December 7, 2008

Conversing with the nation

Since September, I have had a question follow me around like a shadow. "What are the conversations that need to happen in my nation" not only placed in the position to host some wonderful conversations, but also put me through struggles to understand the dimensions in some of the darkest area's of my nation. Dark area's where injustice is the air and it's wind are embezzlement, corruption, and political manipulation of the firm kind.

Despite that, I've also realized many area's where my people haven't convened together to hold space in deep thought and feeling about very important issues. It comes back to the most important question of "Why host conversations that matter?"

I think when I say "hosting conversations that matter", I'm speaking about delving deeply and meaningfully into area's of our society that we may either think of individually, or carry short conversations between one or two other people, but don't. The problem is we are separated and individual in our thoughts to either revive, remodel, or transform the present situation of things. These things range from all kinds of area's like the violence among indigenous youth, to the effect of salmon health on community health.

So in searching for "What conversations need to happen", I'm looking for the focal point or "issue" of that question and conversation. Many years ago, the Squamish Nation had a couple general meetings and decided on an agenda that would be followed for the next few general meetings (each subject being devoted to a General Meeting). We never got further then number 5, mostly because the way the conversations are hosted in SN General Meetings. The highest issues were things like Finance, Housing, Children and Community Safety, Land, and others.

I think those are labels for the deeper issues. I want to find the conversations that need to happen in all of the issues in the community. I find those through the questions that come to mind that would be posed to the community, or the stakeholders (individuals who have a stake in any given issue) that should be brought together to convene about something. For me, so far, it's been about one of those two.

Here is a few of the conversations that I think need to happen in my nation:
  • Inter-generational Dialogue between Youth and Elders
  • Community: Artist in Dialogue
  • Youth in Dialogue: Violence
  • Is one form of leadership intrinsically better than another? By what criteria can we discern a leader of quality? (Taken from Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto by Taiaiake Alfred)
  • The Need in Indigenous Media
  • Confronting Salmon Health and Community Survival
  • What 'time' is it in our nation?
  • Towards a Sustainable Legacy from the 2010 Olympics
  • The Ghosts of Economic-Development Future
  • Reflections on the Mother Language
Quite the list eh? The way I've been inspired or thoughts given rise to these questions is as wide ranging as the conversations themselves. I think some of these require different types of hosting for different types of conversations. Some are based out of need to either do something or do something different, where some are based out of a need to reflect and find understanding among many. Anyways, they are all extremely important. I'm interested in finding others from my community who are interesting in any of these dialogues and would want to help me organize.

My weakness and where I will ask for what I want is I need help. I desperately need help from others to see these through. If you don't know what that help will be or look like, it doesn't matter to me. I just need the feeling of "I'm not alone in my thoughts".

But I also want to know, what conversations do you need to host?


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