Healing words appropriate

Re: Chilliwack progress February 15, 2011 letter by Sandi Van Eysinga (Some may find art offensive)

I was shocked, appalled, and saddened to read Sandi Van Eysinga’s letter.

Her letter was full of untrue facts, ignorance and racism. When she says ”I really have to wonder why they decided to commission aboriginal artwork by local artists and include them in these public facilities”, my answer is that we are on Sto:lo traditional territory. If Ms. Van Eysinga would have taken the time to enquire about this art she would have learned that the subject is a healing wheel that features five Halkomelem healing words which are plainly printed on the art itself:

L;haw: to heal, to be healed

Aylexw: to live, live well, be well

Tamexw: to hope, to have hope

Xholmet: to care, to care for someone

Sayem: to be strong

Who can be angry to have those wonderful words hanging in a hospital? These words are very fitting. When she accuses First Nations peoples of worshipping idols and in effect saying that doing so is an “abomination of the devil” she is being very cruel and hurtful. She goes on to say that ‘people might avoid coming into the ER in order to keep from” sinning.” I do not understand how she considers looking at the healing art work “sinning”.

It’s clear that Sandy is living in fear and conjuring up things that are not real. I’m tired of hearing such cruel words directed to our First Nations peoples. I’ve heard such ignorance as: Aboriginals pray to totem poles/ summon up demons with their drums/ worship creation not the Creator.

I can go on and on about what I’ve heard is ‘true’ about First Nations. All of these are untrue. We live our lives as a prayer and worship our Creator and respect all things including our human family. The demonization of aboriginal culture, values, practices and ceremonies needs to stop, in order for a true reconciliation between Christianity and First Nations peoples.

Personally I believe the Creator has a first name and it’s Jesus. I’ll be smudging and sending up prayers tonight for true reconciliation between our First Nations and non-natives.

Jil McDonald

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