ABOUT ANCESTRAL REMEMBRANCE & HEALING WORK
"I am beginning to believe that we know everything, that all history, including the history of each family, is part of us, such that, when we hear any secret revealed our lives are made suddenly clearer to us, as the unnatural heaviness of unspoken truth is dispersed. For perhaps we are like stones; our own history and the history of the world embedded in us, we hold a deep sorrow within and cannot weep until that history is sung."
- Susan Griffin, A Chorus of Stones
This work was taught to me by Kimmy Johnson and Atava Garcia Swiecicki, both of whom are students of Dr. Apela Colorado. It is a spiritual practice. It is about identity and sense of self. It is about learning and unlearning. Opening ourselves to view the world through a new lens. It is work that is hard. It is work that takes commitment. It is work that lasts a lifetime. I describe the work as having three pillars -- pillars that are deeply intertwined and interwoven, like roots of a tree.
Building a Relationship with Your Ancestors
My teacher Kimmy says, "our ancestors are waiting to hear their names called." They are waiting for us, they are ready to support us on our journeys. Building a relationship can and will look different for everyone. Like any relationship, it takes time and commitment. It can be learning the stories of your ancestors, learning their names. It can be learning their language. It can be an ancestral offering and prayer. It can be through dreams. It's about starting a dialogue with your ancestors and building a relationship of reciprocity. It's about learning to listen and follow where you're called.
Recovery & Decolonization of the Indigenous Mind
We all have ancestors who practiced earth-based spirituality, we all have ancestors who lived in relationship with the natural world. We all have an indigenous mind. The process of the recovery of the indigenous mind is one in which you learn, or remember, how to live in relationship with the natural world. You learn the practices of your ancestors -- their rituals, their belief systems, their medicine, their stories. It is about seeing the sacredness in all things. It is a process of deconstructing the ways we've been conditioned to view ourselves and the world, and opening ourself to a holistic worldview. The lens from which our ancestors once viewed the world, the lens of the indigenous mind.
Ancestral Grief & Intergenerational Trauma
Sobonfu Somé described ancestral grief as a bucket filled with water that's passed down your lineage -- generations add more and more to the bucket until it's overflowing. Epigenetic science has proven that the experiences, whether uplifting or harmful, of our mothers and grandmothers leave a genetic imprint on our DNA. Uncovering and facing into the ancestral grief and intergenerational trauma is a process of exploring the wounds that have been passed down to you. Unearthing what's been kept in the dark and bringing it to light. I believe that the trauma we experience in our lives is history repeating itself and we experience it so we can heal it. When we heal ourselves, we heal our ancestors. We can break the patterns.
It is about facing into the colonized and the colonizer within. Exploring how these aspects of ourselves manifest, how we are perpetuating patterns our ancestors started. Bringing awareness to our ancestors' and our own roles in systems of oppression; bringing awareness to the ways in which they and we have been harmed by the same systems. It is a process of learning how to hold all of the truths of our ancestry and all of the aspects of ourselves.