Kat Norris: Jack Layton was trusted above other political leaders

Local Coast Salish activist Kat Norris wrote the following letter in response to Jack Layton's death:

Hey Jack, we First Nations/Indigenous people wish to express our deepest condolences to your family, and as you start your journey onto your next life, that we truly appreciated your strength of spirit where it regarded the rights of our people. We, as an entire nation, understand that politics isn't perfect, many don't trust it, but it is a necessary evil we must deal with, and you above all, were the one person our people and leaders trusted.

In regards to the long-awaited public apology regarding our people's residential school holocaust, your apology, was the only that many of survivors and elders accepted with open hearts, allowing the tears to flow, thus allowing to begin the journey to healing.

In our Salish beliefs, we are blessed to be here for a short time on this earth.

When our journey on this earth comes full circle, and it is time to move into the spirit world, we look back on our lives and the people in it, letting them know, in a way only they will understand, 'I am okay.". And our loved ones on the other side wait with open arms, taking us to the pinnacle of the mountain and our lives become complete.

Jack, your good work and words on behalf of our people will become a teaching. For us, it means, basically, that someone within the realms of ‘power,’ cared, that someone was listening to us, to our elder’s quest for justice, for healing.

In the white world, your words will become teaching tools for those who follow behind.

I believe you will not be afraid to look back because we, and those elders who listened to your Residential School Apology, will be here to tell you that, for our people, “you did a good job Jack... move forward with no regrets..”

Kat Norris
Lyackson First Nation
Salish Nations
Indigenous Action Movement

Comments (12) Add New Comment
Tiffany Anderson
Thank you Kat for posting this. My tears have been flowing all day since I woke to this very sad news. We all will miss Jack so very much. He was like a light at the end of a tunnel, and now the light has burned out. R.I.P. Jack Layton.
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Nic Slater
Jack's favourite quote:

"Courage my friends, it's not too late to build a better world." Tommy Douglas


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janebouey
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Zucomulwat
Thanks Jane. Yes, I posted his apology to my fb page yesterday, so heartfelt and yah.. so glad it's been captured for eternity.
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SheriDee
Thanks for your letter Kat. You are also an inspiration to our people!! :)
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Emil
...You say "jack was trusted above other political leaders" I am sorry but just because you said it does not make it true.
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Goldorak
"In the white world"...
Woaw that says it all about your xenophobic mind. Pouah!
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L. Clemens
Thank you for your beautiful, healing and motivating letter.
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KateJohnson,
RIP Jack Layton,your apology meant alot to us,residential school survivors,we knew it came from your heart, we felt it,when you spoke,
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Kat Norris
@ Goldorak: Thank you for your attention.

The Indigenous people's world, (around the world), we live in is much changed. I think if you read my letter correctly, you'll see that, in fact, I do not put down any culture other than the political structure.

"In the white world," basically, I mean, in the political arena, where I hope that the work that he did, would bear meaning, to those who step into his shoes.. those whom we, as First Nations people will, hopefully (not just try) to develop a reasonable working relationship WITH, to ensure fair representation.
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Kat Norris
@ Emil. Your response is very true, and, I believe you probably speak for many, and... I believe that goes without saying.

However, it is, again, from a 'Canadian' Indigenous perspective, for today, not for the past, nor for the entire world. Hychka
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Nigel Carruthers
That's an awesome message from the First Nation's people. Jack was a breath of fresh air because he fought clean and fairly and brought a lot of good for many disadvantaged. After seeing, recently, right here in BC how most politicians work to gain and keep power, at all costs, just to create their own personal legacy and wealth...it's very depressing. Very sad to say goodbye to Jack.
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