I am a Christian and my feet are firmly planted in that religious tradition. As a Presbyterian, I know myself to be in Covenant with God through Jesus Christ. A covenant (Jeremiah 31:33 says, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”) holds both promise and obligation. As a person under covenant, I am bound by its terms. The prophet Micah defined those terms succinctly:
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
Justice is a crucial part of covenant. It compels me to seek justice. As a person living in covenant and bound by treaty, I often find myself needing to take personal action even when it is uncomfortable and unpopular to do so.
I am also deeply committed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and to the healing and reconciliation we all need in this partnership called Canada. As a Christian, one of the most cherished words in my vocabulary is reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5: 18-20). Maybe I just want to be a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9) or maybe a good neighbour (Matthew 19:19b). All I know is that on September 26, a cool fall day, I found myself on the Halifax waterfront with hundreds of others—in the middle of a pandemic—in support of Indigenous fishers who have been facing intimidation, racism and violence as they seek to exercise their treaty rights to a moderate livelihood.
My feet, firmly planted in covenant and treaty, have often taken me to Sipekne’katik First Nation where my traditional elder warmly welcomes us to her land, to her home and to her sweat lodge. If more people planted their feet here for a day or two we might begin to experience reconciliation and find that justice flows (Amos 5:24) from this place and into the Bay of Fundy and into the hearts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous folk alike!
Learn more about Mi’kmaq fishing rights here