Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
~ Marilynn-Leigh Francis
Gisoolg (Creator) brings people into your life
for reasons you can’t control, all you know is
that one day that person is going change the
course of your life in incredible ways. In most
cases he/she won’t realize the part they play
in your life just by being who they are, Gisoolg
sends you the medicine you need by crossing paths with life’s doctors.
Growing up, I felt connected to my culture but in a lot of ways, I had a better grasp of who I was at a younger age. It wasn’t until I experienced the world that I began to lose sight of who I was as an individual but the belief I had in Gisoolg has saved my life more then once.
In 35 years, only a handful of moments have directed the path my life was on and in those moments are the people who made those changes possible. Meeting Delilah Saunders is one of those moments and she is one of those people, her presence has had a butterfly effect in not only my life, but countless others across the world.
When I think back to the first time I had heard of Delilah, it was during a very difficult time for the entire Nation across Turtle Island because they had just found the remains of her sister Loretta. I can’t explain what I was feeling because there are no words but when I saw and heard Delilah speak, I knew she was going to change the lives of many people, I just never thought she would impact my life the way she did. Delilah, much like myself, is a butterfly. I still see her sitting at a table, surrounded by GrandMothers, telling her story and the story of her sister, listening to her, I knew I was somehow connected to this young woman.
My GodMother gifted me with a beautiful handmade necklace, in the center was a real butterfly turned into a medallion. I loved my butterfly, she accompanied me to many meetings, gatherings, ceremonies, keeping me safe through my hardest times but when I met Delilah, I knew the butterfly was not mine, I was only carrying it for her. I knew this because the moment we connected, I could feel the butterfly spirit come to life, in that moment I had a little sister, my butterfly sister.
The work Delilah has done for our MMIWG is some of the hardest work that our women will ever have to do in their life and she does it with grace, respect and compassion. In a world where our women are under attack, she stands against those attackers, fighting for the rights and lives of all our L’nu women.
I remember getting ready for my trip to Ontario when I saw a post from Delilah. She was admitted into Ottawa Hospital needing a liver transplant. In that second, I saw my sister Cheryl… my heart was breaking into a million pieces because I couldn’t stand losing another sister over a sick liver. My mind raced with images of Cheryl during her final days and it was like something clicked inside of me and I knew Delilah would be ok. As soon as that first post went out, our people across the nation sprang into action and started working on Delilah through prayer, ceremony, love and our Ancestors. There was hope that like many obstacles our people have faced, we would overcome this, she would overcome this.
A feeling of defeat washed over me when I found out she was not eligible for a liver transplant; just like Cheryl, both my sisters were denied the right to a transplant because they were a “risk factor”. Pure rage came over me and for a moment I was lost in what to do but Gisoolg has ways of putting you in the right place at the right time, he planted seeds in my mind which from that moment, a plan grew.
During all this, I was asked to go to Cape Breton to help my family, it was decided that the best thing for everyone was to get my sister out of harms way to someplace safe. After a few hours on the road we decided to spend a weekend in Toronto. Everything worked out because after Toronto I could make my way to Ottawa and see Delilah but while we were packing I got word that a woman needed a ride as close to Ottawa as she could get because she was on a mission to get to her girl Rebecca, who was with Delilah, who I also know and hoped to would see when I got to Ottawa to see Delilah. Like I said, Gisoolg has funny ways of connecting people because Delilah, Rebecca, Janice, my Sister and myself all got to Toronto on the same day. Our prayers were being answered. With the help of our elder from Big Cove, we were able to travel through the night and make it to our final destination.
During my time in Toronto, I had to come to grips with the reality of the situation regarding Delilah and her denial of a transplant. It’s a sickening feeling to look down at a young sister, hooked up to machines, bloated from the poisons in her body and too weak to visit with a sound mind. How is one expected to feel when your sister is denied the right to live? How does one react in those situations? We pray.
Before we went into see Delilah, we were invited to a Christmas Social held by Delilah’s people and got to meet her family. We feasted on traditional food, watched drumming, singing, dancing, met an L’nu actress and witnessed children opening gifts, laughing with their families - it was truly a beautiful experience. Oddly enough, it calmed the vibes before we made our way to the hospital.
This feeling of energy was starting to pulse through my body the closer I was getting to her room. My mind kicked into overdrive and I started praying to all the people who were praying for Delilah. I could feel their prayers in my spirit and my hands wouldn’t stop moving, my fingers felt like they were dancing. Standing over her, my hands started to move over her body. As my hands were finding the sickness, I was praying that all the prayers of her supporters would attack her sickness and make her better but it wasn’t long before I had to sit down because I felt wobbly but even as I sat there, my hands kept moving. I was unaware that my sister was watching me and she knew I had to get out of the room to get some fresh air because when you work on someone, it takes a lot out of you. During the night, I could feel my body getting stronger and prayers being answered, I went to sleep praying so hard that we didn’t lose Delilah and we didn’t.
The injustices we face as human beings is nothing in comparison to the injustice we face as L’nu people across Turtle Island. How does one get labeled as the enemy in their own homeland is a question that remains unanswered in today’s society but we as L’nu know how it happened. As the true title holders of these lands, we will always be considered an enemy and they will always try to control our lives in one way, shape or form. Unless, we become our own sovereign nation and reclaim our place on these lands. We need to maximize our full potential as one body, mind and spirit, we need to control what happens within our borders.
The denial of Delilah’s transplant is the government’s way of trying to control a situation by making it impossible to give our sister what she needed to live and be heard. As a young and upcoming activist for many causes, Delilah is a strong voice needed by all our people and what better person to make an example out of while trying to break our people by attacking our spirits through trying to claim the life of one of our own.
What they didn’t account for was the simple fact, that we as L’nu people are a strong and resilient people, we as L’nu people have the ability to overcome anything, even sickness. What they didn’t think could happen, happened! Delilah walked out of that hospital room and is making a recovery that baffles even the most scientific mind. Our prayers and love for Delilah saved her life, she will accomplish what Gisoolg sent her to do because of our ways, our voices will be heard.