Artist Connie Dickens, Indigenous Tsimshian Artist from Prince Rupert, BC
Background Honouring Spiritual Diversity
In conversation with Indigenous Artist Connie Dickens about background on the formation of the Aboriginal Ministries Council, now the National Indigenous Council, and the vision for the National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering was shared. The theme “Honouring Spiritual Diversity” for the Spiritual Gathering and the following collection of stories have played a significant role in the creation of this crest.
At the inaugural meeting of the Aboriginal Ministries Council (September, 2009) reflections on the eagle and the mouse emerged. The eagle soars higher and takes in the broader view while the mouse is engaged on the ground, in ministry. The eagle can see further and can spot potential dangers, while the tenacity of the mouse provides them with a knowledge of the terrain, the context.
While this reflection was being shared across the country since that inaugural meeting, other stories have emerged that honour the intercultural nature of the communities that the Indigenous church represents and serves.
A teaching on the raven emerged during a meeting of the BC Native Ministries in 2010 in Haida Gwaii, BC. While the eagle flies close to the Creator and provides clarity of vision, the raven has the capacity to fly further. A raven feather was gifted to the Aboriginal Ministries Council at that time.
Artist Connie Dickens suggests that the grouping of the animals signifies the Indigenous communities coming together and the many people gathered. The eagles in the centre depict the aspirations of the group, and the ravens on the side signify the ability to go the distance and travel far and wide, into new territory.
The Spirit Bear reminds each person of their uniqueness, just as the Spirit Bear is unique. The wolf and whale were added to the final version to further reflect the nature and identity of Indigenous peoples across Canada.
The National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering reaches across Canada to all people. The joining of the raven’s wings and eagle’s wings illustrates the connection of people, friendship, and happiness.