"Sheena, have you turned your radio off and are you able to hear the program through your phone?" the CBC producer asks.
"Yes," I say. My hands are shaking. I'm short of breath.
"Good, because you're next."
I've texted Andrea, Victoria and Michael. I'm next in line on Cross Country Checkup. Call Mom. I put down the cell phone and pray for a clear mind and the words I need to say.
And then I hear his voice. It's Rex Murphy. I'd know that cadence and intensity anywhere. He's introducing me, welcoming me to his show, and then asks me to speak.
I'm not sure what I say, I'm that nervous. I know I say something about unimplemented treaty being the biggest issue facing our MPs who are going to Ottawa tomorrow. I say this is the first time I've written to the Prime Minister, and I thank the leaders of Idle No More and Chief Theresa Spence who have helped me engage. I talk about being a white, settler Canadian descendant, how my people have been benefiting from treaty for generations, while our treaty partners have not benefited from treaty. I talk about First Nations leadership as treaty keepers, and note the CD Dan Bellegarde gave me called "Chief's Forum on Treaty Implementation." http://treatywalks.blogspot.ca/2013/01/listen-to-amazing-leadership-coming.html I hope I said something about this being a Canadian issue, not an Aboriginal issue, and if we are good in our relationships, the other things, like the economy, will right itself.
Then Rex asks me something about the economy and I say, "What? Here in Saskatchewan? Oh, that's way over my head." He tells me I'm honest and after some niceties, I think we hang up.
But, I'm not sure. Thank goodness Andrea heard me and we talked and she said I was just fine.
It's a little later, now, and my heart rate is back to normal. I'm in blogger mode.
I love the story in the old testament about Esther. A beauty pageant, followed by death threats, a calculated risk, irony, and eventually, a happy ending for the good guys. I love the phrase I borrow regularly, "For such a time as this." Esther's wise old uncle says, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)
Just to be clear. I'm not calling myself royal, and I certainly haven't won a beauty contest, ever! But I do feel that I've been prepared, as a white, settler descendant, newcomer-lately- to-Canada, for "such a time as this."
My treaty walks have helped me be ready to listen to the leaders of Idle No More. Listen to the Chief's Forum on Treaty Implementation. Listen to Chief Theresa Spence as she began and stepped down from her hunger strike. Listen to my First Nations friends in our Sunday Circle and at Fort Qu'Appelle's Community Outreach. My treaty walks have prepared me to listen, and today, on CBC's Cross Country Checkup, to speak up.