Wednesday, February 6, 2013

To Be Our Real Selves

I walk into the kitchen, just home from school. Arwen has her little backpack all ready. DS, notebook, paper, books. The phone rings. "Where were you today, Sheena?" Elizabeth's voice is strong, almost accusing."Why didn't you get someone to cover your classes? We missed you at the walk."

"I couldn't come. Had two exams. No. I just couldn't get away."

Elizabeth is laughing now, and I'm catching on she's teasing me.

"We're going in tonight," I say.

"If we had a car, we'd be going in too."

Michael didn't sleep much last night, and when I go to check on him upstairs, he's crashed. Moira's sound asleep on the couch, not feeling well either. Char can't find a sitter, so it's just Arwen and I pulling on our jackets to head into Regina's Idle No More Global Day of Action rally at the Centre of the Arts.

I phone Elizabeth. "I have room for three."

The roads are good. The night is not too cold. Keitha's in the front with me.

"You're not telling all our family secrets," I say to Arwen who is chatting up a storm with Leon and Elizabeth in the backseat. They are encouraging her stories, adding details, telling stories in return.

We park in the snowy parking lot and sign in to the Schumiatcher Hall, enter our names for door prizes. Leon is tying eagle feathers into Keitha and Elizabeth's hair, into his own hair. "Sheena, will you wear one?" he says.

"If it's appropriate," I say.

"Of course it is," says Keitha. "You are family."

Leon smiles. Ties the feather into my hair.

We sit near the back and Howie Thomson is emceeing, sprinkling wisdom and wit, like salt and pepper, as he teases and shares, introducing and reflecting.

Speaker after speaker is given ten minutes to share their insights, encouragement, challenge, or story in the Idle No More movement. There are songs and drumming. There are postal workers and lawyers. There are elders and children.

I am honoured to sit beside Keitha. Arwen is on Keitha's other side, beside Leon.

Doorprizes are being announced and Leon says, "Arwen. It's Arwen." Elizabeth and Leon are waving the ticket. Arwen is hiding her chin in her coat.

"Elizabeth, go with her," I say, hiding behind Keitha.

Arwen comes back with a Tim Horton's gift card.

We run into friends from the Fort, Michelle, Philip and his mom; Kate and Daisy, too. We line up for a picture with our We Are All Treaty People sign.

Then we're on the road, with a stop at Tim's in the East, and lots and lots of laughing down the Trans Canada Highway.

As Arwen and I drive up our lane, she says, "I'm usually not able to be my real self around people."

Maybe that's what Idle No More is all about. Helping us find our voices, take a trip together, be our real selves.



Where Will You Be Today for Global Day of Action?
Idle No More

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