The Man and the Ravens: An Anishinable Teaching

December 23, 2018

Misunderstandings can arise.

RRaven

 

I like this medicine.

The Man and the Ravens
Anishinabe
Native American Lore

There once was a man that enjoyed watching the black Raven’s fly around, play, squawk, and chatter. He enjoyed them so much he would climb trees just to be closer to them. For many months the Ravens ignored the man, but after awhile, one of the Ravens flew from a nearby tree and landed directly next to the man.

In utter amazement, the bird spoke to the man and asked, “You have been watching us for a long time. You have tried to get close to us. Why do you do this?”

The man replied, “I mean no harm. I have become enchanted with you and all your relatives. I enjoy the play, the squawking, and I wish I could learn your language so I could understand more about you.”

Then the Raven responded, “We are honored that you want to know us, as long as you do not cause harm, we will teach you our language.”

For many months the Ravens taught the man all about the language and how the Ravens lived from day to day. The man became so educated that he knew everything there was to know about the Ravens. Many of the Ravens saw the man and accepted him as a friend.

One day, an older Raven was flying far over the man, dropped a walnut perfectly on the man’s head. It was done on purpose and all the Ravens almost fell off their branches laughing so hard the way they do. One Raven was flying and was laughing so hard he had to crash land right in front of the man.

The man was feeling bad and was hurt by being made fun of, so he asked the Raven in front of him, “Why are you all picking on me?”

The Raven stopped laughing and became very serious. “We thought you understood us, but apparently you don’t. If you did you would know that we are not mocking you… well maybe a bit, but it is done in our way of having fun. We are ‘playing’ with you and that is all. It is not to be taken seriously. You should know us better.”

The man took sometime to understand this and over time a few more practical jokes were played on the man and he in turn pulled a few “good ones” on the birds. A good time was had by all and the man became even closer to the Ravens.

Then another event occurred. A young Raven swooped out of the sky and pecked the man on the head. Then another young Raven swooped down and did the same thing. The man ran across the field and into the woods but the Ravens kept chasing him and very skillfully they flew at high speeds through the woods tormenting the man. Finally the two stopped and started to yell mean words, fighting words at the man.

Again the man did not understand, but he knew the two Ravens were very mad at him, so he decided to leave and let the Ravens be. The man went away for many months.

As he did his duties in the his tribal village, he told all the people about his adventures and what he learned about the Ravens. Some listened with intent, others just thought the man was a fool to study the Ravens so. The villagers gave the man a new name of “Black Feather” because of his close relationship to the birds, but the man objected and said, “I am no longer close to the Raven people.”

From above there was a squawking sound of a single Raven. Some of the people looked up and were surprised that they could understand the Raven, others just looked around because they could hear nothing but squawking. The Raven was speaking to the man and said, “It is true, you are closer to us than any Anishinabe (Human) has ever come. You are close, but you still don’t understand us fully. I invite you to return to us, many miss you.”

Black Feather started to follow the Raven but then stopped at the edge of the village. He looked around to make sure no other Anishinabe could hear then asked the Raven, “why do you ask me back when the two Ravens where fighting with me and were mean?”

The Raven landed at Black Feathers feet and said, “See how little you understand us. The two young Ravens did not fight with you because you are Anishinabe, it is because they accepted you as a member of the Raven people. You should know that we fight among ourselves too. It is a part of our way of life. Instead of sulking and leaving you should have fought back.”

Black Feather stood in silence and said, “There is much about Ravens I don’t understand. Maybe we are too different people to ever understand each other. I should stop and return to my people in the village.”

The Raven again shook his head and told Black Feather, “That is your choice, but again I tell you that you have come closer to us Raven people than any other Anishinabe. Would you throw this all away just because you can’t understand us yet?”

Black Feather responded, “It’s useless, how can I ever understand you, I can’t even fly!”

A thousand bursts of laughter was heard from all the surrounding trees and Black Feather knew that all the Raven People were there, hiding and listening.

