I look forward to a world where people will no longer feel like they have to destroy your culture to learn from it.
(Because all these innovations and pioneering ideas are ancient… especially within my ancestral history… but a culture who destroyed children set out to destroy the world to find it’s answers)
Tribes of peoples who carried their infants on their back to ensure they were always close were destroyed for the shame it instilled in a diseased explorer.
Nations of people were destroyed for their deep and loving connection to the earth… so heartless invaders – I say heartless with sorrow, not anger – torched the centuries old trees which the peoples loved so dearly. The trees were a race of people as well, we knew that.
Shame was projected onto those cultures of people who could walk naked within their villages and day-to-day activities. Their love of their own bodies enraged grimy sailors – again due to fear and shame – so much that they raped and slaughtered these people.
Why? Because if you love yourself so much, and love this world so much, then my parents and my culture must not be as safe and loving as I was trained to believe it was… That cannot be true, yet I know it to be. I simultaneously wish to merge with you and destroy you. I can’t merge with a love I can’t fathom, so I destroy it.
This is why we must never assimilate. The colonizers may have had their own M.O., but to be truly Indigenous, one must look at how their ancestors conducted themselves and seek to follow that M.O. even if it feels impossible today.
It is easy to blame – but that is a colonial concept. My culture has no word for “sorry.” If there’s no word for sorry there is nobody to blame, right? But, usually this idea is worldview is brought up, because if we had no word for sorry, we just were extremely responsible for our own actions. If I know I did something wrong, I won’t do it again. Simple as that. My point is, that I feel that my culture focused on finding solutions to problems. There was no desire to shame someone for making a mistake.
If you took my knife, what would I do? I’d like to think that because we were not so possessive about our stuff many possibilities were available to us in terms of solutions. Maybe I’d think, “Well, they must’ve needed a knife. I can make another.” Or, if I felt concerned – maybe I actually really liked that knife – in a culture that isn’t shaming if I say, “You took my knife.” Your initial response would be of kindness rather than defensiveness. Maybe you’d say, “Oh, have your knife back.” Or a conversation could happen in which either I get my knife back, and maybe I give you something because you need a knife, maybe I give you some material you need to make your own. Maybe I tell you who makes good knives. Maybe I ask if someone has a knife you need. Maybe your mind was somewhere else, and maybe I don’t judge you for your mind being off somewhere. But, we pay attention to you in case something’s up.
I’d love it if the world we lived in today had much of my culture intertwined into the dominant culture. I really would. Education would begin in the womb. You could observe a mother’s mannerisms while she’s pregnant to get to know how the child will be outside the womb, and even the activity in the womb can describe some things about the child. Example, my one son loved being nestled in my right hip, or my right rib, and when he came out that was still his favourite side.He had hiccups a lot when I was pregnant wit him, maybe that could’ve told me something that I never figured out. We would’ve observed our infants and toddlers and saw, “They really like that material, let’s keep it around them so they can build a relationship with it.” Maybe they liked cedar, maybe they’d weave or build canoes? Maybe they liked maple – would they make paddles? They liked oceanspray – would they make arrows? We’d pay attention – and I hear these things being talked about today like it’s a brand new idea, but it’s not. Sometimes it’s very sad to me, because 1. I didn’t get this kind of education even though I could’ve had it if my culture were not interrupted 2. my people have said the education system in North America is messed up for over a century – I’m sure – but NOW people are starting to finally listen. It’s sad, but it’s like “Thank Creator, finally they’re getting it.” lol
The colonial world creates so much shame. However, the Indigenous worldview of which my ancestors believed in was of generosity, respect, and trust. That there is no shame in our bodies, and no shame of going through hard times. The hard times I speak of are what we today would call Poverty. Hard times of my ancestors would be if a family lost somebody, so they were in grief. My ancestors knew how to take care of people through the hard times. So, when I think of this world that is in alignment with my Indigenous worldview, it would be one in which the affluent would ensure that the impoverished were fed, clothed, and sheltered. There’s no shame in that. However, it’s hard to shed that, even for me. People say it, all the time, but that idea of, “I need to make my own way, by myself.” is hard to shake. It does feel like shame if I can’t do so. My people really did value hard work and discipline, but our first rule is to be kind, as my elder John Elliott says very often. So, to be hardworking and disciplined you need to be treated well, first.
I look forward to a world where we treat each other well, first.