The Council of Canadians - Winnipeg Chapter


Defend our Climate, Defend our Communities- Winnipeg Action

Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on November 18, 2013 at 11:55 PM

The Sound of Unity


From Wabunnong Noodin's opening prayer to the closing round dance,the Defend Our Climate rally was an experience of solidarity, and of the strength and inspiration we find in each other.


The Keewatin Otchitchak Traditional Women Singers awoke us to our deep-rooted oneness with mother earth and our interconnectedness with past and future generations. The drum circle held the centre space throughout the day, a steadfast reminder of our circle of unity.

The excellent speakers addressed the urgent task we face while also giving us hope that we can make change. Eric Reder of Wilderness Committee described the current proposal to ship oil through the Port of Churchill, and the Committee’s work to prevent such a catastrophic development. Ashlyn Haglund told stories of fracking, pipelines and resource abuse that opened a different level of understanding for the cultural and environmental costs of ever expanding fossil fuel energy development, and reminded us that we have the capability for effective resistance. “We need to play an infinite game rather than a finite game,” she said. Janelle spoke of the extreme weather that has brought such suffering to the Philippines again, and of Yeb Sano, the lead climate negotiator for the Philippines, with his humble and powerful decision to fast in solidarity.


Eric Reder of Wilderness Committee - Manitoba Office

Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie shared her poem inviting us to learn what it means to walk the Red Road, where we stand on equal ground and know that we have superiority over nothing; where we understand that the river, the mountains, the stone people, and the trees know more than we do. Slam poet Seren Gagne spoke eloquently about the struggle to be politically active while coping with the problems of daily life: “Poet, you must rise above your life,” he said, and his poem helped listeners to make that decision again.


Spoken word artist T'ai Pu co-hosted with his trademark energy and engagement: "It’s cold out – I see cold people! Turn and hug the person next to you!" We did and created an ever expanding circle of warmth, greeting old friends and meeting new friends. Elders and children were further warmed with hot chocolate and coffee provided by the Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter and Neechi Commons, with some last minute top ups from Espresso Junction.


Glenn St John sang “Black Tide,” and TWIN shared music inspired by the band’s river armadas throughout the continent, where they experience first-hand the devastation of our oil and gas addiction.


While the final round dance was spiralling around the women’s drum circle, T’ai pu added words that came from all our hearts. “This is the sound of unity – dance together breath together be together.”


Oodena Circle, the Forks, Winnipeg

It truly was a day of extraordinary unity.


"Solidarity in Winnipeg - That's what we are all about! Indigenous, environmental, faith-based and community groups coming together to build a united wall of opposition to pipelines, reckless tar sands expansion & runaway climate change!"  - Event organizer Janelle de Rocquigny

Contributor: Mary McCandless - Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Chair

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