This is an excerpt from Savvy Simon’s 2019 TedxHalifax presentation.
To Non-Indigenous people: want to help but don’t know were to begin?
Wela’lin; Thank you for even caring. The good news is, the issues that Indigenous face in this area are NOT Native issues, these are Canadian issues, which means it includes YOU. You CAN make a difference. You get to be a part of the solution, instead of the problem. Ignorance is a real problem.
So how can you make a difference being non-native?
- Educate yourself on First Nation Culture
- Visit our events, pow wows, gatherings
- Experience it. Visit a First Nation community, so you can speak from experience, not assumption or judgment. Get in touch with First Nations in your area
- Speak up when you see injustices
- Learn our languages. Check out #SpeakMikmaq online. Speak the native language of the land that you’re in. When we visit a tourist place, do we not learn key phrases while we’re there?
- Acknowledge the First Nation territory/land that you are on. Land acknowledgements as a part of opening remarks at events
- Be understanding and open-minded of our traditional ways
- Share what you learn with your children, grandchildren, parents, coworkers
- Listen; Jiksituwi
- Support Native businesses
- Honour the First Nation Status Card at your stores
- Help search for the missing & murdered Indigenous people in your area
- Be mindful of your approach when asking questions, we are NOT all Native History teachers so please don’t expect us to sit you down and educate you on everything Native. Being Native can be very exhausting. If you really want to learn from someone you admire, offer to compensate someone for their time and teachings, it could be money, native medicines like Sage, Sweetgrass, Tobacco, offer a meal, we love trade and barter!
- Be honest when you want to learn and say something like: “I don’t know a lot but I want to learn more and support.”
- Donate to any of the causes (some examples are: MMIW, Indian Residential Schools, Help keeping our Native Language alive, Protest Camps are always needing food & water)
- Search up the Truth & Reconciliation Commission on Google and take part in the recommendations
- Make friends with Natives, we’re a fun-loving bunch and you will end up making life long friendships
Savvy was recently part of Tedx Halifax, where she walked through the daily challenges First Nation people face and continue to overcome. A talk about perseverance, encouragement and action items for all North Americans to take away.
There is so much that can be done. TOGETHER. We can have allies and not agree on everything. We are not born racist, that happens with influence.
My Call to Action to you is: Do you want to be a part of the solution? I’m inviting YOU. Pick any one from the list and share your talents, strengths, brains, your heart.
To all of my Aboriginal brothers and sisters: I want to remind you that your walk is SUPER important. Your purpose, matters. You were created for a reason.
Your journey is YOUR journey – embrace that. HEAL. Take the time to heal and to FORGIVE.
An elder friend of mine Emmett Peters O’ was an Indian Residential School Survivor. While he was battling cancer, he shared a teaching with me that I want to share with you: to work on forgiveness, of self and others, before it’s too late. Don’t carry the anger and the hate. It’ll eat you up. We all miss him dearly.
Let’s continue to strive to be our best selves while connecting with like-minded, strong individuals, native or non-native; people who want to come together as allies, as friends, to make positive change in this world.
If you’re Indigenous, Inuit, Metis and you’re waking up, living your life, walking your purpose, give yourself a pat on the back, celebrate YOU! You’re doing awesome!
There’s so much we each face on a daily basis…so many traumas that we’ve been born into, that have become apart of our DNA. I know, there are many times that we don’t feel awesome and we get stuck in the dark. I feel you. I’m with you.
I want to remind you of our ancestors, who have walked before us, who have paved the way. Our grandparents, our parents, our mentors. you have what it takes.
Wela’lin: thank you in advance for taking action and being apart of the solution!
Savvy Simon is a mama who has a passion for greater health and happiness, and a love for the purity of essential oils & natural medicines. Connect with her @SavvyUnLtd.