Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair, Senate of Canada

(2019) 1 CJCCL
Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair
Senate of Canada
I. Introduction & Indigenous Worldview of
Relationship to Animals
It is said among the Ojibway that ‘in the beginning before the
beginning’, Anishinaabe was weak and lost and unable to come to
terms with their existence; f‌inding the daily challenges of life dif‌f‌icult
to manage and suf‌fering from inner turmoil and sicknesses they did not
know how to cure. ey mistreated each other, bickered constantly, saw
all outsiders as threats, and were even unable to feed themselves properly.
It is said that at that time the animal beings of Creation, who had
been observing all of this, called a Great Council to discuss one question:
‘What shall we do to help Anishinaabe’? ey agreed on one thing at the
outset: something must be done, for if Anishinaabe failed to survive and
thrive, then all of Creation was threatened, including them. After long
discussion, it is said that one by one, each of the Animal leaders stepped
forward to announce its commitment to help Anishinaabe and what they
would do.
e Bear stated that because he walked constantly in the woods, he
would protect Anishinaabe from outside attack. He further announced
that because he spent so much time among the plants, he knew where all
the medicines were and he would show them to Anishinaabe and help him
learn how to use them for healing. e deer and other hoofed creatures
of‌fered themselves as a source of food for Anishinaabe to consume in
times of hunger. e Eagle promised to f‌ly over Anishinaabe’s territory
each morning to see how he was doing and watch over him. One by one,
each of the animal beings of Creation committed to do what was within
his ability to do to keep Anishinaabe alive.
at teaching was repeated over many millennia and generation after
generation of children understood its importance: that we are all related,

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