National Aboriginal Day is more than a holiday; it's a day of Aboriginal people gathering to celebrate their identity and culture. But to some First Nations people, it means many different things. Some see it as a celebration of culture and peace. Others see it as self-reflection. Jay Lomax of the Dakota Tipi First Nation in Manitoba, now working as an adoption worker was asked what Aboriginal Day meant to him.
As a 70’s Scoop survivor, I have been witness to many injustices and mistakes made toward First Nations people. For a long time, I believed that being adopted into a non-native family was a way that our communities were being punished. There were many times I felt hurt because of the loss of my identity and spiritual connections. My adopted family raised me with many good foundations and tools that I have put to good use. However, something was missing as a teenager, with which I struggled.
At the age of eighteen, I met my birth mother for the first time. It was as if the sun came out of the clouds. She gave me new teachings and lessons in life that I was searching. Not lessons about money, power or control but that I was always connected to all living things, spiritually. She said that all humans have that connection in life if we choose to see and feel it. Before I met her, she would always send blessings and prayers my way and always knew I was in Toronto through our ceremonies.
I say it means celebrating our personal, spiritual growth and honouring our elders, mothers, fathers, teachers, spirits, helpers, plants and animals.
Since I made my journey back to my First Nations community, I realized I now had two families that
momsI could share my life. It’s a beautiful thing to have moms, and if one keeps in touch with their
foster mother like I did, you have three moms! I have two brothers and five sisters. Even though we live miles apart, I love them as if they have always been around. I have never met my birth father and hear he was not doing so well in life. I pray for him and send him good blessings.
When someone asks me what First Nations day or Aboriginal day means? I say it means celebrating our personal, spiritual growth and honouring our elders, mothers, fathers, teachers, spirits, helpers, plants and animals. Most of all, we celebrate the good things that come from our mother, the earth! She is the one that gives us the fresh air, clean water, and food we need to survive.
I have forgiven the past governments for my experience and make my path a peaceful one. This includes teaching children pow wow dancing, drumming, ceremonies and respecting the earth so that my kids can live in a good way. We are a people of bright colours, dances, singing, music and full of laughter! I wish you and your family a happy First Nations Day!
Dakota Tipi First Nation
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