Keewatin- Tsilhqot’in- My Kokum and Her Land…
As a lawyer I am often asked to provide legal analysis or opinions on the law, setting it out and providing my razor sharp in-depth view of what the law is and how it applies to the issue, the issue being the question that needs answering for my client.
OK Razor sharp in-depth view, that is not humble at all. Actually, humble lawyer is what you call an oxymoron. I am kidding. Humble is my foundation. Well my Kokum’s foundation, I like to think she lives within me.
Recent Supreme Court decisions regarding the land have brought attention to the Anishinabe landscape and in that respect, I would like to tell you without any legal jargon, which is how I like to try and keep my articles, what the land means to me, an Anishinabe lawyer from the North, a great hunter/fishermen amongst his people, a great navigator and traveller, whose stories will be told and bannock making contests will be named after (just kidding about great hunter).
As you may have noticed the land is an obsession to me, an obsession not developed over time as I aged, but something within me, a passion and desire to need or want, a dream dreamt day and night, a thought that rises and sets with the sun.
The land I believe is an extension of all of us, a place of being to which we came, soon to be ashes spread and once fires burning, but always a part, in our past, present and future.
Recently, I have discovered that I have always missed the land, since I was a child I dreamt of the fire, I could smell and taste the campfire bannock, see the charred kettles over boiling with tea, prepared geese on sticks rolling just above the flame and my kokum slicing meat with the swift movements of an artist painting, a butcher never looked so gentle.
Nighttime was my favourite, when the calm spirits entered the land, sung us lullaby’s and told us stories of the North. Kokum would sing with them and her voice echoed throughout the land.
Loons and wolves would join often and in that moment was magic, a connection between this world and that one, doors opened just for a moment, a frightening event, when the shadows started tip-toeing along the tree-line. Gentle spirits are the dancing ones my kokum said, holding me in her arms.
So what is the land to me as an Anishinabe, a northern one? The land is my Kokum. Gentle, kind, caring, loving, but awesome in her power, a united front of grand-mothers who never left us but fulfilled their duties in this world by providing us with their teachings to protect a home they can be found, a home we can learn life’s greatest lessons. Land, Home, Kokum, no difference, but that is what my land means to me…
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