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Jesus Loves the Little Children

The first time I sat in a Cree circle I was just fifteen years old. The Cree Elder did not present a ‘woe is me’ argument against white people for his young audience, rather, he spoke of the equality of all the nations as depicted on the medicine wheel. The medicine wheel portrays four colors: red, yellow, black (sometimes depicted as blue or green depending on the beliefs of the nation), and white that represent the equality of the four nations of the global population of humankind.

Today, people with white skin are often blamed for much of the world’s racism, but very little about racism has to do with the color of our skin. Many people with white skin came to Canada and the U.S. to escape oppression they experienced in their homelands.. These included Irish, Scottish, and people from the Ukraine to name a few. Racial slurs were used against people of various races stating that the Irish are drunkards, the Scottish are hotheaded red heads, and Ukrainians are less than intelligent. Yet, many of these people came to build a better life for themselves escaping war and oppression. Many overcame and built a better life. How often have I heard, my grandfather came to this land with twenty-five cents in his pocket and has built it into a fortune. 

Ultimately, we were told that the children that God created us to be, were not good enough to exist as-is in the mainstream society of the time.

The truth is, those fortunes were built on the backs of the First Nations people who were torn from their land and forced onto reserves in Canada and reservations in the U.S. Many times, those who came here to escape oppression came to treat the original people of North America the same way they had been treated in their homeland.

Children learn what they are taught, so when we inadvertently teach them that one type of person is better than another, we are indirectly teaching them racism and discrimination is not only permissible, but a good thing. A hierarchy of races is created and is responsible for generating the attitudes that similarly prevailed against First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people during the developing years of North America. Our nations proclaim freedom and justice for all, yet First Nations children were forcibly taken from their parents and put in residential schools and subsequently non-Indigenous foster homes. We were denied our culture, lost our language and traditions. We were classified as sub-human, and so, denied both freedom and justice. Ultimately, we were told that the children that God created us to be, were not good enough to exist as-is in the mainstream society of the time. The result is the intergenerational trauma that is prevalent among our Indigenous people today. 

Some people have told us to ‘get over it’, but it just is not that easy. The kind of abuse that many Indigenous children received in residential schools and foster care, myself included, gets into your DNA and changes who you are. It changes you from becoming the person you were created to be into a person that has metaphorically been left bleeding and broken on the side of the road much akin to the good Samaritan. 

What happens when you don’t love yourself? Well, let me tell you from personal experience.

As the 1800s song by Clare Herbert Woolston goes, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” I was taught this song as a toddler and sang it often to my older siblings until I was torn away by family circumstances and the sixties scoop. In my adoptive home, I was told that Jesus could never love ‘someone like me’, meaning someone with dark skin, an Indian. I carried that wound with me throughout my teen years and into adulthood resulting in a life of crime and addiction.

While time, circumstance, and our Heavenly Father allowed me to leave a degenerate lifestyle as a young woman, I was over fifty years old, when a healing session finally revealed that I still believed the lie that robbed me of the gift of self-love. Jesus stated that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself, but what happens when you don’t love yourself? Well, let me tell you from personal experience. You pass on the hatred and self-loathing to your children and intergenerational trauma occurs.

Jesus healed my heart wounds and subsequently much of the anger and self-loathing I carried in my heart throughout my life. I often wonder what lies my parents believed about themselves that were passed down to me, and what other lies do I unconsciously believe that have been passed down to my children. Some of us have been fortunate enough to recognize Jesus as our good Samaritan, but there will always be those who just cannot believe that God could love someone like us.

While Woolston may have put the words to music, the Creator’s love for all creation has been taught for thousands of years by the medicine wheel that is practiced by many First Nations to live in harmony with all creation. I hope that you too, will find healing in Jesus.

Picture provided by the author.  

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