Recently I noticed that the large wild and wooded area near my home was being prepared for development. Where hundreds of trees and bushes, birds and animals, once lived for centuries, the land would become 740 new homes for humans. A few trees were being selected to miss the axe and the grinding of the powerful brush cutter. I was saddened.
The next day as I went on my morning walk past the lot now empty of growth I saw a murder of crows. Dozens of crows, all sitting on the remaining trees, all looking inward at the empty space. I could sense that they were wondering, "where has our land, our home gone?" I felt very sad.
That evening I participated in a Zoom meeting for the World Religion Day. The Bahai group who were presenting made a local choice to focus on First Nation Spirituality and Reconciliation. The knowledgeable panel of speakers shared about residential schools, the deliberate settler policy of denying the aboriginal way of life, the loss of lands and the rights to hunt and fish. The First Nation speakers talked about being on the reserves, with all the limitations and hardships that go with this "generosity" of the predominant race of settlers. They spoke of the legacy of loss that cripples so many.
I thought of the Indigenous people, and I could sense them saying, "Where has all our land and water, our home, gone?" I felt very sad.
Reconciliation is about the impact of development, of change, of privilege unshared and not equal for all. Why have thousands of years of nesting land been exterminated? Why have thousands of years of aboriginal culture been so subdued by power structures of our human making?
My brother told me late that night that two coyotes had been exterminated in Stanley Park by conservation officers. The coyotes were infringing on the joggers on the pathways. We asked each other, "Why cannot such coyotes be transferred to wide open spaces to live for another day? And I asked myself, "Why are the crows, and the people of the land, denied the right to live as they are meant to live, just as we latecomers are also meant to share life?
My Christian understanding in 2021 tells me we have to do so much better. John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus came among us proclaiming the Good News of God, the Creator. Can we not hear and see, and act? Now!