Indigenous Voices: Tapping Into The Resilient-Self
Updated: Apr 19, 2020
A gathering with Indigenous Peoples from the Americas on being human, relationships, resiliency, decolonization, and the importance of Indigenous Voices in addressing the different crises we face as a species.
Indigenous Peoples : Represent about 5% of global population >370 million 5,000 distinct cultures ½ of living languages ½ live in a tribal system Inhabit 25% of earth’s terrestrial land Where 80% of world’s biodiversity is found
Indigenous Peoples are on the frontline of our environmental, social and economic crises. Despite 500 years of genocidal policies, Indigenous Peoples have not only managed to hold on to their cultural identity but have also led the fight against a socially oppressive and environmentally destructive colonialist system. Indigenous knowledge and systems should not "just" be an inspiration to us all, they should be welcomed into our collective reorganizing.
The art of listening is arguably the most underrated human skill in our western societies. In places like the Polar Circle, the Outback of Australia and the Amazon Rainforest, your ability to listen to your surroundings and senses is a matter of survival. It starts with listening to the elders, to the animals, the wind, the water. It is how all relationships are started.
Indigenous Peoples’ past and present environmental, social and economic contributions to the world have been systematically undervalued when not dismissed altogether. Our classic Eurocentric views have led to many misconceptions of Indigenous cultures and systems that have been detrimental in engaging with them in ways that are respectful, meaningful and reciprocal. And yet, the survival of the homosapiens, sapiens, may very well lay in understanding and integrating as much Indigenous People’s worldviews as we can, but not at their expense. When we speak of traditional systems, we speak of relationships that have been standing the test of time over centuries if not millennia. And yet, in “tradition” hides two very important characteristics: they are dynamic and adaptable. In other terms, they are resilient. Resilience is a key feature of Indigenous survival and therefore ability to withstand shocks to catastrophic events. These systems are often complex, born out of relationships between a group of human beings and their natural (the visible) and supranatural (the invisible) environments. Despite their incredible resilience, Indigenous Peoples are vulnerable. Not only do they rank at the bottom of every social and economic indicator, they are also the victims of continued discriminatory policies that undermine their ways of life, their human potential and their contribution to solving our social and environmental crises.
I am offering to explore three areas of collaboration with Indigenous friends and allies (see our guests' respective profile below). In each topic we’ll explore western constructs that are impeding human development and most importantly how we can and should work together with our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters to build the world we want our children to live in.
Thursday April 16 @ 11:00 am PST
Engagement Stream 1: On the relationship between myths and invisibility: How the decolonize movement is giving rise to Indigenous youth and what we can learn from them. a. Prophecies, myths or cultural features taken out of context attributed to Indigenous Peoples have contributed to their invisibility, whether in the form of cultural appropriation, romanticization, objectification. Indigenous Youths from the North to the South are reshaping those relationships using language, music and technology. b. In “decolonizing” there is “unlearning”, it is both how we can free ourselves from constructs or dogma and how we can use that newly-found power for better uses. Date Thursday April 16 @ 11:00 am PST Zoom call only
Monday April 20 @ 10:00 am PST
Engagement Stream 2: Allies, meet Indigenous People: Not an easy relationship. One elder I have the chance to work with reminded me over and over for 5 years: “Marc, every project your mind is creating has already been tried.” And pointing to a direction: “there is a cemetery full of them right here”. Indeed, westerners often come to Indigenous People with good intentions but fail to recognize that we’re not being asked to help but to support them on their own terms, meaning we first need to understand their systems and adapt our knowledge to them, and not ask them to learn our knowledge and adapt to our systems Zoom call only
Date Monday April 27 @ 10:00 am PST
Engagement Stream 3: Indigenous Rights, may be the most effective way to reverse climate change and protect biodiversity. We’re in a race to reverse the damage our lifestyles have caused to the environment. Policies are being shaped with very little input from Indigenous Peoples, which seems counterproductive considering we find the most pristine natural ecosystems in places they inhabit. Ecuador was the first country to enact in its constitution Indigenous and Nature Rights. Indigenous have in turn taken the state to court and won. Zoom Call Only
I'm honored and excited to be joined during these three sessions by:
Kanyion Sayers-Roods is Costanoan Ohlone-Mutsun and Chumash; she also goes by her given Native name, “Coyote Woman”.
She is proud of her heritage and her native name (though it comes with its own back story), and is very active in the Native Community. She is an Artist, Poet, Published Author, Activist, Student and Teacher.
Kanyon’s art has been featured at the De Young Museum, The Somarts Gallery, Gathering Tribes, Snag Magazine, and numerous Powwows and Indigenous Gatherings.
Micah Lott or Big Wind, an Arapaho Tribal Citizen (Hinono’eino) from the Wind River reservation, w/ Gros Ventre (Aaniiih), Cheyenne, Ojibwe, Lakota, Dakota, Nakota ancestry.
Big Wind has dedicated their life to fighting racial, systemic, and environmental injustice. They feel it is imperative that Indigenous voices are represented, consulted, and involved in Climate Action Plans (CAP). Stressing the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and correlating it to western climate science as an equal reliable source.
Tawna Little and Marcus Briggs-Could are Maskoke. Tawna is a Kvlice Maskoke person from the Skunk Clan. Marcus Briggs-Cloud of the Maskoke Nation is a son of the Wind Clan people and grandson of the Bird Clan people.
Marcus is a scholar, activist and musician, Marcus serves on various boards and committees that seek to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
awna is a Maskoke Artist and Language Revitalizationist.
They are the driving force behind Ekvn-Yefolecv Indigenous Maskoke Ecovillage centered in Weogufka, Alabama.
Daiara Figueroa of the Tukano indigenous people - Yé'pá Mahsã, clan Eremiri Hãusiro Parameri of the Alto Rio Negro in the Brazilian Amazon, born in São Paulo. Artist, activist, educator and communicator. She is a researcher on the right to memory and truth of indigenous peoples;
Coordinator of Radio Yandê, the first indigenous web-radio in Brazil - www.radioyande.com.
Rosa Canelos is a Kichwa-Canelos from Ecuador. Her work focuses on supporting Indigenous communities to reclaim or preserve their traditional knowledge. She was elected to manage the Women Development programs of the PAKKIRU government, an organization representing 25,000 Kichwas.
She has created along side her husband, Didier Lacaze Sacha Warmi a resource and information center entirely dedicated to Indigenous Peoples and their Traditional Knowledge and Systems.
You may contact me anytime : firstname.lastname@example.org