it's been a while
and i've been thinking lots
and i read this great book by Martin Prechtel
The disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun
and i read news articles about missing people and found bodies
of black men being shot by police, and police being shot by black men
and i've been picking berries and thinking about human relationship with land
and processing salmon and feeling my relationship with land
and how we give race such importance
compared to the ways we conduct ourselves
in our relationship with life
isn't how we relate to Life, what is important,
rather than the skin we're born into
and these beautiful bodies entrusted to us through birth
Martin Prechtel writes
The people I was raised with on the reservation were not my blood relatives, and yet my own background had a home alongside thousands of indigenous Pueblo people. I learned early on that conformation to a race or a particular ancestry did not make a person indigenous. Though there are tribes, bands and villages of Native people all over the world who are closer to their Indigenous Souls than the mounting masses of people who have no idea of what that means, it is not the racial ancestry of these Indigenous people that make them indigenous. This insistence on making Indigenousity and Race the same thing is a stigma of people who have recently lost or anciently forgotten their relationship with the ground they stand on. Like the original Indian reservations, this stigma is designed to keep the indegenousity of modern people hidden like a refugee deep inside the landscape of their own Earth Bodies, far from the epicenters of their everyday consciousness, thereby avoiding the discomfort of the nagging feeling of grief about that loss.This theme of belonging and notion that as humans we belonging to this larger thing called Life through our breath, creativity, defecation and digestion of the physical gods that surround us disguised as plants, animals, water, and minerals, reminds me of hearing scholar and traditional knowledge keeper Dan Longboat inviting a room full of non-native academics to live on this land as if it is there's, because the solution to the contemporary ecological and social stresses requires all of us to be part of the solutions.
The term indigenous is not an indigenous English word, but has a rather nice Latin ancestry whose parts Inde and genous anciently signify "inside" and "born," respectively. Over time it has come to mean similarly "native to place."
So, indigenousity must refer to a person, plant, animal or thing who "belongs" to a place, something that is at home.
What is almost always erroneously translated from Tzutujil Maya into English as the verb is [to be] corresponds more correctly to the word Ruqan meaning "carries" or Ruxin, "belongs to."
This phrase "This soil carries my people, we belong to this land" inspires me to continue engaging closely with the food, transportation, clothing, heat, etc... of my life - as through the active participation in meeting my, and my families, needs comes the opportunities to be sensitized and humbled by the larger Life that sustains this little life of mine - so that through my living I am a benefit to the beauty that is - and that you too become a warrior for beauty as expressed by this flowering jewel that is the earth - regardless of our race, let our actions represent our selves as expressions of Life. And in this way, through service to Life, we can transcend anti-racism by breathing life into what Martin Prechtel describes as our Indigenous Soul, that part of each of us that is hungry to be in love and grief with Life.
Where as in English we might say, "That is how those people are," in Mayan we could only translate that sentence as Ruxin wa ja vinaq, which actually means, "It belongs to those people." When an American settler says, "this is my land, this land is mine," a Mayan would end up having to put it Javra uleu rugan cavinnaq joj, ruxin joj ja uleu, which comes out as "This soil carries my people, we belong to this land."