Greetings from the beautiful southwest in Akimel territory. The Valley of the Sun, although not my ancestral homeland is a special place, and where I send my greetings today.
I have learned that being Indigenous is a birthright and having been born into two very distinct and strong nations, I am from the With the Rock clan of the Diné Nation and born for Asqaapo (Rough terrain and Hill clans) of the NiMiiPuu Nation.
My birthright does not begin as some fairy tale story the writers as Disney or Pixar could animate, but actually a stark reminder of the colonization nations have endured. I’ve blogged thoughts out loud about my origins and won’t bore anyone with those details anymore than I already have, but what I will share is being from two culturally distinct nations has not been easy. It is a fine delicate balance that involves a lot of spiritual grounding, song, ceremony, and humility.
In my humility I have learned I do not know much because each time I embark on an family visit whether its here in the SW or back onto the Rez on NiMiiPuu, I have found humility and humbleness is necessary for me. I can’t speak for anyone else and can only share what I recently experienced while visiting family.
I found beauty above, below, all around, and within. The four directions and early morning prayers with my grandpa, Aunty, mom, sisters, and children were the most powerful in all their still and quiet ways. There was nothing loud, boisterous, or egostictical about the moments, just purity in spirit.
As I listened to how we are to pray I realized I had taken for granted the instructions while living away from family. I also realized I have been taught many things but did not want to practice or participate due to some internalized racism and self hate without knowing it. In my humility this is something I realize and am more aware of as I was surrounded by family.
Without our family, we are alone and that can be isolating. I believe it’s a sad thing and could not imagine not having family around me. In my realization I understood how powerful and amazing prayers with family can be. The instruction, as we are told, is grounded in knowing the day starts and begins before the sun even rises.
We pray early in the morning to nah’ye and the diyin dine’h are up listening for people to bless. Basically just watching to see who is awake to receive the blessings they so lovingly want to bestow upon. Hearing my grandpa imitate and imaginatively say, “They say, ohhh there’s our ppl, it feels so good to hear our children sing and pray.” was unlike anything I’ve known. He was sharing with us what he had been taught and teaching us how to view our spiritual world. In those moments, I learned my Cheii was such a blessing. For that I am ever thankful and grateful.
As I create space for my children and I, in both Diné and NiMiiPuu, I have found that I am exactly where I am meant to be and am grounded with the foundation of Indigenous knowledge and values of my ancestors. The teachings in both cultures, especially with language, and where song and ceremony exist, have taught me I have so much more to learn and I look forward to each new day.
After hearing one of our elders share he’s 99 years old with a lot to share and stories to tell, I saw a twinkle and shine in his eyes that was such a blessing. Although I tweeted some of his story, I did not get to tweet others which I believe are blessings that I get to take back home to NiMiiPuu with me and my children.
Rejuvenated and blessed with food, family, and healing laughter, my kids and I trek back to our NiMiiPuu homelands filled with happiness, blessings, memories, and most of all love. Blessed and ready to get back atem, my cup runneth over.