Algonquin Elder Albert “South Wind” Dumont shared an opening prayer at the first Niigaan forum in March, 2013. Below, reproduced with his permission, is a recent post from his website.
At a time of spiritual meditation
I am sometimes drawn
To point my face towards the sun
My eyes tightly shut
Still, through closed eyes
I see all the colours
Of a magnificent sunrise before me
Like the fire within the fire
The heart and spirit of the day
I see it
My childhood years and my years as a young adult were years when my spirit did not sing and dance when the eagle appeared in the sky. I denied my spirit a chance to sing for I was, at that time, on my way to becoming an assimilated Indian. I was lost. I did not stand proud as a sober Algonquin. I drank excessively and in doing so, brought heartache and tears to all who loved me. Had I continued as I was, I would either have died young in some kind of violent confrontation over foolishness or I would surely have slid into a city gutter as a hopeless and desperate alcoholic. But with the help of my ancestors I slowly regained my identity as an Anishinabe Inini (First Peoples Man). With it I discovered spirituality and with the blessings of Great Spirit by my side, I found my life of sobriety.
If the people who hoped to rob me of my true purpose of life had been successful, then today I would be an assimilated drunkard crawling in the sewer of rotgut, searching in its stench for something impossible to find there. In such a state I would not be regarded as a threat to corporations and governments who seek to rape my ancestral lands of their riches until there is nothing left on them but sand.
This land of the Algonquins was always fertile and great in natural resources. The riches on the land were not installed into it by Europeans or by anyone else who came here from a far away continent. The resources held by the land will remain where they are. If my voice has a say in it, the land will always be healthy. The next generations are counting on us to defend the land.
Whenever the opportunity arises I will dare to speak of my love for my family, my people, my land, and I will do so without fear and without concern for how superior-minded people react to it.
Keep the Circle Strong,
Albert “South Wind” Dumont.