So, while doing homework something starting biting at me. Something that re-lit a fire that was starting to die out. The reason to why I am doing what I do with our foods. Lately I've started to see a trend in indigenous foods that bothers me. Maybe its a personal thing. But it's something that needs to be said...
You can't fight racism with racism.
Read it again.
You cannot fight fire with fire and expect a different result. I've given presentations at school for classes where I bring this up. Decolonizing your diet, yes, is a good thing. But I'm starting to see a racist trend emerging and it's not good. I want to see a trend where healing intergenerational trauma is the goal. Where healing that broken bit that happened with boarding schools that tried to "kill the Indian to save the man". That broken part of our spirit that begs to be whole again, that leads to drinking, drugs and a seemingly never ending search to find our missing part. I know how this feels, it's the reason I had such a miserable time drinking, trying to fill a void I had and didn't know why.
But now I do. And I want to fix it so my children DON'T have to feel this, so my children and their children can come back to traditions, come back to our traditional foods, so they can feel at peace. ONLY WE can stop the intergenerational trauma. Holding a chip on our shoulders for what was done to us will only continue to make us sicker. It will only be passed on to our children.
LET IT STOP HERE. I turned around and faced intergenerational trauma. And some days I'm on my knees with one hand on my chef knife with tears in my eyes saying "No, it will end with me!" But I stay the path because it's needed. I remember that feeling of eating traditional foods at the food summit. That experience forever changed me in a positive way. It felt like home. For so long now, especially since my dad died I kept saying "I want to go home" but didn't know where that was.
But I do. It's in the river where the fish swim, it's in the manoomin fields swaying in the breeze where in fall we can harvest wonderful tasting food. It's in the heartbeat of the deer as they leap through the woods. It's in the screech of the eagles that nest on our lands. It's in the leaves of the squash plants. It's here, it's now and it's waiting for us to come back to it.
So stop trying to fight racism with racism. Instead fight intergenerational trauma, the true dark villain of why we are so broken. Yes, we need to fight for our lands and our rivers and lakes. Yes, there is a place to stand up and fight. But it's not fighting each other. It's not "You're too white to be native" good grief you'd be surprised at how often I hear that! At the craft show this weekend I had someone ask "was someone in your family tribal?" Um, yeah, me...but there we go again. I don't have dark hair, or dark skin or dark eyes. My brothers do. But I wasn't blessed with that gene. I used to dye my hair black to try to fit in but well...black hair makes me look even more pale. I've accepted how I look. No, I don't "look" native, but why does that matter? It shouldn't be about how we look. It should be about how we respect and honor traditions, how we come back to our language and foods.
It's about ensuring that we start coming home to traditional foods to fill the void. It's about not passing on that intergenerational trauma to our kids. It's about watching them grow up knowing our traditions, foods and language. So that someday when we have to all stand up to protect our lands we aren't fighting each other but supporting each other and protecting turtle island. Not every white person is a "colonizer" and not every person who doesn't know our foods/language/traditions are "not native". It's not about who knows the most and about who can teach. We need to teach each other what we know so that we all can come back home.
That is why I am working so hard to bring us back through food. Because once the flavors hit and you get rid of the "this needs salt" idealism the more you realize...that flavor...that smell...it feels like home. Part of me wants to say sorry for the rant, but this isn't a rant and I'm not sorry.
Fight intergenerational trauma, not each other.