Questions Responded by Prof. Malcolm Saulis (39th WRC)

Questions Responded by Prof. Malcolm Saulis

Indigenous Scholar/Elder.

Representing Indigenous Spirituality

Question 1: Do you deny the Journey of man? Even the natives come from somewhere long time ago. By Eagle Spirit

Answer: In the Indigenous worldview there is s connection of the physical world and the spirit world. We exist in this single reality. Also we journey between the two realities: you come originally from the spirit world and embark on an earthly physical journey. When the earthly journey is finished then you return to the spirit world.

Question 2: If your religion was a stumbling block to establishing justice, with everyone feeling equal, would you give it up? – by Elaine Batt

Answer: Justice exists as an element of creation. It is inherent to all of creation and there is a justice in the coexistence of such diverse aspects of the things that live on, above, below, and beyond earth. In this coexistence is justice and the right to exist as you are. It is a human mental decision not to have justice as we know that it needs to exist. All of the other elements of creation would not choose that. I would never give up on justice.

Question 3: How are you getting or showing justice for the LGBT+ community? – by Darby

Answer: In my experience of growing up in my home community the existence of people who would now be covered by the category LGBT+ was an ordinary reality. People in our community knew those particular individuals were unique and that they lived in a way not like other people. But that this was just the way it was. These people contributed to the community, were involved, and existed just like any other person. So myself as a result of this upbringing see the right of people from this community have a full place in society and I want to work with them. I have worked closely with many LGBT+ people.

Question 4: As a Christian, I see many Churches closing and this concerns me. Is this the case for all the represented religions? Without Churches/Temples/Synagogues/Mosques etc, how do we pass on moral values such as justice? – by anonymous

Answer: In the Indigenous spiritual tradition we have always used gatherings on the land as a means to facilitate many things including ceremonies. In these ceremonies are the medicines of all sorts including the expression of oneness we show in coming together. So I think that even though formal religious institutions such as church buildings may be closing that the human urge to gather and pray will find expression in other ways.

Question 5: Why only male speakers representing religions conference (majority)? Only one female today? – by anonymous.

Answer: I don’t know.

Question 6: For a person who is looking for a present-day example of Just Society, which societies would you direct their attention to? – by Brent P.

Answer: I’m not sure. Myself I seek out Indigenous ceremonies where all people are welcome to participate.

Question 7: Why faith preaching end up in ritualistic practices and very limited practice in life. All talk about ‘No thing is ours” but fail to let it go? – by Harjit

Answer: I’m not sure what this question means. But I will answer in this way. The formality of ritual is rooted in one particular religious tradition. I believe that the spirit world and the Creator is an ordinary part of all our lives and is present in every aspect of our lives, so we can engage in communication with him/her anytime we want. I have “conversations” rather than formal prayer times with this higher power. I express my spirit most when I say words of thanksgiving and acknowledge that as a human I am imperfect.

Question 8: If all religions love peace, why are there so many religious wars? Often in the name of Justice? – by Bill Ratcliffe

Answer: A war undertaken under the guise of religion or spirit is a false human contrivance that justifies a brutal human intention to kill, dominate, control, and vanquish people who are perceived as not as worthy as you. It is meant to be able to exploit . It does not fulfil the intention of Creator, the Universe, or the Ancestors.

Question 9: What is one concrete action we can take to create a just society? (besides education) or What are your thoughts on differences/similarities of equality and equity? – by Margaret Emilia Locker

Answer: Organize gatherings of love and celebration to which all people are intentionally welcome. To me equality and equity is like intellect and intelligence. I see intellect as the inherent human capacity to observe things and know their meaning. Intelligence is the product of education and is meant to separate people into categories of intelligence. Some people may be able to show great intelligence but posess little intellect. Equity is rooted in society and humanity but equality is given by humans, more to some and less to others.

Question 10: The statement and question regarding ‘God and Creator are not the same thing’ was very interesting. Can you talk a little more about that? (from a moral academic perspective) – by Annonymous

Answer: The word Indigenous is defined “the way we were before the others came”. For me this means that our tribe was resident and existing in New Brunswick before others who came in boats, arrived. Therefore we had a complete way of life. This includes an acknowledgement that Creator was a part of us and we even had a word for him. God arrived when the others came and came by boat. God came with a book, came with a building, came with black robes, So my assertion that God and Creator are not the same thing is an acknowledgement that as an Indigenous person I have a right to have my own spiritual tradition of which the Creator is the core.

Question 11: How do I best bring Justice spiritual principles and proper actions to my work community in provincial jails for the over-represented, highly stigmatized large indigenous offenders. I ask this because I was one told “you spend too much time with aboriginal offenders”. I am a mental health professional. – by Claudia Mirela Eyre

Answer: This is a unique context and for many Indigenous people who are in conflict with the law say jail was the only place where they learned their teachings. As such it is very important for these Traditional knowledge and practices to exist. There ought to be Indigenous medicines, teachers, counsellors, and ceremonies undertaken in jails for all concerned; the security staff and the Indigenous and non-Indigenous inmates. Tradition works for everyone.


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