I Allowed Myself
Once again I allowed myself to be pulled off the road for an engagement in Manitoba’s major city, Winnipeg. On the previous night, Daruka, Billy, Daniel and I went to The Forks to attend events for Aboriginal Day.
When I walked the Prairie trail, on what can be a boring straight line, I daily think about how the indigenous people executed their travels. They likely followed a meandering river or curvy valley or creek. Their lifestyle and outlook was circular, unlike the white man’s square and linear approach. The land they shared and was for everyone. They demonstrated hospitality to the newcomers and showed them how to survive. Those of the European stock, the newcomers, came in great numbers, did not reciprocate so well with hospitality, cheated the custodians and robbed them of use of land. The new ‘owners’ killed the food supply, the bison, drew lines and squares for lots, saying ‘do not trespass’. They spread new diseases and fire water where there was no intoxication before. They, the first people, were cheated of their land and were given left over reserves, a raw deal for sure.
Not a day goes by when I wonder how life would be to trek a trail that the aboriginal people had done before there was a grid.
After spending an hour with Greg along what to me was a new section of Red River, I met Dennis at a street juncture. Dennis is an aboriginal handicapped person. He asked me if I had time, I said, “Yes, depending on how long.” Dennis is wheelchaired with impaired legs and needed to be taken to the other side of the river by way of bridge, and then a couple of blocks to destination, Holy Rosary Catholic Church for coffee with a priest.
“Fine,” I agreed.
As I was pushing the wheelchair he told me about how he prays to the Lord asking Him if one day he can walk again. “Sometimes I think God doesn’t listen,” he said.
“You can’t blame God for your weak legs. This is karma you have inflicted upon yourself from some time in the past. Be grateful always for what you do have. “
Dennis asked me to wheel him into the Starbucks Coffee shop. Both inside and outside the shop many people seemed to know him. Here he makes a daily visit and requires an antique cup for his coffee. From here I wheel him out and on to the edge of the church yard. Mass had just finished and here too he seems to be known.
I figured that helping him was the least I could do considering the mistreatment of his people in the past. I felt I owed him one.
Our day came to a close when I spoke at 108 Chestnut from a Bhagavatam verse 1.8.30 regarding the bewildering nature of this world, its Creator and their correlation.