Janice McLeod said she'd met Ernie years ago when they were both florists and she remembered him for his work on the FTD association and for Rotary.  Janice has been a member since 1991 and a member of the United Church since she was born.  Her grandfather was a minister and a Rotarian and she thinks the two institutions share missions and beliefs.  She said that though she'd worked on projects for her Club it was a trip to Nigeria that focused her efforts.
She remembers Bartlesman writing about residential schools and about first nations residents without running water and she thought about the natives joining the protest to protect the water at Site 41.  The United Church has an Aboriginal Ministry and Rotary is introducing an initiative to give our neighbours a greater voice.
This requires a change in thinking on our parts.  Rupert Ross, a Crown Attorney for first nations justice says they have to look beyond the crime and examine the forces behind it.  His grandfather taught the wisdom of the 5 waves that have to be evaluated as they come together around the point of land:  the winds - creating new waves; the past - waves left over from past winds; the currents - moving the water under the waves; the Gulf Stream; and the Rotation of the Earth - study them all and understand their effects before putting out in a boat.
Janice recognizes that many are disappointed by the image many natives project but there are many excellent ambassadors of that nation that we should pay attention to.  With Lakehead starting an Aboriginal Law school we can hope there will be more.  But the current winds and waves are still affected by the events that preceding generations have experienced.
She asks Clubs to become aware and seek out candidates for GSE's, for membership, for subscriptions to Rotarian and for speakers.  She suggests we try to to think of anyone as them and to ask ourselves what our response to 10 or 12 years of residential school abouse would have been - take a drink maybe?  She is encouraging building partnerships that will have an impact on Canada and our legacy.
Programs - self identifcation - have we members of first nations in our clubs?  Do we invite speakers to our Clubs?  Can we participate in programs with first nations like team building canoe trips?  Can we find first nations candidates for exchange experiences or Adventures in programs.
She says the first nations population is a young one - 50% of them are under 25 and almost 50% of them live in urban areas.  But while we build awareness we have to learn to fit in where we are needed, not push solutions on them that won't fit.