“Of course you can’t fly. You are Anishinabe and we are Ravens. But we accept you as one of us. We play with you. We fight with you. We love you and want you back. We also recommend you don’t try to fly in order to be like us, because then, you would not be Anishinabe nor a Raven but something else. We like you as an Anishinabe that understands us as Ravens. Join us or not the decision is yours.”

Black Feather returned to the Anishinabe village and bid everyone farewell because he had decided to live with the Raven people. After all the farewells and such he started to leave the village. All the Anishinabe people were there to see him off, and high over head was a thousand Raven’s.

Then from high above one of the older Ravens dropped a walnut shell and again with remarkable aim, plunked Black Feather right on the head. All the Ravens started laughing hard and all the Anishinabe were laughing too.

Black Feather laughed and looked up at the old Raven and said, “Good one.”

Charles Phillip Whitedog

http://www.ilhawaii.net/~stony/lore108.html

Wrapt in Raven #2, Crystal Nielsen, 2014

 

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Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

December 7, 2018

Image result for chesterton

The rich are the scum of the earth in every country.G. K. Chesterton 1874 – 1936 


Focus on the greatest goal you can imagine — your needs will be provided for.

December 7, 2018

How are we to live our lives?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:25-33 Sermon on the Mount

***

Aim high and live in the present | Jordan Peterson

Springwater Park was conceptualized as my highest goal.


The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell

November 30, 2018

 

*****

 

 

 

 


I worked with Jim Dumont at Springwater Park in 2013.

November 27, 2018

I will never forget.

Onaubinisay at the 2018 Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto.


Dr. John Bacher writes: Retired Provincial Planner Victor Doyle Wins Victory at Crucial Time

November 13, 2018

An important article for several Simcoe County issues.

JohnBacherPhD.ca
November 12, 2019

Retired Provincial Planner Victor Doyle Wins Victory at Crucial Time
Dr. John Bacher

At a crucial time when the land use planning policies he forged under three different parties over 25 years are under attack by the newly elected government of Premier Doug Ford, veteran land use planner Victor Doyle won a major victory. It is of great significance which may help in reversing a planned assault on Sothern fragile ecosystems. They are imperilled from a proposed loosening of land use planning regulations. This threat was announced with great fanfare at a November 8, 2018 meeting at Toronto’s MacDonald block, which was supposedly on the Ontario Growth Plan.

On October 27th, 2018, the Public Service Grievance Board of Ontario, ruled in Doyle’s favour in response to a grievance he had filed with it in response to his dramatic demotion. Doyle went from effectively directing land use planning in Ontario to studying the cars of the distant future. The Grievance Board ruled that that this action by the provincial government was a breach of “duty of procedural fairness.”

Doyle spoke out to the Globe and Mail in May 2017, when the Cabinet, responding to what Doyle found were inaccurate claims by developers, was debating land use policy changes. Developers’ apologists claimed that the province’s policies were creating a residential land shortage and driving up housing prices. Such rhetoric, although at odds with reality, was building up pressure to gut land use planning controls. Doyle responded using a barrage of well documented facts to show there was a massive oversupply of such lands. He warned the province to appease developers was risking “unsustainable sprawl, congestion and skyrocketing infrastructure costs.”

Although in the end the Cabinet did not back down, Doyle was punished for speaking out. He was sealed away in a manner to reduce his influence on the public service. Doyle was put alone on a floor in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) Bay Street building. He was denied access to normal digital information sources available to public servants. No other Ministry employees were given offices on his floor. Several months before his scheduled retirement he was told to confine his duties to research driverless cars.

Part of Doyle’s effectiveness is that he would work closely with respected native elders, notably the Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, Danny Beaton, with whom he met in a Toronto gym. Beaton gave him sacred teachings on natural law, such as the need to respect water from the abuses of the earth. One such meeting followed Beaton’s shocking encounter with a cruel slashing of an old growth forest at French’s Hill/Waverley Uplands.

Mohawk Elder Danny Beaton: the scale of the original maples at Waverley Uplands, Apr 2015.

