Adding indigenous knowledge into any colonial system or context is not “decolonizing” or “indigenizing.” It’s just adding indigenous knowledge to colonial systems or context. – Andrea Landry (Anishnaabe)
whenever i hear songs from our ancestors, i am always left with a deep love and appreciation that moves my entire being. no words can explain or describe the feeling and experience of reconnecting to my ancestors.
i am usually left with a feeling that is a mix of amazed and in love with the depth and breadth of their Indigenous knowledge. although i don’t know the words to each and every song, when i sit and listen to the origins or the meanings of words, i remember my why. my deep and profound love for my ancestors is what leads me.
passed down from one generation to the next, i realize, i am one of the few last real Indians left among my people. there are not many of us who are practitioners of our ancestral ways of knowing. confounded and built on previously gained wisdom, i can literally hand count how many people of my generation are actively working to retain and maintain our cultural practices from ancestral past.
i lament for a time when all children and youth, elders, and adults would gather for cultural singing and medicine ways to help our people. spirituality, wrapped in its finest buffalo hide. it is winter and time to unwrap and open the dreams of our ancestors once again. annually across the interior Columbia Plateau upon the very first snow.
as i look around, when i count less than a dozen people from my generation, i feel sadness. I remember four little warriors dance across Mother Earth, and see a future that is brighter than any settlers rendition of hope.
i see a future where my ancestors-ancestors’ are still among us singing and dancing. i see them as old warriors and myself as an ancestor looking upon them. still a dreamer i can see my future children dreaming for themselves a better dream.
i feel blessed right now, and although these blog thoughts out loud are only words, my heart sings an ode to the ancestors shaping my future which is bright.
i am aware of who i am and it strikes me like a lightening bolt. jolted into my essence, i will never betray my Indigeneity.
the strength, wisdom, medicine, and spirit that i am comes directly from my ancestors and cannot be stopped.
strong with my creator, i have an awareness that is god fearing and absolutely positively trust in my journey.
i find solace in knowing that my spirit power will never be tamed. i also find strength in the fact that because it can not be tamed or corralled, its like riding a war horse that travels by lightening. the energy is in constant flux and motion.
the power comes from the fact that no one, not one person, can put Western thought into our Indigenous ways of knowing.
our songs predate the arrival of settlers and their erroneous narrative of Indigenous ppl across the world. how’s that for Native Heritage Month education and awareness?
as we celebrate family and slowly re-emerge back into the world post COVID, i am remembering what it means to be Indigenous.
it is not my federal enrollment that determines my Indigeneity, it is my deeply rooted culture, those very things that are not defined by western thought that make me who i am. it is an unspoken way of being that many have forgotten by which i live and breathe.
remembering the ways of our ancestors honors the work and lives they lived.
while we can’t change the past, nor take away their ancestral agency, we can continue to honor the ancestors with remembering.
remember their lived experiences through oral histories, and sing them back into this light of what remains.
they love to watch us from the lighted up place. they planted the seeds in our hearts. so sprout up from within Mother Earth like the precious seeds that we are.
the first snow has fallen and winter is here. seeds are wrapped and envelopes in love. may we continued to blossom and bloom with their love forever more.