TORONTO, ON (March 17, 2017) – To mark the National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits, Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day says today’s ceremonies taking place across Canada are a reminder that our Peoples must continue to work towards ending the national suicide crisis in First Nations communities.
“Canada is celebrating the 150th year of Confederation but far too many of our children and youth cannot even celebrate their own lives,” said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, the chair of the national Chiefs Committee on Health for the Assembly of First Nations. “This National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits is a reminder that much work needs to be done to end poverty and despair. When our youth are able to see hope for the future then all Canadians will be able to celebrate. This will be true reconciliation.”
The National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits is an invitation to Indigenous peoples and all Canadians to come together in prayer and ceremony in order to inspire and bring hope to the lives of First Nations youth.
On Victoria Island, near Ottawa and Gatineau, fire keepers gathered today to light a Sacred Fire. Prayers were led by pipe carrier Chief Bear Joel Babin from Wahgoshig First Nation, followed by a pipe ceremony. The Eagle River Drum Group from Kitigan Zibi closed the ceremony with song.
The Sacred Fire on Victoria Island will continue throughout the day until 4 pm. Those who were unable to make the ceremony are encouraged to come to the Sacred Fire to make an offering, say a prayer, or perform a ceremony according to their own beliefs.
“Today is a special day for First Nations in Ontario and all Canadians, as we honour our youth by telling them that they matter and that we are watching over them,” Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day said. “Prayer and reflection on the protection of our youth is an important collective effort that doesn't take much time from your day. Offering tobacco, a quiet moment thinking about the precious path for our young people, prayers in ceremony, whatever we can contribute. When our youth are able to see hope for the future, then all Canadians will be able to celebrate.”
For more information visit the National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits Event page on the AFN Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AssemblyofFirstNations/.
Join the #NationalCircle.
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.