The French’s Hill Forest of great Sugar Maples is on top of an aquifer which contains the world’s purest water. Following Beaton’s traumatic encounter with destruction, Doyle lectured Simcoe County officials over their dangerous contempt for the sacredness of the natural world.

Working with Beaton, Doyle emerged as the guardian of what the Mohawk elder called the Peacemaker’s World. Doyle stood up to powerful corporations such as the Geranium, with its plans to dangerously ring the Minesing Wetlands with 10,000 new homes in Midhurst. This threatens to unleash a flood of polluted storm water onto a wetland which is a refuge for rare wild species. These include Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, the Sturgeon, the Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, Bald Eagle, and several turtle species, now all designated as species at risk.

Doyle’s warnings of an assault on threatened wildlife from sprawl are especially relevant in the context of the supposed consultation now underway on the Growth Plan. At the MacDonald Block Forum a disturbing proposal was made by developers’ agents. This was that a large area of Class One and Two farmland between the Green Belt and the urban zoning boundary of Greater Toronto have a change in designation. All references to agricultural value would be swept away and the area designated under the Growth Plan as an “Urban Reserve.”

Doyle’s warnings to the press sounded an alarm against the proposed rapid urbanization of what planners call the White Belt. Doyle warned that water quality in streams in this area was at risk of contamination which would kill wildlife such as fish, turtles and frogs.

What makes Doyle’s courage in standing up so heartening today is the way the October 8th Macdonald Block Forum was packaged. The facilitator appeared to be the auctioneer at a fire sale of land use planning policies, rather than part of the public service. She indicated that all of the facilitators were members of the Ontario Public Service, OPS. There were at least 23 such OPS facilitators in the Room, since my own designated Table was Number 23.


(l) Author Dr. John Bacher and Mohawk Elder Danny Beaton at Waverley Uplands clear-cut. Sept 2015.

Considering the ecocidal reputation of Sir John A. MacDonald it was appropriate that the Growth Plan consultation should be held in government building named for him. The worst of the formal government proposals actually had nothing to do with the Growth Plan. They have to do with the proposed abolition of the requirement in the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) under the Planning Act that urban boundary expansions only be permitted every five years under a comprehensive municipal review.

The whole premise of the MacDonald Block circus was residential land shortages which Doyle’s writings carefully denied. The ten- second pleas to the Minister of MMAH had little to do with the Growth Plan. One plea was to abolish the Niagara Escarpment Commission, a backbone of the Greenbelt. Another was to abolish the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal. Thrown into the toxic mess was a call to have wetland offsetting, opening up for destruction some of the most important habitats for vanishing wildlife species in southern Ontario.

The backward thinking of the MacDonald Block Growth Plan Forum coming from a building named after a Prime Minister who arrested and hanged Cree chiefs and elders should be a warning signal to those in the OPS who care about ecosystems and wildlife threatened by sprawl. Let us hope that more follow Doyle’s path and work with native spiritual leaders and speak out in defense of Mother Earth.


Sunday November 11: Remembrance Day at Springwater Park, by AWARE SIMCOE

November 7, 2018

By Aware SIMCOE and Ontario Parks.

Ontario Parks is honoured to have this WW1 cenotaph in Springwater.

Originally erected in honour of “The Vespra Boys” from Vespra Township who sacrificed so much in the First World War.

Springwater Park was the location of Remembrance Day ceremonies from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.

In 2012 community volunteer groups came forward in a significant way.

Wayne Cameron organized the first Remembrance Day ceremony in the park in over 50 years and continues to do so annually.

Remembrance Day Ceremony – All Welcome!

Sunday – November 11

This year is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and signing of the Armistice on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour.

Springwater Provincial Park provides the most peaceful, serene, and natural backdrop for a solemn ceremony of this kind.

No parking admission required.

Assembling at 10:00 a.m.

We welcome veterans and community groups or individuals to join us as we honour the Springwater Park Cenotaph for the Vespra Boys.

Please contact MC Wayne Cameron at 416-948-5637 or wl.cameron@sympatico.ca if you would like to play a role in the day.


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