i relax to this music into a dreamscape because sometimes there is a deep longing for a time i can only dream about.
recently i watched 300 and it inspired me to read up on ancient civilizations from the classic era of the Persian Wars across the Mediterranean and wars between Sparta and Athens. watching 300 and reading about their warrior culture is interesting.
i have also been reading A Woman Among Warlords by Malalai Joya.
the understandings i had are no longer the same and i am rethinking the role of women. as a mother to a lil warrior, i am conscientious of how i present myself and realize warrior cultures go way back. in thinking more about it, i felt like i needed to read up on Spartan practices and found similar practices among both my nations.
the common thread is the patriarchy and corporal punishment.
the dangers of a patriarchy are many. although Spartan culture and practices diminished, not all of it was erased. today, there are Spartan boot camps and warrior mentality in military that seem to pop up.
as i read through their practices, i found the patriarchy has been hyper violent and hyper vigilant about its role towards women. historically, women were subjects and erased. the strength, resilience, and beauty of a woman that we have come to know with Indigenous Women Rising was a call to action of women reclaiming our humanity and society realizing Western heteronormative behaviors will no longer be accepted.
Indigenous women are not subjects to men, nor are we objects that settler society portrays with their racialized stereotypes of a poco hottie or naughty Navajo.
in both my nations, when a girl was the first born, it was an honor. to the headmen, they knew immediately the survival of their next generation depended on her. she was immediately born into a liskaw, aka a basket hat, and the responsibilities of caring for the people. perhaps one would critique this as a form of servitude, however, she was also born into privilege.
in Diné culture, a first born girl was favored because it meant the clan infinitely remained. she would continue a thousands of years old practice of burying her placenta near the home so as to tie her to the ancestors of the land.
as i think on this more, this does not even scratch the surface of the greatness of the Haudesaunee confederacy.
as i work through this deeply layered subject, i realize, it has been among Indigenous cultures since 1492. the issues related to Missing Murdered and Indigenous Women and Girls did not just begin when the pipelines started. its been happening since Columbus, Cortez, Hernandez, De Soto, Champlaigne, or Hudson to name a few.
the subjugation and violence against Indigenous women and girls has plagued us for too long.
as i continue to find more info on Sparta, i find it interesting that somehow, all a woman was known as was a mother. her role was to deliver Spartan boys, and if girls were born, what else could a woman be? girls were discarded, and if a woman did not deliver a boy, she could also be discarded too.
therein begins the story of how little girls were not valued, and when she became a mother, her value and worth was determined on whether or not she could deliver a son.
*this is when i love science and human biology.
today, human biologists have discovered that the gender of a child is actually determined by the male. so the “fault” or belief that a woman’s worth and inability to “give” a man a son is dispelled. its really the man who can’t produce a son and in a strange twist of fate, all his transgressions against women turn on him when he has daughters.
the erasure and violence towards women begins with little girls. Spartan civilization set the course for the next three thousand years in the expansion of the settler colonial empire. and i haven’t even gotten to the Crusaders, or how they would lead a violent assault against humanity in the name of power and control directly linked to religion
as i wind back, i think of stories i have heard among both my nations. among Indigenous cultures, we understand that a woman is more than a mother.
she is the first life giver.
she is the first teacher.
she is also first healer.
and a provider in her home that warriors are trained to protect.
how she provides is not built on a settler colonial construct, but one of responsibility, protection, song, ceremony, balance, and prayers.
she teaches her children how to survive and not be dependent.
she also shows her children where to find food.
she clothes them in the finest because that is what a mother does. how do we know that? because we watch our grandmothers who also show us what to do.
today, i am thankful for my grandmothers and aunties who showed me how to bead, sew, gather, cook, mend, and heal.
i carry my great-great-great grandmothers name. Li’ken’yut. it is an old Nimiipuu name. i was also named Woman Full of Life, by my late grandmother. both these names honor women who came before me.
as i think about the Indigenous worldview of a warrior, i realize it is different than a Western settler colonial construct. in particular, a Spartan warrior, an Indigenous warrior lives to protect the vulnerable.
as i continue to read up on this, i find in ancient civilizations, colonialism and its notions of empire, subjugated the role of women as secondary. as second class citizens women and girls were extended little humanity in the eyes of the patriarchy.
the overly romantic and naively ignorant me rethinks the movie 300 and how Leonidas addressed his queen in the romanticized scene where she makes eye contact with him to kill the messenger. in reality, she did not have that power and he would not have sought his wife’s approval. in reality, that time in ancient civilization was not at all good to women.
*as i listen and hear the strings of this lovely sound it makes me feel like i have also traveled back in time.
i recognize that era in world civilization was a cruel time for a woman. even if she was from a diplomatic, and or aristocratic family, the life of a female and girl was one that sometimes included discarding her at birth.
another side to this time in world civilization often glazes over slavery. Sparta, as i read, began warrior training at the tender age of 7. agogo was what it was officially named, and Spartans, an elite force of warriors, did not accept just anyone. not everyone could be a Spartan.
what little i have read and found has taught me slavery meant a lifetime of inherited indentured servitude until one was lucky enough to be chosen to be a Haeleot or, upon death in order to be released from that life.
as i work to unlearn and understand the heteronormative patriarchy, i find myself wrestling yet again with how deep my internalized hangups run.
how do we dismantle the patriarchy when we still have women that uphold the very institutions that keep us in chains?