Vanessa Pejovic | July 24, 2019
Dr. Andrew Judge spoke last Saturday in a Common Waters talk titled “Jii Bmoseynah Nokomis Gii B'Mosed - I am Walking in the Footsteps of my Grandmother.” Afterwards, I went home feeling moved and overwhelmed. I told my husband that I didn’t know how I could distill those three hours into a meaningful blog post. My brain (and heart) needed time to digest.
And here I am.
The theme of these Common Waters events revolves around water – its literal and figurative place in our lives. As I’m discovering, conversations about water are inevitably connected to conversations about many other things.
Andrew is a confident and relatable speaker. Funny, perceptive, and clearly passionate about choosing to live his life in a way that honours his ancestors, the Earth, and community.
His talk progressed, in a way, as a series of loose ends: stories about memory, about dreams, about higher levels of consciousness. About responsibility, respect, gratitude, and what it means to hold something sacred.
I learned about the seven sacred teachings in many Indigenous cultures: love, respect, honesty, bravery, humility, wisdom and truth. They apply not only to our interactions with one another but also with the Earth and the spirit world. It takes a lifetime to study them, to absorb them, to live them.
As I understand it, this process begins with these key acts (among others): listening and remembering. Though spirituality is an integral part of the Indigenous view, I think these skills apply regardless of whether we identify as spiritual individuals. Regarding the Earth, our only home: Are we paying attention to what the land and water are telling us? Are we mindful of the clues that indicate nature’s balance has been disrupted? Are we acting and moving in harmony with nature instead of conquering and manipulating it? Are we absorbing and applying the knowledge inherent in the land and our ancestors to move forward in a sustainable way?
It would be impossible, in this post, to explore all the teachings introduced in Andrew’s talk (that will be an ongoing personal project). The gist, in my mind, is this: the water on this Earth – dynamic, life-giving, beautiful, frightening, powerful, and necessary – is the same as the blood pumping through our veins. We are, quite literally, made of it. We need to remember this. We need to choose to remember this.
How we treat our water is how we treat ourselves.
Thanks to the Common Waters team and to Andrew for the opportunity to observe and participate in these important conversations.
Vanessa Pejovic, July 23, 2019