as an Indigenous woman i am bound to some deep cultural teachings that have kept me afloat during times of darkness.
in thinking about what it means to be Diné and Ni’mii’puu i think its important to share we don’t view the world in the same way as non Natives do.
our epistemological and pedagogical views woven in with our ontology truly do shape how we also understand our entire existence which spans thousands of years.
i’m encouraged this morning because i woke from a dream of my grandmother Clara.
i know she is with me.
she keeps guiding me from the other side. the unexplainable feeling of peace and understanding that comes from her presence is love.
she reminds me, as a Ni’mii’puu we have a dreaming culture. we teach our children they are real. as we ascend and become closer to spirit, our dreams also become stronger. when ancestors visit, its them.
she was fixing my hair. combing it with the straw comb that she had made and was showing me the corn field. her hands were so soft and loving and gentle, just like when i was a little girl.
when she stood up she spoke to me and said i had to clear up the field so we could go plant. i looked up to her and asked, “shi’nahli, what are we planting?” as she stood up, she looked down at me and smiled a smile so bright the sun was shining and made me wake my eyes open.
lying in bed i stared up at the ceiling and thought about her message. it endears me to her so much still. she was my mother figure and im thankful for my life because of her. her gentle loving hands used to card wool, weave rugs, shuck corn, cut meat, sew patches on socks, chop wood, milk the lambs, water horses, feed the cows, and make medicine to name a few.
as i laid in bed contemplating the day’s adventure, memories of her came rushing in. gawd i miss her. i am so thankful and grateful for her teachings and our kinship systems. there is a reason why children are left with their grandparents.
i think of how white settler colonial systems try to shame us for not being raised by our parents, but what they dont know is our reasons and why we practice kinship.
who we are and how we come to be is grounded in a system of what they might consider is abandonment, or some rudimentary form of social welfare. when in fact, Indigenous families literally raise one another so that we can practice the ancestral way of family.
i am so moved by this right now i had to blog about it. gawd how i miss her and her homemade tortillas for breakfast. man, sometimes she brewed Navajo tea and made blue corn mush. other days she made potatoes with dried meat. somedays we had left overs of fried chicken, and everyday, we had tortillas. somedays they were fresh, somedays not. it was just her and i and i cant express enough how thankful i am for her right now.
another deep memory i have of her was the time i was stung by an ant. it hurt so much i cried and as it began to swell i remember her telling me to sit down. as i cried she sang or rather hummed a lullaby to me and said she was going to clean it.
the next steps she did have stayed with me forever. she got medicine from the earth and proceeded to rub it into the sting. soothing me with her words and sharing a story about how we are to not bother the ants and respect their homes.
she calmed me down, wiped my tears, and looked me in the eyes and smiled, just like she did in my dream. she was such a beautiful and strong Diné woman.
i had the best grandmother around i tell you. im so thankful for our Indigenous ways of knowing. nothing on white mans science can ever beat the songs and ceremony we carry with us.
i was reminded of being taken into ceremony as a little girl and given a protection song. that is the song that protects me to this day. can you guess who did that for me? her smile is guiding me right now and today, im in a place filled with deep love.
she visited me to remind who i am and the place where that medicine song was made is where i gather strength. it is above the corn field where she used to take me.
its Native American Heritage Month and i have never been more proud to rock my moc’s into a meeting in “Washindohn” *as she used to say*. im in the heart of this settler government for a meeting and ready to plant some seeds. she woke me to tell me she cleared the way for me.
Ahe’eeh shi diyin dineh, ah’aasii ahe’eeh di’dehł’shnił.