Bahai News - Canadian Baha'is Offer Sacred Words as Gift to Native Peoples
Canadian Baha'is Offer Sacred Words as Gift to Native Peoples
HAY RIVER, Canada, 15 September 2000 (BWNS) -- On September 9 the Baha'is
of Hay River hosted a feast to mark the release of a compact disk with
selections of Baha'i sacred writings, set to music and translated into six
languages spoken by the Dene peoples in Canada's Northwest Territories.
The release of the CD was the latest phase of a project launched four years
ago by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada to enable
Native Canadians to listen to the Baha'i scriptures in their own languages.
A CD in the languages of the Canadian Inuit was produced two years ago.
The feast was held at K'atl'odeeche, the Hay River Dene Band Reserve, and
opened with a drum prayer offered by the K'atl'odeeche drummers and a
traditional feeding of the fire ceremony. Ms. Susan Lyons, a member of the
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada, present a copy of the
CD on behalf of the Baha'is of Canada to Chief Pat Martel of the Hay River
Chief Martel received the gift and addressed the gathering at length, and
with obvious emotion, in his own language. He spoke from the heart about
the universal power of prayer, regardless of what source it comes from.
"When people are in pain you can help them by being kind," he said. "You
can pray for people. It doesn't matter who says the prayer."
One of the selections on the CD was a Baha'i prayer for the departed. As
it softly played in the background, one of the readers and translators
who worked on the CD recited the names of friends who had passed from
the community over the years.
The Hay River Baha'is then served a meal of moose and caribou stew,
bannock, whitefish, salads and desserts. During the meal other guests
received a copy of the CD. Then tables and chairs were folded and put
away for a drum dance by the K'atl'odeeche drummers. About 100 people
from the reserve came to the feast over the course of the evening.
"It was a spiritually charged evening with many questions asked and
answered and hearts touched," a participant reported. "Listening to
prayers in any language stirs one's soul, but when we hear them in our
own language it increases our knowledge and comprehension of God."
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