mind that knows when things
“Are just not fair!”

It is knowing that to really love
we must love ALL our brothers and sisters
regardless of who they are and what they do,
“just because.”
We must support our black and brown brothers and sisters,
”just because.”
We must stand on the sidelines and cheer for each other,
“just because.”
And when our name is called, we must go to bat for each other,
“just because.”
We must share our resources, all our resources,
“just because.”
And we must give our time, our energy, and our love,
“Just because,”
until together we are the people we want to be,
free of hate,
free of injustice,
free of the chains that bind,
brothers and sisters reconciled
after a nighttime of darkness,
walking in light together again,
walking in compassion together again,
so each of us can say to the Great Spirit:

“I have passed the test.
I have learned how to love.”

The noun reconciliation comes from the Latin root words re, meaning “again,” and concilare, meaning “to make friendly.” To reconcile refers to the restoration of friendly relations, the action of making one view or belief compatible with another, and the action of making financial accounts consistent and in harmony. Let’s take a look at these three points taking into account some characteristics such as understanding, compromise, and agreement.

If we look at restoration of friendly relations, it takes a bit of historical gymnastics. Did we ever have friendly relationships? Yes, of course, some of us did. The French during the years of the fur trade tried to establish friendly relationships but that was mainly for business reasons – we were partners. However, we never really thought of indigenous people as equals. They were part of a resource that needed to be exploited. We never respected them as having valid social structures and religious beliefs. In fact the religious missionaries that followed the fur trade looked on indigenous people as heathens who were somewhat less than human. As we began to expand as a white nation comprised of English and French, indigenous people were thought of as merely backward and uncivilized groups of humans that had to be controlled and removed from the land to allow for white settlements and separated from the resources so they could be developed by white businesses. In the years that followed, we isolated them and when they moved into white settlements we tried to change them into white people with white customs, religions, and social practices. So reconciliation is not really the appropriate term. We really have to start all over again.

If we wish to make our views and beliefs compatible we have a lot of work to do. First of all we have to let our indigenous communities rediscover and revive some of their cultural heritage and redefine themselves. We are not much better in this regard. We too have to look at our cultural heritages, our blending of peoples from many races and ethnic groups, and define ourselves as a nation. Once we have established who we are and who we want to be, we can then get to work on blending our two cultures. Let’s be clear, they are not just another group that has to blend into the bigger picture. They are the true people of this land and in some ways we are the invasive species who have moved to this place to establish an aggressive form of prosperity. And look at what that has brought us to. Our social and economic structures are a mess. We need to rethink what we can do to make this country a place where everyone can be themselves and contribute to our overall identity in a sane and compassionate way. To do that, we may have to listen to the indigenous peoples who in many ways are the guardians of the land itself.

The third factor is making financial accounts consistent. Let’s begin with the fact that this was their land before we came and stole it from them. I often hear the argument that we were the victors and as such we won the right to control the land and its resources. But even though that argument appears to be true when we look at the long injustices of the spoils of war, that does not make it right. It was their land and we created treaties where we knowingly took advantage of a people who were not aware of the consequences of their decisions, and knowing they were powerless to do anything about them. It is time to make things right, to reconcile. That means we reconcile this injustice and make financial resources available to enable them to become partners in the land and its resources. That includes making decisions on what is right and ethical according to their understanding and connections with the land itself.
In conclusion, if we create a system of friendly relations, make our views or beliefs compatible, and take action to reconcile financial accounts, while keeping in mind the desire to understand, compromise, and seek agreement, we can create a new and better society where all our citizens can feel they are an equal part of our great nation.