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January 29, 2016
Lorna Dueck

As Prime Minister Trudeau visited the aftermath of Canada’s largest school shooting, images in our news cycle tell a story many of us never knew of La Loche, Saskatchewan.   

There are pictures of family heating the ground with a bonfire, so their shovels could dig into frozen earth to bury teaching assistant, Marie Janvier. A photo of smiling teacher, Adam Wood, reveling in nature, shot dead in the very place he hoped to bring life to. Adam was an alumnus of Tyndale University, where I graduated, a Christian school infused with a view of how to bring God’s love to our world. I never knew Adam Wood, but I’m thinking deeply on his parent’s request that this tragedy be part of systemic change to improve Canada’s aboriginal lives.   

Among the images of La Loche, the robin-egg blue church décor of Our Lady of the Visitation Church was the backdrop which held the faces of a mourning community gathered. A handmade drum used at this Catholic church is a reminder of the heartbeat in the womb, the baby listening to the comfort of origins. LaLoche residents have authored a Wikipedia page where they describe their community as 96% Roman Catholic. Its an odd statistic to me, as I know Great Spirit, Creator, is revered by First Nations, and Wisdom Keeper, (white folk know Wisdom Keeper as Jesus) has been deeply distorted through the Catholic Residential School process.   

In these very weeks where La Loche’s school shooting has ripped open our hearts, where a Human Rights ruling has found crippling discrimination on aboriginal child care funding, I’m heartened by one thing I feel is like a beat of the First Nation’s drum. 

Six hundred and fifty First Nations leaders are conducting a community review of their own translation of The Gospel of Luke. This is ancient scripture, long predating the white man’s arrival and naming of Canada, the story of Wisdom Keeper newly written in the traditional heart languages of over six million First Nations people of North America. My thanks to who is facilitating the project and for sharing it with me. Here’s a sample of  their First Nations presentation of The Lord’s Prayer;   

First Nations Version - Lord's Prayer from OneBook on Vimeo.


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