I was at the Legislative building this past weekend. I was there for the first Resilience of Nations event, held by the Idle No More group.
I arrived there early to sit by the Sacred Fire and to talk with the organizers. Many of the organizers were Indigenious grass roots activists.
As we were sitting there, two Winnipeg Police officers came under the canopy. There was a moment of uneasiness as they walked towards Gramma Shingoose, one of the organizers.
One of the officers explained they were going around to all the Canada Day events to make sure every thing was alright. The tension eased up and the ice was broken.
I could hear one of the organizers explain to the officers why they were there.
Then, Gramma Shingoose asked one of the officers if they wanted to offer tobacco to the sacred fire. She briefly explained to the officers the purpose behind the offering of tobacco. It was an offering of a prayer request.
I watched as the first officer took a small bit of tobacco from the bowl on the ground. He walked over to the sacred fire and stood there over it for a couple of minutes with the tobacco in his hand.
Then he tossed the tobacco into the fire. The other officer followed suit.
The people in the background watched the officers closely. It was a true reconciliation moment. A simple gesture that took a couple of minutes created a bond of trust within the group.