Home Editorial Total eclipse of the community 

Total eclipse of the community 

Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte The Eastern Door

Who knew people could make the eclipse political, but hey, this is Kahnawake, eh? Everything is political. Ha ha. 

From people saying it was planned, somehow (um, by who, exactly?), to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy outlining the traditional way our people viewed this event in the old days (a little tékeni entendre there), it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, even if you only read statuses on Facebook to see the latest conspiracy theories. 

Don’t look at it, look at it, don’t stare, stare all you want – the back and forth was comical and fitting of community members who will fight over absolutely everything just to make a point – even if it’s one that makes little sense. 

Cosmology isn’t perfect, sure, and it ignores Indigenous realities because we have been left out of research, with our feedback ignored for so long, but there’s a lot we could learn about the eclipse if we just listened instead of speaking out of our butts. 

But what an experience it was if you weren’t wearing tinfoil on your head, eh? Wow! 

Even some who downplayed it later embraced it and were caught up in how the energies moved through us, the way the birds stopped singing and looked for a place to nap; the way the frogs started up on their altered schedule; and the way people gathered and cheered, and cried. 

Some jeered, no doubt, and some stared to make a strange point that no one quite understands, but the sun and the moon’s spooning had an effect on everyone. 

It wasn’t the end of the world, and it wasn’t orchestrated by Trudeau, so once you stamped that nonsense out of your Facebook feed, you were left to enjoy a truly unique and beautiful experience. 

If you shared it with family, it was even more awesome! 

The eclipse – when the moon covers the sun completely – was seen or experienced by over 31 million people in its path. 

The next total eclipse is in 2033 in Alaska, while the US and Canada will see one on a larger scale in 2044 – 20 long, or short years, depending on how old and patient you are. 

It demonstrated clearly how the sun and moon affect our synergies, our moods, our very way of being, and many people who didn’t believe in it before certainly do now. 

Our people have seen many eclipses over tens of thousands of years, and they surely had their ways of dealing with them, celebrating them, and accepting them, but much of the knowledge is lost. 

Although we know a lot about it and it’s interesting to hear how we viewed (there’s that pun again) eclipses over time, we will never fully know the answers, and that part is fine. Mysteries are fun. Thinking about the way in which our people figured out what the world was like back then stretches your imagination and brings you back to a simpler time. 

Our people were smarter than Europeans made them out to be, and it would be cool to see their thought process, in the language, and what a total eclipse meant hundreds of years ago. 

In terms of the conspiracy theory stuff, which we sadly see far too much of these days in our communities, well, instead of enjoying it, too many were looking for reasons to dismiss it, and oddly enough, attack those who had glasses, who vowed to keep their eyes safe, and who were just acting like responsible parents and humans. 

If you didn’t see this stuff, you’re lucky. It’s not pretty. And it’s a growing phenomenon that stretches far past the borders of Kahnawake. 

Anyway, here’s to the next eclipse and whatever other fun and interesting things the cosmos produces. 

Ensuring our youth are part of beautiful things like this will hopefully inspire them to one day change the world we all live in for the better.

This editorial was originally published in print on April 12 in issue 33.15 of The Eastern Door.

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Eastern Door Editor/Publisher Steve Bonspiel started his journalism career in January 2003 with The Nation magazine, a newspaper serving the Cree of northern Quebec.
Since that time, he has won numerous regional and national awards for his in-depth, impassioned writing on a wide variety of subjects, including investigative pieces, features, editorials, columns, sports, human interest and hard news.
He has freelanced for the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Windspeaker, Nunatsiaq News, Calgary Herald, Native Peoples Magazine, and other publications.
Among Steve's many awards is the Paul Dumont-Frenette Award for journalist of the year with the Quebec Community Newspapers Association in 2015, and a back-to-back win in 2010/11 in the Canadian Association of Journalists' community category - one of which also garnered TED a short-list selection of the prestigious Michener award.
He was also Quebec Community Newspapers Association president from 2012 to 2019, and continues to strive to build bridges between Native and non-Native communities for a better understanding of each other.

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Eastern Door Editor/Publisher Steve Bonspiel started his journalism career in January 2003 with The Nation magazine, a newspaper serving the Cree of northern Quebec. Since that time, he has won numerous regional and national awards for his in-depth, impassioned writing on a wide variety of subjects, including investigative pieces, features, editorials, columns, sports, human interest and hard news. He has freelanced for the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Windspeaker, Nunatsiaq News, Calgary Herald, Native Peoples Magazine, and other publications. Among Steve's many awards is the Paul Dumont-Frenette Award for journalist of the year with the Quebec Community Newspapers Association in 2015, and a back-to-back win in 2010/11 in the Canadian Association of Journalists' community category - one of which also garnered TED a short-list selection of the prestigious Michener award. He was also Quebec Community Newspapers Association president from 2012 to 2019, and continues to strive to build bridges between Native and non-Native communities for a better understanding of each other.