Preceding his meeting with First Nations leaders on May 22, Prince Charles participated in a smudging ceremony conducted by elder Dave Courchene, winner of this year’s Indspire (Aboriginal Achievement) Award for Heritage & Spirituality.
Known as Nii Gaani Aki Inini, or Leading Earth Man, Courchene was part of the group of aboriginals meeting with Charles, Prince of Wales, and gave him this message:
“We are a spiritual people, a people very much connected to the land.
We have always regarded spirit as a very significant part of life.
Today we want to honour your spirit.
Spirit defines who we are.
Spirit is what defines and connects all life.
Out of the lodges of our nations we are being told that we have entered a time of great change and opportunity.
We have the opportunity to help elevate humanity to a greater understanding of relationship, and a more respectful relationship that we can have with the Earth.
The way that we will achieve this is by being guided by spirit and grounded in natural laws.”
At the meeting, Prince Charles presented the First Nations leaders with a copy of his 2010 book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, according to the Kenora Daily Miner. In the book the prince includes Canada’s aboriginals in a study of sustainability, spirituality and ethics worldwide. The documentary of the same name premiered at the Sundance Film Festival's foray into Britain in April.
Courchene’s message dovetailed with what the Anishnaabe elder has been saying all along, which is that a spiritual awakening is under way. To disseminate the message and collect the knowledge that is out there, he has convened A Gathering of Indigenous Wisdom Keepers, including youth and others interested in preparing for the new, spiritual age that many believe is coming.
More than 500 people have already converged on Turtle Lodge, with more expected on Friday, including students from schools in Sagkeeng First Nation and Winnipeg, a Turtle Lodge spokesperson told ICTMN by e-mail.
Also on the scene are elders including Arvol Looking Horse, Betty Ann and Morris Little Wolf, Treaty 3 Drum, Harry Bone and Peter Atkinson, Turtle Lodge said on its Facebook page. Delegations are pouring in from British Columbia, Quebec, Albuquerque, South Dakota, Alberta, Saskatchewan, California and Ontario.