Teaching from the assembly

A man in a beaded headdress with feathers holds up a painted turtle ratte as he speaks at a microphone.

In time to beats on a “little boy water drum”, Elder Kevin Deer of host nation Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, sang a song of prayer to open the Assembly of First Nations annual general meeting July 9.

He spoke of how the drum connects us to our mother and her mother and her mother.

“All the way back to our first mother, which is Mother Earth,” Deer said, holding up a turtle shell rattle.

“She gives up pure, unconditional love from the beginning of time,” he said, and she asks every day that we connect with her. “That she gives us love and we share that love back,” and that we be thankful every day.

“Because yesterday is history. Tomorrow’s a mystery. All we have is the power of now. And in the power of now we should cultivate love, peace…

“That sacred drum that you heard, there’s water in it because we dance to all of life. And when you hear that drum, that’s also our heartbeat. That’s a sacred dance. Your heart is expanding and contracting. Your lungs expanding and contracting. We are all sacred beings. We are Spirit forever. We come to this lower world for a short time and then we’re all going back… and that’s forever.”

Deer said the only reason we come to earth is to cultivate love, peace, friendship “and (during time on) this Turtle Island, this Mother Earth, that when we leave this place, hopefully, we can leave it in a better condition than when we received it.”