Our Longhouse – Haudenosaunee culture – is based on complementary relationships that involve people working together for the wellness of our community. We were taught to respect all our relations and to uphold those values that form the foundation of our being. The intention to be complementary is what needs to shape our whole behaviour... At the beginning of our Two Row relations, the ship had no foundation for understanding our ways. Those on board had a purpose for coming here and had no time to hear about the Longhouse or to establish strong boundaries and treat us well. The colonial attitude was that the sooner they got us disconnected from our land and culture, the better. Their real focus was on land rather than on good relations.
Book Circle Responses
Awehaode Communication: Journeying with Norma
Kawennakon (Bonnie Whitlow)
Learning to Trust the Current: My Journey down the River of Life
Unravelling Our Roots: Wholistic Paths in Two Row Education
"Indigenous youth are dreaming of a covenant of friendship and peace called the Two Row Wampum – seeing, experiencing, and exploring this long-ago agreement as a relationship with settlers across Turtle Island. They believe the covenant was and remains a sealed, sacred, stated promise..."
A Prayer: Two Road
Awnjibenayseekwe (Banakonda Kennedy-Kish Bell)
An Invitation to Expand the (People) Teaching
“You need to expand the teaching or story beyond what you hear and see; it is about clarity, questioning, and seeking answers.” – G. N. Jacobs
At the conclusion of each circle in the book, you (the reader) are asked to “expand the teaching” in relation to your own experiences, stories, and knowledge. Is there a part of Gae Ho Hwako N. Jacobs’ teaching that resonates with you or perhaps something from one of the responses? Here is offered some additional guidance for your reflection in relation to the “People”.
The Two Row is envisioned as a friendship agreement between the Indigenous canoe and Canadian ship as they travel down the river of life. We the people each have unique personal, cultural and national responsibilities for renewing this relational agreement, and you can begin this task by placing yourself, your culture/nation and perhaps your vocation/work on the Two Row. You can use the following questions to guide your reflection:
1. We live in lands that are filled with rivers, lakes and other beautiful bodies of water that inspire the Two Row’s river of life. What specific waters do you consider home or you were born around? What is the quality of your relation with those waters?
2. How do you describe your ancestral place/position on the Two Row, and what does that “truth” potentially mean for your responsibilities in fostering good relations?
3. What is the treaty, agreement or unceded nature of the land/waters you live/work on? If you are a settler/Canadian, what can you learn about the Indigenous Nation(s)/cultures of those lands/waters?