When referring to themselves, I’ve read that the Dene people prefer the self-naming term Denesuliné, which means ‘Human Beings.’
The human beings of La Loche are in terrible pain, the families of the seven murdered human beings are in unspeakable pain. The young human being who picked up a firearm last Friday and took the lives of four human beings, reportedly injuring seven more, remains in great pain. As Canadians, we are in pain. We are All in pain.
La Loche is nothing; a name. However, the Community of La Loche is made up of a great deal.
First it is made up of the letters ‘u’ and an ‘i’. Arguably a redundant account, I know. However I would like to contend that, since this past Friday many people have been pronouncing it with a distinct intonation of “them”. U see, the “us” that is implicated the moment we acknowledge the ‘u’ and the ‘i’ just seems too hard (embarrassing?!) for most to bear in this case. However – it remains – there.
The word ‘community’ will forever hold within its reach the call – the duty – to come. ‘Come! (‘u’ & ‘i’) Unity!’ The word ‘unite’ means ‘to bring together for a common purpose or action or ideology or in a shared situation’. Community, ‘Come! Unity!’ a call to duty..
We cannot allow the Community of La Loche to be reduced -by ourselves, news reports, or history – to simply “La Loche” in our collective memory (“Columbine”). We must continue to pronounce the community loudly (always the reminder to.. Come-! Remember Unity!).
The Denesuliné, indeed each and every ‘human being’ – our global community – is in need today. In particular, the Community of La Loche (including the ‘u’ and the ‘i’) is in need today. We are in need of hope, of compassion, of courage, of love, of support, of empathy. Let us give freely.
“Community” only exists when we recognize the ‘u’ and the ‘i’ in it.