Saturday, February 23, 2013

Everything is One and Connected

                                      Hišukʔišc̓awaak: Everything is One and Connected:

Imagine if you will a beautiful summer day, a long dustyroad, a river bank, evergreens, a clear blue sky and eagles, eagles everywhere.Sometimes nature inspires so much that it will transform metaphysically intoour very being, our emotions, our life lessons and even our spirit. This is onesuch story!

My story begins thirty years ago, the summer of 1983 I had just turned eleven, and on one of my many journeys to the homelands we had asurprise of a life time. There were eagles, eagles everywhere, and If there everwas an awe inspiring time, an defining moment in my life I would have to saythis was defiantly one of them.

My story actually begins before I was even born in the time of my father’s childhood, and that was a very different time on the west coast of Vancouver Island. McMillan/Blodell was a forestry giant an Icon in the logging industry. Sadly their forest practices had much to be desired, and were based out of greed. They logging company pillaged the old growth forests for all that they were worth. Causing devastation in their wake with unsustainable practices, where they would clear cut entire estuaries without a second thought.

It was those unsustainable practices that proved beyond a shadow of doubt, an ancient belief of my people, the Nuu-chah-nulth, and the principle of hišukʔiš c̓awaak “Everything is one and connected”. For theclear cut practices of the ̣1950s left devastation in the form of river damage.So much so that salmon did not return to spawn at that river for decades. No salmon, no food means no predators for salmon is a staple food for all life forms. It also meant that there were no eagles in my homelands

That’s what made that faithful day so defining, I think, apart of my father’s passion and admiration for the eagle was born out of its absence. For decades they did not go home, my father a born fisherman knew the significance of this great bird of prey, and its role in our environment. There was nothing we could do but wait, and the wait was over. The eagles returned,the salmon returned, the spawning season had returned, and that is a great sign of life for all living creatures on the west coast

So back to my story we drive a long gravel road destination Bamfield, and portions of that road run alongside the river bank. My father filled with joy and excitement says to me “Look son, look at the eagles, eagles are everywhere” he was so happy. We stopped and it was impossible to count exactly how many there were, but there were dozens of eagles. They were everywhere, Circling high in the sky, perched in the evergreens, and at the river bank for spawning season is a great sign of life for all living things.

My father sang, and he sang he was so inspired by the bountyof life, that I could see that his spirit was thriving with hope. The return of the Eagle it was that moment that I witnessed transformation, and his spirit bonded with the eagle. That became his spirit power,and every time I sing this song I do so with great pride and fond memories of that faithful day. I had never before witness a song come to life before my very eyes It was something I believe I needed to see at that point of my life.Songs are inherent and before that day I thought they came from a long, longtime ago. I now know that songs are of the spirit and if you are open to songs they are open to you.

Aside from the spiritual awakening my grandfather sat me down for this was a teachable moment if there ever was one. He said look around grandson and tell me everything you see. I tell my him I seethe same thing we all see eagles, the eagles are everywhere. The eagles at the river, I see them in the trees and circling in the sky above and there all eating fish. He says good boy, I will tell you now, what is unseen, they are indeed eating fish, they are feasting, and they not only feed themselves they feed mother nature.

Animals do not all sit at a table together and eat as we humans do, the young and less dominant eagles will go off to eat in seclusion, for survival, for if they do not their dinner will likely be taken by a more dominant eagle. In doing this going off into seclusion to eat, they feed all living things, for the waste of their food is not waste at all. It nurtures the soil, it feeds the trees, and the trees feed the world air. everything is one and connected hišukʔišc̓awaak

This is what my father had decided this song will sing a bout, and I love this song, it is now my song, and that’s how this event transformed into my very being, into my heart and into my spirit for I do love to sing and this song will live on. Songs are spiritual and live well beyond our physical life, they are just as our rights and responsibilities are, they are INHEIRANT. Remember the rights we have are also responsibilities, and remember hišukʔišc̓awaak, Everything is one and connected.

The words in this song are no coincidence the song says:
ḥayu qumł c̓ixʷatin “There are many eagles” (Implied at the river bank)
ḥayu qumł mataas c̓ixʷatin “many eagles perched in the tree”
ḥayu qumł citqʷaa c̓ixʷatin “Many eagles circling in the sky”

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