Once Upon A Time....
Let me tell you a story - not a creation story, for my people, the Irish, are said to have not just one, or perhaps, ours were lost long ago – and yet, the tale I will tell you is an origin story nonetheless. It is not a pretty one, be warned, for ours is not a pretty tale, but one fraught with brutality and betrayal, confusion, loss, and profound grief. And yet, there is beauty still. Amidst the darkness in our tales, in the haunting truths of the stories we must remember now to tell ourselves, there may yet linger seeds, glistening seeds of hope, embers of an almost forgotten flame…Listen then, and let them take root in you. Let them catch on the soft down of your imagination, and start a wildfire of transformation.
Supported through shared conversation and collective action with Anishinaabe-kweg whom I continue to work with and learn from, my master's thesis was in direct response to urgent and diverse calls for a paradigm shift in consciousness. Heeding the words of Algonquin Elder Grandfather William Commanda-ba who encouraged us to "remember our original instructions", this work was my attempt to address the cultural and spiritual forces at the root of our current ecological, social, and personal crises of disconnection. It explores how I, as a white person living in stolen Indigenous land, grapple with my intersectional privileges and traumas, and how I might begin to embody more balanced, respectful, and reciprocal relationships with and within place. Through a process of learning, unlearning, and reauthoring my sense of identity as a Self-in-Relation, co-creating belonging through relational accountability and embodied action, I have come to know a deeper sense of connectedness and clarity about the great work of our time.
Now we are in the process of evolving these interwoven stories of relational trauma recovery, buried cultural memory, and critical spirituality into an accessibly written book so that more people can engage in this important conversation. Click the button below to learn more about our Art-as-Activism and how you can join in!
“There will come a day when life will hang by a spider web – that human beings will come close to total and complete death if the
Original Instructions are not followed.”
Gidigaa Migizi (Elder Doug Williams-ba)
Embodied Learning in Community
Deep Listening. Critical Self-Reflection. Collective Action.
Beginning decolonial work and becoming more accountable in our relationships with Self, Others, and Land takes an enduring commitment to do what Georgie Horton Baptiste calls the hard heart work. Transforming our consciousness involves deep inner work as well as a consistent willingness to keep showing up to the collective work of dismantling systems of oppression. For white people like myself, this also involves uncovering what we may feel entitled to while giving up the unearned power and privilege we unconsciously wield in this - to quote bell hooks - imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy.
What I have been discovering is that this process also bears gifts; profound gifts that we may not have even been aware of that we are starving for. Along the way, helping me to illuminate these gifts and to check and guide my thinking are Anishinaabekweg who have welcomed me, taught me, and supported me, and who have generously consented to be named here in this sharing space. I continue to work in collaboration with these women for the water and in the creation of this book for all of you.
For the members of Nibi Emosaawdamajig and the Sacred Water Circle, especially to Dr. Elder Shirley Williams (‘da boss / Auntie), Elder Dorothy Taylor, Liz Osawamick, Georgie Horton-Baptiste, Marjolaine LaPointe, and Grandmother Josephine Mandamin-ba, for your continued example making waves and transforming hearts and minds. Gchi-miigwech. Miigwech. Miigwech. Miigwech. I love you.
Continuing Spirals of Conversation
My vision for my work has always been to engage in Continuing Spirals of Conversation.
I want to co-create a safe space to embrace the uncertainty and discomfort of decolonizing identity work, where we can hold ourselves and one another accountable while we hold each other's hands, and where we can share and support the work of others.
You can be a part of this in more ways than one
Support The Book
We are seeking support by way of donations, words of encouragement, and by sharing the news with your networks. Financial contributions will go directly to the diverse folks helping me with the manuscript, editing, and publishing process, including honorariums for those involved in sharing circles and check-ins to guide this work.
**A portion of any and all proceeds of the book will be shared equitably among several BIPOC and Ecological Justice causes that will be determined by consensus with the Anishinaabekweg of “Nibi Emosaawdamajig – Those Who Walk for the Water” and the Sacred Water Circle.
"Our task is to shake the amnesia. To not be ashamed of our European-ness, but to reclaim our beautiful grandmothers, to reclaim our venerable grandfathers, to reclaim our lost languages, our lost ceremonies, our lost homelands and become one with the Great Sacred Motherland of Europe once again. The European diaspora is spread all throughout the world, searching the planet for something that lives inside."
Diné Artist and scholar
with European Ancestors