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MIINI GIIZIS, Blueberry Moon 2020
ᓃᐙᒃ ᒦᓇᐙ ᓈᓂᒥᑕᓇ ᐊᔑᓃᔥ
July 4th is a symbolic colonizer ritual that weaponizes the land into a nation state for settlers to celebrate the triumph of white supremacy. The “freedom” celebrated on this day by millions of people, is a formal representation of genocide and slavery by colonists. The celebration of American independence on July 4th, signifies the ongoing oppression of African Diasporic Peoples and Indigenous Peoples of North America through a continuing legacy of stolen land and stolen labor. This settler society on occupied Turtle Island continues these traditions of violence and oppression to this day.
In other words, don’t get us f*cked up. Let’s honor our relationships with the sacred land and not colonial infrastructures & holidays rooted in white supremacy.
This action of The Waawiiyaatanong Resurgence is taking place during the blueberry moon. During this blueberry moon, the blueberries are at their sweetest. We also receive a beautiful amount of medicine from the thunderbirds moments after the recent summer solstice; as the thunder and lightning of summer storms herald us into the second half of the year with great changes.
In the sacred spirit of the story, it is said that when a young boy becomes a man he gets thunder in his voice after a blueberry becomes stuck in his throat, and this thunder medicine brings great depth and importance to his voice.
The Anishinaabe, sacred beings of the lands, and the diasporic Africans, sacred beings stolen from their land, will join together in solidarity to form spiritual bonds through ceremony to heal the land and exchange ancestral knowledge. Our ceremony today has three intentions:
- Our first intention is to acknowledge the land and honor the spirits of the people who have been destroyed by colonialism and its consequences. We seek to uplift forgiveness with the spirits for not honoring our native ways and falling into the traps of assimilation and erasure. We would also bring clarity to a traumatic past, re-establish connection with the land, and ask for guidance for the future.
- Secondly, we seek to acknowledge the African diaspora by uplifting and honoring Black life stolen by the colonial institutions. The displacement and enslavement of African people to work this land, is disrespectful to the land and its people. We therefore ask for healing for Black lives as they face their own ongoing battle with the colonizers. We honor Black lives as our relatives, acknowledging and helping to release the trauma the colonial structures have imposed on Black lives. Our struggles are intertwined.
- We uplift prayers to our white accomplices and community members who likewise seek to destabilize colonial power and uplift indigenous resurgence.
MISI-ZAAGA’IGANI ANISHINAABEG ZIIBAASKA`IGANAGOODAYAN
The jingle dress was created by the Ojibwe people of The Mille Lacs Band of Anishinaabe during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. It came as a dream to a father who’s daughter was ill with the virus. His dream revealed the new dress and dance that had the power to heal. When the dresses were made, they were given to four women to perform the dance. When the little girl heard the tinkling of the jingles, she became stronger. During the big drum ceremony she was dancing again.
The healing aspect of the dance is carried through the sounds that the metal jingles make as the dancer moves. We started making jingle dresses here as soon as we lit the sacred fire, IshKode Meshkikwin, on May 30th, 2020. Our women & 2 spirits dance in these dresses to cleanse the land of energies brought to it by colonial rule and oppression. July 4th is the right moment to perform this cleansing ceremony because of its symbolism to the colonizers. We chose to cleanse the land at Campus Martius, due to its history of use for colonial power and its current ongoing symbol of gentrification, as known as settler colonialism. Our purpose is to cleanse this land to prepare it for the Anishinaabe, relative indigenous communities, and local communities to thrive on it again without being haunted by poisonous colonial legacies.
In what is commonly referred to as Detroit, Anishinaabe math & science knowledge unveils the language and the knowledge of the land here, Waawiiyaatanong, where the land bends with the water.
Since May 30, 2020, IshKode & The Aadizookaan have helped build and host the base for The Waawiiyaatanong Resurgence. This is ground zero for the Anishinaabe and other nation relatives to gather in Detroit and have access to a sacred fire to support Native ancestral technology, Black Life, and the ANCIENT FUTURE.
The goal of our resurgence is to create political and social paradigm shifts that will divert power away from the colonial patriarchy, and to an indigenous matriarchy headed by women and two-spirited people. We demand a halt to the continuous step of colonization by reinstituting indigenous names for the land, re-indigenizing traditional knowledge systems, and reestablishing sacred relationships with the land. Colonialism flourished on a diet of stolen land and stolen labor. Reviving the relationship to the land breaks the bonds of colonial power.
Waawiiyaatanong Resurgence is a movement rooted in Anishinaabe Meshkikiwiin; uplifting original native organizing structures and protocols that honor the sacred relationships to the land and creation. Ways to think of this work is Language, Land, & Legend:
The original LANGUAGE of the land, people, and creation of the Anishinaabe has had its existence threatened by the violent history of settler colonialism on Turtle Island. Restoring the language includes renaming and replacing violent colonial words, organizing our understanding of the passage of time around the moon cycle, and sharing knowledge of medicine and the land. If the language dies the people die. Restoring the language and sharing it with everyone supports native lifeways and ways of being, and shares the original connection with how people live their lives. The land speaks to Indigneous peoples differently because our creation stories have to do with the land. Working with the language in all types of ways revitalizes it, and therefore revitalizes the people and the land.
The LAND provides us with food, shelter, medicine, and self defense. Therefore, the land is a member of our community and not something to exploit. The land defends us and allows us to grow and develop and care for traditions. Without the land, we would be dead.
Our relationship with the land is extremely important. Part of our work is shifting our relationship with the land back to Indigenous lifeways. Our goal is to share community education about the land we live on as if it is a part of our community or our family, in order to shift the paradigm of how we relate to the land.
The land, furthermore, is our mother and has been exploited and abused. This exploitation and abuse has therefore leaked out to the women in our community. The patriarchy is a colonial construct. Women, who move with the moon, must lead us in repairing our relationship with the land. Empowering women & 2 spirits in leadership directly defies the patriarchy.
When we speak about “LEGEND” as a tool for the resurgence, we refer to the sacred spirit of the story. Through telling our story, we give voice to our experiences and generational trauma at the hands of the colonizers. The art being created, including poetry, music, food, visual arts, etc, are all legendary pieces of the resurgence. This is how we celebrate. We are living the legend at the moment and we celebrate our growth as we grow. Celebrating creativity and creation allows us to share with each other in a way that’s uplifting and educational for the community. Legends provide us with political education, documentation, and synthesis of information. People have used legends for thousands of years as tools of education, in order to be passed down to future generations. This is exactly what we’re doing here.