In the teachings I have been given about the Red Road, the true measure of a man is in how he uses his strength. The spirit of sma'knis - the warrior - is all about using one's strength to make the lives of your people better. This is done through protection, but it is also done through support and empowerment. A true warrior devotes his strength to making his people stronger.

This is never so true as when a warrior deals with the women in his life. True strength - strength of character - is often demonstrated through gentleness and respect. In the Mi'kmaq nation, women are revered as the givers of life, and as the holders of the sacred wisdom of motherhood that a man does not have access to. A man's greatest calling is to protect, cherish, and support the women in his life, and in his village, so that such wisdom can be shared. This is what makes his Nation strong, and that is the strength that he, as the warrior, can draw on in time of need. To break this sacred circle of trust and strength is to break the Nation.

These days, I see too many men who claim to follow the Red Road, yet who have personal issues that lead them to harm women. Sometimes this is done in the form of abuse, physical and/or emotional. Sometimes it is in the form of simple disrespect, to her face or behind her back. Either way, this goes against the teachings of a warrior protecting the women. Yes, this may all be caused by the long history of abuse the Nations have faced, but that does not make it right, nor does that make it acceptable.

Such a person needs admit that he is off track, and needs to speak with his Elders, and learn how to be a better warrior. He needs to learn how to temper strength with wisdom and gentleness. Most importantly, he needs to acknowledge the importance of women in the Nation. He will find that his life is going to be much more in balance, and he will have access to a kind of strength that does not poison his life and the lives of those around him. This strength does not come from ego... it comes from tradition, and from the Ancestors, and it is both beautiful and unstoppable.

If such a person fails to do this, then in my opinion, that person is not a warrior. He is failing to use his strength as he should, and is not following the Red Road. To put it bluntly, he is not even much of a man.

But this is just my opinion, and I am a man with blue eyes, and I still have much to learn.

Msit no'kmaq - All my relations.

Updated: 27 Mar 2016 Print Page