The Nation to Nation Bike Tour: Relationships

Published on by Arestia Dehmassi, Tour Member, August 11

As we ride along the St. Lawrence River, a guiding force of nature flowing beside us, it is a reminder of what we are all doing here, of our inherent rights and inherent responsibilities as human beings. It comes up over and over again, especially when listening to the elders – that there is knowledge that we are to gain, and that there are responsibilities that come with that knowledge.


Tour members Arestia Dehmassi, Carly Benedict, Michelane Gliddy giggle in the kitchen.

Every single member of this weird and wonderful bicycling team, representing the four directions of the world, recognizes our responsibility to the Creator, to Mother Earth and to one another.As we sat around a fire in Tyendinaga last night the words of Jonathan Maracle, our host for the evening, rang true: “When you honour the Creator’s children, you honour the Creator. When you dishonour the Creator’s children, you dishonour the Creator.” Looking over the flames at each others’ faces, I see how we’ve come to honour each other, so naturally. We make sure to ask each other how we are doing, we eat together, we camp together, we give thanks together. We share a lot.

It amazes me that at every stop along this tour, folks are always surprised by how close our team is once they learn we’ve only been together a few days.  I’ve been told a few times how wonderful it is to see a group of diverse young adults be so close. There is no shortage of love and hugs here.The Seven Fires Prophecy (part of the Anishnaabe tradition) has come up several times along our ride. The prophecy offers the possibility that all four races of humanity will come together in respect to complete a full cycle. That fear of strangers, our own neighbours, has set us back, but that it’s not too late to turn around.

elder eddie gray medicine pouch

Elder Eddie Gray puts medicine pouch on tour member Harry Benedict.

Now is the time. We have a long way to go, but I know we are all on a good path because of the gifts tucked away in our medicine pouches. Not just those of us on this tour, but all who are inspired to learn. This is just the beginning of beautiful friendships, sacred relationships, and a journey we are all on together.

Filed in: Indigenous Rights

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