This week, we had the opportunity to participate in a pipe ceremony with Alma. We were to have this experience a couple weeks prior but due to the North Wind trying to go home to make room for spring (aka a bad snowstorm) it was postponed. Thankfully, this time the North Wind stayed at bay.
Prior to Tuesday, I had never participated in a pipe ceremony. I had no idea what I was getting into or what was going to happen. I was kind of freaking out but at the same time I was excited to engage in something new. So I walked into the classroom, wearing my floor length skirt, nervous and ready to go.
Words cannot even describe this experience. There was just so many things happening and so much information thrown out there. It was a lot to take in. I found the experience to be very meaningful and almost relaxing. Alma did such a good job explaining everything as she was going through it all. Overall, I left the pipe ceremony feeling at ease and almost refreshed.
Now that it is over, where has it taken me on my treaty walk?
To me, participating in this pipe ceremony is a form of reconciliation. How I have come to understand reconciliation is that it is more than just saying sorry. It is taking action and participating. It is learning from Elders and Life Speakers and taking the time to have conversations with people. It is about unpacking the past and go beyond the surface. Taking part in the pipe ceremony is taking action and learning while we do it. But reconciliation is also about respect. We respected Alma and offered her tobacco. However, just because we participated in a pipe ceremony doesn’t mean we can go and teach about it but that doesn’t mean we cannot discuss our experience.