Our planet is mostly water. We are mostly water. Water is Life. Water is a Healer. At least this is the understanding of many Traditional healers and the Elders I’ve sat with. They instruct us to speak to the Water, to ask the Grandmother for Her blessings.
Most of the social and spiritual gatherings I participate in are composed of people from a variety of ethnicities and beliefs. Coming from a multi-cultural background myself, this is usually not an issue. Yet, as years have gone by, I’m finding myself feeling increasingly uneasy at the upcoming of any new event. We all have cultural blind spots and a certain amount of ethnocentricity, yes. Because of this awareness, I try not to look for offense in the ignorance of others; we are all working from our own programming and we are all in different spaces. But this discomfort continues and for the longest, I couldn’t quite pin-point what it was that bothered me so much about non-Indian guests in our gatherings. Continue reading “Ayaca e’ Iguana: Decolonizing Indigenous Diets”
With the recent deaths occurring in an Arizona sweat lodge, three so far, many Indigenous Americans are rabidly repeating the mantras “That’s what you get when you mess with things you have no right to mess with”, “Non-natives have no right to participate, let alone conduct sacred native ceremonies” and “The spirits are clearly expressing their disapproval, when will non-natives learn?”
These are sad, angry and fear filled sentiments with which I do not agree. They weigh in my heart as I hear my relations repeat them at family events, powwows and even sacred gatherings. I have shared my feelings before pertaining to the separatist attitudes my relations have regarding our spirituality. Yet, further understanding compels me to revisit the issue and clarify, albeit to myself, this particular concern. Although I still do not agree with the segregationist views, I do believe my relations have some very good points and real reasons for concern. However, I suggest pause and deliberation lest our fears overcome and misguide us. By clarifying to ourselves exactly what it is that is really important, we can better express our concerns to others without sounding like rabid, bigoted hypocrites.
This is important because no one listens to rabid, bigoted hypocrites except other rabid, bigoted hypocrites and you end up preaching to the choir.
Wisegeek.com states “Adead language is a language which is no longer learned as a native language.” Wikipedia says that a dead language has no competent speakers and that an extinct language is one that has no speakers at all, be that by language replacement or language evolution. Examples of these are Modern English having evolved from the Old English spoken in Medieval times and the death of the Taino language of the Caribbean when replaced by Spanish and French.
The discussion I was participating in on the UCTP forum regarding the Taino language, inspired me to further research other indigenous peoples who may be like us; folks struggling with their own individual decolonization while trying to help heal that of their people, reviving the culture and those things that are important to it, making it all work together- past, present and future-in balance. A people that may be similar to my own, in the ways I feel are important. My priorities lie in relationships; how we relate to ourselves, how we relate with each other, with the community and with the world at large. This to me, is the basis of society, and everything else depends on it.
The thought of “Tau” being a religious corruption was a very interesting element added to the “Tau” discussion…
Some folks believe that “tau” is of christian origin because of the tau cross used by the Franciscan monks, as a mark of those who accept Christ as their savior, and maybe even the mark painted in lamb’s blood on the doorpost of the Israelite’s homes; protecting the first born of the household against the angel of death during the tenth, and final, plague the western God imposed on Egypt when ordering the pharaoh to “let his people go”.
There has been an uproar in the Taino community recently with regards to the word “tau” being used as a greeting. Apparently this word has not been found in any of the resources we have for Taino language, nor has it been found in any of our cousin languages… those that have been looked through, anyway. Added to this, is the growing trend in alarmist conspiracy theories that are weaseling their way into the heart of our people. I find this trend somewhat sad since herd mentality will encourage people who are scared to follow most anyone who’s calm under pressure and speaks authoritatively. Spook a herd of buffalo and they will stampede following the herd who in turn, is led by a buffalo that’s just as lost, but looks like he’s got a plan- even if it’s one that takes them all over a cliff. As if that weren’t enough, it seems that the personal choice to use the word “Tau” as a greeting has been made into yet another reason for hostility and disunity- a political controversy. Now it’s use has been made into a political statement that identifies a person as being with one faction of the Taino Movement or another. As if these flimsy organizational labels were of great importance! Continue reading “Some thoughts on the word “Tau””
These are some questions I thought very interesting, and I had never considered before. They were posted on an Indigenous Forum I participate in by someone whom I consider quite intelligent. The questions are regarding the Taino Movement and it’s people from 20+ years ago to the present. There are some people who have been part of this movement forever, in one way or another, and others, “newcomers”, who are just now discovering the possibilities of their indigenous ancestry.
Sometimes past and present don’t meet eye to eye and these questions seem to want to uncover the “why”, “because”, “porque'” of them.
I would add, that the questions themselves are also very telling. The answers are my own.
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