in thinking about what it means to be Indigenous or Native, i find there are ways and teachings that have been passed down from generation to generation.
in one broad stroke i can tell you Indigenous knowledge and ways of being explains why our homes are often generational. grounded in kinship we are direct reflections of our ancestors.
we practice kinship as a value and principle that is grounded in love. more importantly as a responsibility and consciousness that goes back to how we care for and tend to our relatives.
we don’t throw people away, we do our best to help them. although there are some blurred lines, especially when it comes to child abuse and violent behaviors.
in general, historically, Indigenous families did not suffer the ills of violent behaviors because kinship practices were in tact and families worked to resolve any issues or concerns. the particular violent behaviors that we hear of were learned and passed down over the last hundred years in direct correlation to colonialism and the socio behaviors and ills passed down from settler society.
Indigenous research is proving the learned behaviors stem from childhood trauma experiences, and the harsh reality is rooted in the perpetuation of substance abuse. research is also finding, often times childhood trauma was perpetrated by a relative or friend of family who was trusted and yet inebriated and under the influence of substances.
the disconnection and correlation of broken families is a part of the settler colonial project and its assault on Indigenous people across the globe. unfortunately, most Indigenous societies were affected by settler colonialism in some form or another.
while there might be one society who has managed to keep people out of their community, i am certain most Indigenous communities in North and South America were assaulted and poisoned by the ills of settler society.
we were literally affected by the colonial violence that was brought over from Europe. the forced learning of their religion until any cultural memory of who we are was erased was the exact intent.
today, we can find Indigenous families who don’t speak their language, practice their ceremonies, know songs, and praise a Christian god who is not even from this continent.
i myself am one of those children.
relearning my language and learning the songs, and practicing Indigenous ways has been a journey. i’ve only been able to learn a little in the 27 years i have lived among my people, the Nimiipuu Nation.
you see, i was raised by my mothers people, the Diné Nation. as a matriarchal society, i was taught at a young age what it means to be a Diné adzhaan. cultural ways of knowing in my mothers ways taught me to be Indigenous and for that i am ever grateful and thankful for.
if it weren’t for that blessing, i honestly don’t believe i would be able to say what i can today. K’é is what saved me and it is what helps me to understand Himyuuma in Nimiipuutimt.
having ways teaches me to not only respect others, even when they don’t respect me, but to embody the teachings and values that educate my children on ancestral knowledges.
what little of cultural knowledge that has been imparted to me is a representation of how learning happens. at 49 winters i am but a reflection of my upbringing and have people who hate me for it.
i learned these people hate on others because 1.) they don’t know a person and 2.) people often hate what they don’t understand and thus is a reality of their limited cultural self awareness and ancestral teachings.
i’ve been among my Nimiipuu Nation to learn as much as i can and as a result, am learning there are people who were born and raised here who don’t know what little i’ve learned while here.
i made it a point to expose my children to the cultural knowledge keepers so that they would know who they were as they traversed out in the world. knowing who they are as Diné and Nimiipuu has been my life’s work.
at this time, i really just want to honor and thank those elders who taught and showed me what it means to be Indigenous. i do my best to learn and find there are teachers out there, we just have to be willing to open our hearts and minds.
the close minded and religiousness is a burn out. believe me, i experienced it with my own parents. the Catholic church did a number on my family and it’s why i struggle with my parents somedays. it was engrained in them to be pious and when they “sinned” were taught they were going to hell and purgatory.
that saddened me to hear when i learned they were children when the fear of an angry and jealous god would snatch their lives. i’m thankful today that i was born in a time and era of critical consciousness and awakening.
the age of Aquarius.
i happened to be one of those children who asked a lot of questions. at times i don’t think the catechism was helpful for my parents and it has proven to divide families, communities, and nations. critically, that mentality and settler logic or judgement must end in order for our children, the millennials and Gen Z’s to continue to reclaim our rightful heritage.
what an enormous responsibility they carry, and yet they do it so fluidly and effectively.
i love seeing Indigenous youth challenge settler colonialism and the church diocese with pure logic that is also grounded in ethics of Indigenous ancestral ways of being.
grounded in kinship, i know our future is bright and i’m here for all of its power and beauty.
as the Indigenous world turns, here’s to rising Indigenous nations and to the youth who help make this world a better place for those yet to come.
Yox kalo and Qeci’yew’yew hinuuywat the future is a brighter place filled with hope, love, and light.