Recently The Nation published numerous writings about Cree values, Native religions and spiritual values. Several people have been interviewed, given opinions or demonstrated their beliefs in the revival of new religions foreign or Native.
Historically the Crees, as everyone is aware, primarily adopted the Anglican or Catholic faiths as the first foreign religions. However, these dominant religions were passed down from generation to generation, until today even more new faiths appear.
Personally, I follow the Anglican religion. In residential school I was required to attend services seven days a week for a 10-month period. During the summer breaks I attended Bible School provided by the Baptist domain. This went on about seven years of my childhood from 8 to 14 years of age. Then the next six years from 15 to 20 years of age, I hardly ever got involved with religion. Perhaps these years I was more into being cool and felt no need of it at the time.
Then I returned home from school and working in the south for a year to again live with my parents and in the community. After my return at first everything was different to me, the living conditions, the lack of modern conveniences and activities that I was so used to, left behind. I knew I had to make adjustments with my new life.
I always treasured and valued my life. Except for a few hurts, pains and scars from youth of being away from my parents at the time and at an early age, I think I have recovered a lot. This largely having to do with the closeness of my community, family, my children and grandson.
As I said, after returning home I made adjustments to be able to function again, as a youth trying to establish himself in the community and in life in general. To begin I took it up on my own to revive my faith by reading the Bible and trying to understand its many teachings. I started going to church services again. This helped me a lot as a youth in trying to find meaning to the many changes in my life over what really was a very short period of time. I consider myself having come out on top of it all. Not in a bragging way but really feeling it from the heart.
My late father and mother were very strong in their Anglican faith. They encouraged me to follow this religion. Although they never preached to me about it, they encouraged me always to keep my baptism. They told me the Anglican church is where I was baptised, received confirmation, where people go to get married and when they die.
Today I am very much living the life that my parents prepared for me.
I know now that they understood me, that I was different, that I took the best of their world and the best of the new world that is ever-evolving in the Cree society. I know they were proud of me as I am proud of my own children. Today I live in both worlds. I do not want to impose either for my children. I do however teach them what I know of both as I live them day to day. My own children, as any, have the freedom to choose what is in store for themselves. I have confidence in them—they will do the best for themselves eventually.
In an ever-changing Cree society everyone knows we must have some kind of faith to survive as a people or as individuals. I still strongly believe in what my late parents wanted to provide for me to live a happy life and I am living this today. Those who choose to follow the religion of our parents, I think it adapts to all faiths.
To my late parents, this fall as always I shared the beauty of the land, the winds and tides. Where you once had stood to admire and appreciate this beauty I stood to share the moment, to reflect and to promise that your grandchildren will come to know and respect the places where you moved about for survival at times, but most of the time during abundance of a quality of life and a happy life that it provided for you and is providing for me and your grandchildren.
Anonymous, For reasons of freedom of choice of faith