SIX NATIONS – The Six Nations Health Foundation held their annual Elders Gala & Silent Auction over the weekend which seen a crowd of around 60-70 people. The funds raised will go towards the Dialysis Unit at the White Pine Complex.
Some of the guest speakers included Arnie General, Alfred Keye, Hazel Johnson, Sherri Lickers and Kelly Davis.
Arnie General told the crowd of all ages that it is important to remind ourselves that we should never criticize each other. “Have you ever heard of the 3D policy?” asked General. “Deny. Deprive. Destroy. The government continues to deny us our rights, deprive us of our rights and destroy our culture. That is what the government is doing to us today. Be aware of who you are. We are not subjects of the Crown.”
Six Nations Health Foundation President Ruby Jacobs also told the crowd that, “each and every one of us are important. So please remember that.”
Some of the topics covered on Saturday included: how youth can save money and how important it is for youth to save a little bit of money out of each pay check. Different methods of money-saving were covered. The importance of setting goals for oneself were also touched on. Hazel Johnson told the crowd, “You all need to know that you deserve the best there is. Don’t say you can’t do something. Think big for yourself. If you’re going to think small, you’re going to stay small,” said Johnson.
Sherri Lickers told those gathered that her mom went to the Mush Hole and she spent half her life living off-reserve and the troubles she had of fitting in wherever she went. “When I was on the reserve, I was a city Indian and when I was in the city, I was a dirty squaw,” stated Lickers. Despite the negative encounters she has endured in her life, Lickers explained, “But I never focused on the bad. By the time I was 30, I broke the glass ceiling. The important thing for everyone to remember is to move forward and be strong. Set big goals. Be diligent and use self-discipline and it’s important for everyone to have an education.”
Kelly Davis may have been one of the younger speakers at the Gala but was very insightful. Davis spoke of how after leaving an unhealthy relationship many years ago, she decided she wanted to learn more about her culture and traditions. She decided it was time to go back to her roots and started attending Longhouse at Sour Springs. “It was a challenge,” said Davis. “But thanks to Arnie General he made it a little more easier for me to attend without feeling too intimidated.” Davis stated her biggest challenge going to Longhouse was, “How do I keep going when I don’t feel wanted. I didn’t know the language and so I approached Arnie for help. He said to just bring one word back from ceremony and he would explain it to me.”
“Ganohonyok is about having a good mind,” said Davis. “By understanding Ganohonyok, I could understand not just me, but everyone and everything around me. Now our mind’s are one, that’s the good mind. When everyone is in a good mind, good things happen. Look at all the people here right now!” said Davis. “So, nya:weh go:wa Sogwaiyodihsoh sogwa:wi ganohonyohk. Thank you very much our Creator for giving us things to be thankful for.”