Looking carefully at the rocks and antlers the carver chooses his materials. He gathers his tools and smiles. His chisels and saws sharp and files standing by. He is ready to start. He is set to carve his beautiful dream. A concept that exists inside: of him but one he would show the world.

He carves diligently, slowly, nurturing the form within the stone. As it slowly takes shape it seems to assume a life of its own. It nears completion.

A moments distraction, a sound, a head turned, a heavier pressure and at that; moment a fracture marring the carvings perfection. Weeks of work gone in a flash. There is anger but what to blame? The ears that heard a strange sound? The fingers that misjudged? The eyes that leapt away? The brain for all owing the distraction to take away the finished image and judgment necessary for its completion? The stone for its weakness?

In truth it was none and yet all. For all was needed in order to make a thing of beauty come alive and to live in this world.

The reason why I tell this story is because of what I hear. I hear of problems in the communities concerning youth. Not enough graduations and school attendance, of bullying, of ignoring curfews and other problems. And in these problems there are tendencies to blame the police or the school administration, the school committees, education officers, the Cree School Board or other entities like the Band Council.

Some of these blames have no logic like a carver blaming just his ears, his fingers or his eyes for a work that is not the perfection he saw inside. Anger has its own logic and most of it is self-defeating as it clouds the visions and concepts of life.

Instead of spending time laying the blame we should become more unified. All parts of a community are needed to deal with problems of this magnitude. We need the schools, including the teachers, committees, administrators, etc, the Band Council, the police, social services, the Youth Council, parents and the youth all working together in order to solve these problems.

It is not to say that we have not made progress. For there has been progress that we have all seen. One only has to look at the success of the many Wellness Journey’s or the Cultural Exchange Gathering that Chisasibi and Whapmagoostui are having for two quick examples.

There are many more out there but somehow this has proved to be less than what is needed when it comes to life within the Cree communities. It is time for us to share our dreams, visions and concepts of what our community should be. It is not a time to blame but a time to reconcile. It is time for all of us to work together as one to make the image or concept of a beautiful community happen. Let us gather our tools and make our dreams real for our communities.