Questions Responded by Lois MacDonald (32nd WRC)

Questions Responded by Lois MacDonald

Scholar of the Aboriginal Community Kitchener-Waterloo

Representing Aboriginal Spirituality

Question 1: What can we do to increase the involvement of women as political and spiritual leaders?

With First Nations, there are quite a few Elders within many communities and there are some that are political leaders as well.  It is the choice of the community who they want to represent and represent them.   It is the individuals own personal journey that would determine if she were to go into the political arena.

Question 2: Can you support the “Laws of the Land” and still practice religious rituals? e.g. polygamy, circumcision, genital mutilations of women, child marriage, mandatory religious affliction (catholic teachers), use of Lord’s prayer and many more issues?

The question asked is a loaded question and I would in turn ask “Who’s laws and of what land?”, before I would consider answering.

Question 3: Can you please elaborate on the form of government employed by the First Nations People? i.e. within reserves – Clan Chiefs, historically.

Today the Chief and Council are elected in by the community.  Traditionally chiefs were within a family handed down from one generation to another.  This is not in all cases or territories.  There were different First Nations that had different ways.  So to narrow it down and say this is how it was is impossible.

Question 4: If for a person, the state law conflicts with their religious law, then which law takes precedence?

First I would have to ask for a definition of “law”.  As many people see things differently and have a different perspective. It is a personal belief and value I cannot answer.  If individuals are walking their own truth, then the laws of the state or religious law would not be a conflict for them. As unique individuals they would stand tall in their own truth at all times no matter what.

Question 5: Is the God of a particular faith or religion the same God of other Religions? Or in other words: Is it one and the same God that revealed different scriptures?

It is the belief of their faith whoever they pray to is who they would call “God” (using the word as an example as how it is written in the question) whether or not it is the same.  My question back is “Does it really matter?  Will it make a difference?” Every faith has their way, in my opinion and all is equal, as long as they are walking a good path and living their truth not hurting others is a way of living by their faith.

Question 6: Do you as a first nations woman advocate total sovereignty for those on first nation land or do you advocate voting in all Canadian elections and as much sovereignty as possible for first nations?

This question is a good question, I vote in both areas.  Living in an urban setting and having my voice (vote) heard is important to me.  Also voting for those individuals for band council who will represent and look after the best interest of our community today and seven generations down the road are the ones I would want in.  If I don’t, then my voice in an election whether it’s mainstream or at a band level, would not be heard, then how can change happen if I sit back and not do anything.

Question 7: In your religion if abortion is actually murder, at what point does your religion condone retribution and what form?

It is a personal choice an individual makes on their own or as a couple.  I cannot judge people for the choices they make.  Everyone has an opinion on this subject and it can be very controversial, so to ask a question like this is opening up a big can of worms that would lead to people getting angry because of their own personal values and beliefs on this subject. So what is the hidden agenda here? Is it to start a debate? Are you looking for answers? Really look inside yourself and answer these two questions.  If you happen to get angry then I have done my job to have you look inside yourself.

Question 8: In your religion if the government is obviously corrupt, at what point is it OK to start a revolution? And to what level?

Is it really okay to start a revolution?  What would it accomplish?

Question 9: Why isn’t self-govern education being taught to the masses? How will self-govern-community affect a nation?

Looking for the resources within the community you live in is a good start.   The colleges or universities have Aboriginal specific courses.  They also have resource people.  If someone really wants to learn, they will seek out the resources to get their answers.  Then they will tell someone else, like a pebble thrown in water, all the ripples go outward. Word of mouth is a powerful and most effective way of getting information out there.

Question 10: Can you give me an example of a religious state (a theocracy) ever being a just state especially towards other religions?

I would need an example to answer this question.  I don’t understand it.

Question 11: What are your beliefs on the after life? What becomes of the soul and where does it go?

In my opinion and the teachings I understand from an Aboriginal perspective, I believe that the “Spirit” will return to a physical body until the Spirit has learned what it was suppose to, or has earned the right to become a guide from the “Spirit World” for those still on their earth walk.  In my opinion, it is an agreement between the “Spirit and Gitchi Manitou-The Creator”.

Question 12: Can you please discuss aboriginal spirituality and the rituals and ways of honoring and communicating with the creator?

Aboriginal Spirituality is a way of life, always being in tune with the earth and knowing that all things have a spirit (i.e. trees, small stones, plants etc.), the Spirit guides, and listening to one’s heart and following it.  Everyone, in my opinion has a specific journey they are on.  It is up to the individual to walk that journey to teach as well as learn from others.  The ceremonies are a way of communicating and asking for guidance from the “Gitchi-Manitou, Spirit Helpers”, as well as healing from personal issues.  It is a way of keeping oneself in balance, always following ones heart to learn and teach on a continuous basis.

Question 13: Is it allowed in your religion (s) to disgrace other religion’s holy books and holy people?

On my personal learning journey of the teachings, I have heard and was told by our Elders that walking the teachings is a way of life and not a religion. It is a way of life, however to live and walk the teachings is a journey that at times will be hard, so one would need courage to continue on.  Other times it will be like calm waters on a warm summer morning and the learning is continuous.  Others teach you what to do and what not to do.  If I were to disgrace or judge others for their values, beliefs and way of life then I am disgracing myself and would be a hypocrite.  We are all from the human race and we are “Spiritual Beings” having a physical experience to learn and teach each other for the betterment of the human race and to walk our truth.

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