November 14, 2017
By Vashti Boateng
At the end of October, KAIROS British Columbia and Yukon hosted an event called “Walking in a Good Way: How to be Better Allies in the Struggle for Watershed Justice.” KAIROS is an organization made up of 10 church and religious organization working towards ecological justice and human rights, and a close partner of PWRDF.
We were welcomed to the land by an Indigenous elder who told us about her family members’ experiences at the Nanaimo Indian Hospital. We were invited into the space both in prayer and in song by elders from several Indigenous nations. There were four panelists who spoke – Melanie Delva, Jennifer Henry, Ray Jones, and Robert Morales – each speaking on what it means to truly be an ally and how to walk in a good way. Each of these panelists comes from a different background and perspective, and they were honest about their experiences with this topic. They all provided valuable insight that related to everyone in the room in one way or another, and this had a visible impact on those in attendance. The panelists spoke about realizing one’s own privilege and thus learning how to use it in a beneficial way, as well as learning when to check it at the door.
We were reminded that reconciliation is not just reconciliation with the people, but it is also reconciliation with the land. Achieving watershed justice and being a better ally means more than simply having good intentions – it means walking in the right way and climbing the mountains that are presented rather than simply hoping for change.
At the end of the event, we were asked one question in closing: Are your feet praying?