I’ve known for some time now, that my family has some kind of Indiginous decent. My two siblings and I share Métis status, through my Mother, along with many other relatives on my Scotian (East Coast of Canada, for my Brits).
Although I’ve never been more excited, to enter this brave new world of culture and tradition, all the digging, searching for answers has left me empty handed, feeling stuck and frankly, lost. How does one track records that don’t exist? How can you connect with elders you’ve never known? Learn language and lost tradition with no context?
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by one of the greatest painters on earth (Gordon Shadrach, google him if you have not seen his brilliance). During this interview for a special project coming out next year *hella excited* he asked me some questions that really struck me at the core. Questions about my lineage, connections to garnments, tradition, ceremony. To whom and how my indigeny is connected, validated. What the word ‘home’ means to me, having recently re-located to Bristol, England. Feeling utterly speechless, it sent me on a road to uncover answers. Answers I still don’t have to questions relentlessly bubbling inside. After another two months of looking, and enlisting a friend to help with the excavation, I closed my laptop at the 11th hour, and cried.
This got me thinking. I cannot be th only Black Canadian searching. I cannot be the only black woman digging for answers that may not even exist, in a Country whose goverment could give two fucks about. Through every search, the same fucking images would appear. Natives of my homeland depicted as seen by its goverment. As ‘uncivilized’ as Ab-original. What a word. Speaking frankly (couldn’t stop now even if I wanted to, ha) what a goddam insult. Ab prefix of Latin origin, meaning away; from. Put that together you’ve got Ab- original, away from original, sub original.
From the missing women that the government refuses to classify as a National crisis, to the lack of basic human rights on many Reserves to date, I have little faith that I will find these answers anytime soon. Fortunately, I will never stop searching, no matter how long this journey takes, no matter where the paths lead.
I cannot fake my deep inner connection to Spirit. I cannot fake the invisible string-like-feeling that draws me from the core to Century year old trees (one of Bristol’s abundant gems. Praise Goddess). The smile- like-energy I’m infused with with the rest of a flat palm on rough bark. That resonating-Godd-ess-like feeling that draws me to the ocean. I couldn’t ignore the Church-like energy I get from being in nature, the deep connection I’ve felt to plants and animals from birth, even if it served me, even if I wanted to. Although I don’t have concrete answers, my heart tells me there is much to be explored.
This brings me to my final point. I (we) must honour the Ancestors the only way I know how. Through intuition. A marvel that could only come from Foremothers of all origin. Through what feels right in the body, through the creative energy I feel flowing freely inside myself. If the painted lines on my face confuse you, good. They are not for you. They are how I reclaim what’s been stolen, a way for me to get deeply reconnected to myself and in turn, every Mother that has come before me.
This post goes out to any and everyone, especially the Black inhabitants of Turtle Island, that are searching like I’m searching. Who apparently don’t exist. Who’re tired of the same fucking narrative being told again and again, perpetuating the same trauma widening the gap, instead of filling the void. Let’s create a new narrative. One born of honouring all aspects of Spirit, Love and Oneness through the beauty that resides in us, connects us. A narrative that explores embraces and includes rather than continually perpetuates and re-lives deep trauma. I’ve begun a new creative project that I’ll hopefully be sharing with you all in the early New Year.
# B L A C K W O O D.
Endless love and ever light,