Connecting Traditions

SSSC Logo-600X600CCS Program Staff member Janet Ross spent last week at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre as a resource person for their January learning circle on history traditions, exploring both Indigenous and biblical traditions.  We are pleased that Janet got the chance to connect with Sandy-Saulteaux students, and that she was able to offer he expertise as part of CCS’s ongoing relationship with the Sandy-Saulteaux Centre.

Janet’s reflection on the week:

We arrived at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre at dusk as the evening light was filtering through the trees and snow. Picking up a few students from airports along the way, the first evening was filled with joy and laughter as the students reconnected with each other and with returning staff, and warmly welcomed new students and myself. We settled in on Monday morning for learning and teaching together, engaging, and reflecting this first week on Indigenous history traditions including Cayuga, Nakoda, Cree, Oji-Cree, Six Nations, and others, and on biblical history traditions (Exodus, Judges and Kings).

SSSC students Eleanor, John, and Elenor
SSSC students Eleanor, John, and Elenor

I had been invited to join the Learning Circle as a resource person for the biblical history traditions. Starting with Exodus, we considered stories such as Shiphrah and Puah (the midwives to the Hebrews who were brave enough to defy Pharaoh),  Moses, Miriam and Aaron, topics of civil disobedience  and assumptions around leadership and the formation of leaders. We looked at how the Exodus story has been received, both as a liberation story and as a story to justify one people moving into another people’s land and colonization. In reading the Book of Judges, we reflected on how women are still sacrificed for power and kidnapped, harmed and killed (as were Jephthah’s daughter and the Levite’s concubine). The stories of Elijah were heard alongside Indigenous traditions of the Peacemaker (who also performs miracles with water) and leaving an open seat for the uninvited guest.

Janet and SSSC student Elenor
Janet and SSSC student Elenor

We had times of deep sharing and many eruptions of laughter, both of which strengthen community and learning. I was struck by the openness of the students—to each other, to those of us who were new to the circle, and to learning new things including (somewhat boring) lists of ancient kings, Hebrew words, stories and traditions, and Indigenous stories and traditions—both ancient and current. I especially loved hearing the wisdom of the group through their stories and experiences. And how wonderful to be a part of the singing and prayers in Cree. The week went by quickly and I miss the students already! I was so honoured to be able to teach and learn with the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre community. What a great way to begin my time at CCS!