Culture

Coming home

Delilah Saunders explains how hunger striking for Muskrat Falls brought her closer to Nunatsiavut and to herself

Anyone who knows me knows of my frequently expressed apprehension to return to Nunatsiavut, my home. For over a decade, Nunatsiavut didn't feel like the home I longed for. Safety, love and, more importantly, a sense of community were sparse and/or elusive. My disconnection from the land and from myself manifested into a longing for a home I wasn't sure existed.

My search for place to call home took me from Tofino, B.C. before having returning to Halifax to search for my murdered, pregnant sister. I had moved to St. John's when I was 15 and spent time everywhere in between but my search turned up fruitless. When things weren't working out while I was away, I would ritualistically board a plane home with a feeling of dread and defeat looming over me. I knew what was waiting for me in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

I spent a lot of my time in a very dark place regardless of geographic location. The guilt, rage, depression, shame and lack of self-esteem followed me everywhere. Unknown towns had possibilities and an unsullied image until I caught up with myself.

I began my 10 day hunger strike protesting the Muskrat Falls project without knowing much more than this. I hadn't been on the land for many years. This may offend some people or justify their negative assumptions about my intentions or character. However, this small seed resulted in profound spiritual growth and a reclaimed sense of home. I nourished my soul and traumatized self with genuine inner reflection that could only come with the uprooting of vices and comforts that I used to conceal my inner turmoil.

My long lost love for Labrador and its land and waters was all I needed to flourish again.

I wasn't merely taking extra precautionary measures to ensure the immediate health of not only Billy, Jerry and myself, but the collective health of Mother Earth and those she provides for in Labrador.

I have learned how to genuinely care for everyone, all my life is connected with on various levels and myself.

I've built an honest relationship with myself through adversity and sacrificing my vices while being gentle with the being that is me.

This has opened up an entirely fresh wound that will heal into something more beautiful. I will be scarred with care.

I'm finally accepting the concept of home and everything that term means.

Header image courtesty of www.happyvalley-goosebay.com

More Stories

Delilah Saunders unpacks the five stages of grief after the death of her sister Loretta
On grief
Delilah Saunders unpacks the five stages of grief after the death of her sister Loretta
All-women drum group in St. John's brings together contemporary folk and traditional Indigenous music
Eastern Owl
All-women drum group in St. John's brings together contemporary folk and traditional Indigenous music
The Muskrat Falls debate isn't over but after a tense conflict is heading in the right direction, says Andrea Andersen
Making Muskrat Right
The Muskrat Falls debate isn't over but after a tense conflict is heading in the right direction, says Andrea Andersen

Tags

weremember indigenousveteransday http-spiritpanels-humanrights-ca

Join the discussion

Captcha?color=006091&locale=en

Please enter the characters you see in the image above.

Comments (0)