Valerie’s Voice in La Ronge

I am re-writing this column on International Women’s Day (IWD) and thinking of the many women who have influenced my life over the years.

Women bring the caring and healing to our lives and the life of our earth around us. We are the caregivers, the healers, the teachers of compassion, traditionally.

That is not always celebrated as we are also forced to live in an environment that doesn’t respect those attributes. But today we celebrate the achievements, the attributes, the richness that women bring to the world.

Carolyn McDade, an amazing woman of song, who has taken music into every walk of life, into countries in turmoil and encouraged people to stand up against tyranny, tyranny against each other, and against the land on which we live. I am privileged to sing her music with her and other women online now and it’s gives me hope and deep sustenance in my Spirit.

As I travel down the highway, there’s a deep grief to see our forest on the back of trucks travelling south. I’m filled with questions like, what is it that makes people, governments, but they are made up of people and people vote them into a decision-making place, what is it that keeps them from seeing what they are doing to the land? Most of those people making decisions about the forest in northern Saskatchewan have never been here.

And then I travel deeper into the local forest and come to a camp; a youth survival camp. And I see people teaching and learning about the bush. These people are happy to be in the bush. The adults know how to live in the bush. They know how to mix some of that knowledge with tools and skills to make the bush a healthy, lovely, safe place to be. These people know and respect the value of the bush around them.

They know about the many layers of life in the bush and are happy to share their knowledge with the young people who come for a few hours to learn. Whatever they do, it’s sheer enjoyment and ones feels a peace there. And I’m thankful they are there.

Today we celebrate the achievements of women. I may have written this before, but I remember an event I attended years ago, Barbara Coloroso, and author and educator, who has taught children and celebrated the lives of children with her work, books and education.

Her message: the most important thing to teach our children – Compassion.

Compassion for ourselves, compassion for those we have in our care.

But that compassion needs to go further. Compassion for the people around us, and compassion for the earth we live on.

And the teachings I hear from Elders in my community about the importance and strength of women, the life givers, the wise ones.s

Why are we so focused on destruction of our beautiful earth?

We have been given this beautiful home to live with such an amazingly rich environment. Some say we have everything to sustain life and yet we chose to destroy.

Today I am thankful for the many women in my life and will celebrate the richness and care and achievements of women in my community and throughout the world.

Let us take a leaf out of the book of many women and stand for a healthy life, home and home for our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

Happy IWD!