The Dream Catcher
I had a dream the other night. I was a little boy again. There I was, on the land back up on the James Bay coast. I could see the clear water of the Attawapiskat River below and the deep blue sky above with the burning yellow sun as white clouds sailed by. Then I lifted off the ground and flew south with the Niska, a flock of Canada geese. I could see the rivers and thousands of the lakes below me as I soared over the mushkeg and dense pine forests. As I flew it seemed that I was being transported through time and into the future. I recalled growing up in my community with my family and friends. I remembered travelling on the land in our huge freighter canoes during spring, summer and fall. I recalled the many snowmobile trips on the endless white expanse of ice on James Bay. There were sad visions of distressed neighbours, hopeless teens, destroyed lives, destitute realities everywhere.
Suddenly, I was lost in a blizzard swirling around me. I was still flying but I had no idea where I was, whether I was going up or down, or left, or right. I had to give myself over to the elements and to Mother Earth.
Then again, suddenly I had landed in a northern city. Here I recalled my first visits out of my tiny remote community to the so-called civilized south. I remembered so many of the good people I met on my way through high school in Timmins and North Bay at a time when I felt oppressed and confused. Then I was up again, and flying further south. As I flew I felt myself ageing and all of my experiences rushed by me in a stream.
I noticed the sky darken as though a heavy force had come onto the land. I saw people going off to war in far away lands. I saw smoke and oil rushing into the skies, the water and the earth. There were people in the streets raising their voices but being beaten back. The animals and birds were weak and falling away.
As I soared over the cities and towns all across our vast country of Canada, I saw people crying as the land was torn up. There was money and gold flowing down the streets and highways and pushing people aside and suffocating Mother Earth.
I found myself in the corridor of a huge government building. I yelled out but my voice was so faint in this vast place. There were pictures of our history on the walls but most of the doors were shut. I could hear people making plans but I saw thousands on the outside with no voice. I felt helpless. I thought of all those times in history where so the few of the ruling class had decided that the only true religion had to do with money and power. Sadly I realized the time had come again for the high priests of money.
The faces of brave women and men who stood up for freedom and fairness in world history rushed by. Everything went dark and a familiar sensation came over me and I realized I was back in a recurring dream. This was a dream I had as a boy where I was trapped in a dark place where I could see no light nor hear no sound. The darkness pressed up against me and I felt the world closing in on me. To break free now, I flew out of this grand building of stone and mortar. I flew as far as I could up into the sky towards the stars.
All I wanted to do was get away from this place and all the pain I could see as the high priests of money shouted out their orders. Their shouts emanated from silver tongues recanting the promises made over so many years. As I hurtled through the dark, I noticed a light back on the land. I rushed through the air to the glow of a dim flame. As I neared I could see it was a camp fire and it drew me back to an island on a river. I approached a strong fire and I walked right up close to its heart and knelt before it. Then a peace came over me and I was happy, relieved and comforted by the smiling face of Chief Theresa Spence.
She sat in the glow of the grandfather stones and basked in the hopeful smoke as good spirits lifted her voice far and wide over the land.
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