In our work as Allies in solidarity to First Nations, it is important that we check our privilege and paternalism at the door, and listen to indigenous voices. We have a collective moral responsibility to learn about the social issues, to listen and respect, and to make decolonizing space for indigenous history and the rich counter-narratives that exist across Turtle Island. One of these powerful voices is Oshawa resident Cliff Standingready, whose memoir is an up-close survivor's account of the brutality of the residential school system, and a personal narrative on overcoming trauma and alcohol abuse. Taken away to residential school in Brandon, Manitoba as a child, Cliff was forced to abandon his Lakota culture, his freedom and his identity. A visceral, instinctual and emotional recounting of one man's experience with dehumanization, anguish, death and loss, Children of the Creator is written subjectively and in-the-moment. Cliff is honest, and as he says "humble before the Creator", as he describes the life lessons and insights he has gained on his healing and spiritual path.
Forced to deal with racism, the colonial agenda and the legacy of genocide all his life, at the heart of Cliff’s story is the tracing and recovery of his identity as an indigenous person. His childhood exposure to the sacred teachings of his people, and the redemptive, healing power of traditional ceremonies are points of reference to which he returns again and again. His many powerful mystical visions and synchronistic experiences continue to inform him, and connect him to his ancestral traditions and the divine spark in all beings. A true storyteller, Cliff reminds us of the interconnectedness of creation, to have a reverence and respect for all life and a balanced harmonious relationship with the Earth. A work of great courage and insight, Children of the Creator has deep meaning for us all, and will wake us up to the fact that institutionalized racism and injustice still exist in the Canadian Settler-State.
“As a result of this consciousness, we could come together as a community. The truth is that every human being, no matter who they are, is sacred.”
Cliff Standingready, The Oshawa Express 2010
Children of the Creator is available from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pegi Eyers is the author of "Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community," a new book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, healing our relationships with Turtle Island First Nations, decolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community.