On the road to inclusiveness

Yesterday an imposing, inspirational and emotional ceremony was celebrated in a tent on the grounds of Government House in Fredericton, the capital city of New Brunswick. Graydon Nicholas was installed as the Province's first Lieutenant-Governor from a First Nations* background. He had previously been the first aboriginal person in Atlantic Canada to both obtain a law degree and be appointed as a judge.
This is an individual known for his integrity, honour and humility. Recognition of the widespread affection and respect for this gentleman was evident in the tears, smiles and exuberant applause punctuating this normally solemn ceremony. I am often proud to be a citizen of this nation. Yesterday was one of those times.

The type of leadership that can be expected may be discerned from the fact that the new L.G. chose to close his address with a prayer by Chief Dan George:

O great spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, Whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me.

I need your strength and your wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hand respect the things that you have made, and my ear sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand the things that you have taught my people.

Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me.

Let me learn the lessons hidden under every leaf and rock.

Help me seek pure thoughts and act with the intention of helping others.

Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.

I seek strength not to be greater than my brothers and sisters, but to fight my greatest enemy - Myself.

Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so that when life fades as the fading sunset my spirit will come to you without shame.


* For our friends from elsewhere, "First Nations" is a term of deference used in Canada for peoples who elsewhere might be known as aboriginals or Indians. It is used as a recognition that such peoples had a strong, complex and vibrant culture prior to European contact and, as such, they are worthy of a place of respect and distinction in Canadian society.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful prayer.
Chief Joseph is another person whose words inspire me.
How far we have travelled from wanting to be at one with the natural world.
This seems an excellent choice of leader.
The US sometimes seems so horribly driven by the almighty dollar.
I have terribly mixed feelings about it.
(We left for 2 years under Bush)......

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