Really excited for this final session of the #Indigenous History Conference today!
Robin Wall Kimmerer is first up. If you haven't read her classic BRAIDING SWEETGRASS, you should get the beautiful special edition of it now (would make a great holiday gift!) from Milkweed Editions @Milkweed_Books:…
Kimmerer: Will discuss the prophecies of the Seventh Fire which counter the myth of the First Thanksgiving and the overall lack of Native American historical literacy.
Kimmerer: A history of dismembering was brought on by colonization. By the time of the seventh fire, there will be a new purpose and a new generation, standing at a crossroads. People will need to make a choice on how to move forward.
Kimmerer: We know we are now standing at that crossroads. Climate and natural destruction, fires, greed, despair, we are in the midst of a sixth extinction. 200 species per day are disappearing. Metaphor is a valuable teacher. We must listen.
Kimmerer: We can choose a path of life, green, lushness, where we can walk barefoot. The other path is cinders, concrete, dark. The Seventh Fire people are not choosing the path of life yet; must go back and retrieve everything that was dropped and lost along the way.
Kimmerer: They carry seeds, Indigenous science, stories, histories, language, and more. It's not lost. We must cultivate humans who are gentle, compassion, and humility, who value fellowship and respect. The natural world and non-human beings are there to help along the way.
Kimmerer: Men with fire, women with water. Allies and others together coming together to prepare to walk the barefoot path. But this isn't a foregone conclusion. Who will get to the crossroads first? Who will be making the decisions of which path to walk?
Kimmerer: "We cannot go forward without wisdom, so we must search for it along the red road of our ancestors." Respect and reciprocity are keys. What was left behind was no accident. It was stolen deliberately "and yet the spark was kept safe."
Kimmerer: Indigenous peoples have kept the spark safe. So that we can all still walk back and retrieve what's missing so that we can all go forward on the barefoot path. This age of homo-industrialism has bred loneliness, exclusion, separateness, destruction.
Kimmerer: Before the delusion of great separateness, Indigenous peoples lived in reciprocity, compassion, and togetherness. This era has brought many valuable scientific advances and knowledge but "It's not more knowledge that we need right now, it's wisdom."
Kimmerer: We need Indigenous wisdom, history with foresight. We need to enter the Era of the Great Re-membering: plant names, animal lives, Indigenous wisdom, identity, renewing bonds of kinship.
Kimmerer: We must pick up what was left for us and also create new tools, new skills for this moment, new adaptations for generations to come. "Ours is a story of resilience and adaptation."
Kimmerer: Adaptation is guided by resilience, creativity, and survivance. New paths must be healing of colonization and trauma of the past. Re-making governance, restoring landscapes, relearning language, rematriating seeds.
Kimmerer: People are doing the work and following the ancestral ways to do so. Renew, remember, revere, restore, rematriate, recall, resilience: the common thread is to bring back, to mend, the circular movement of hindsight and foresight.
Kimmerer: Land has always been at the center of Indigenous life. Private and public properties once were part of 562 different Indigenous peoples. Land taking erased history, culture, language, etc. Land as capital versus land as home has "stained the ground red."
Kimmerer: Indigenous being is inseparable from the land. Is land merely a source of belongings or is it the center of our sense of belonging? Our responsibility is to bring back the idea of honoring and respecting land and animals as intended via Indigenous teachings.
Kimmerer: Justice frameworks can be used to do this work. There are models that Indigenous peoples are already using. The world will change for the better under Indigenous leadership. The Great Re-membering are also happening under settler allies.
Kimmerer: Settlers must remember that we benefit from colonial legacies that perpetuate injustice. Will you lead the way to reparations, returning the land, rematriation? Colonists: we have been here long enough to witness the destruction and greed. We must fight against this.
Kimmerer: We can choose -right now- to set aside colonizer mindset. We can choose to acknowledge the truth that all land is ancestral land. We must choose connection and respect. Colonists become ancestors too. What kind of ancestor do you want to be?
Kimmerer: What will you gather on the way to the barefoot path? Teachings gleaned from the seventh fire will help us light the eighth fire. We must learn the ways to nurture the spark and maintain it sustainably.
Kimmerer: So much of the success of the fire depends on the plants, the body, the Earth, fluidity, the base and structure, the tinder, the weave, the coal, the air, the time, the patience, the mind and spirit, harmony and reciprocity, the spark.
Kimmerer: Look for the ones who hold the spark that cannot be extinguished. Greet them with humility and gratitude. With open eyes, hearts, and minds to engage, trust, listen to non-humans. We can gather the tinder to start the flame. The kindling of the fire depends on us.
Kimmerer: Respect for our more than human relatives is imperative. In English we talk about them as "it". We talk about Mother Earth as "it". Indigenous communities don't have this, they're unable to refer to beings, land, earth as objects.
Kimmerer: There is danger in "it-ing" the Earth, "it-ing" the more than human beings. This is what colonization did, not only to the land and animals but to Indigenous peoples as well; they were seen as objects and not respected as intelligent and wise beings.
Kimmerer: We must reframe our language and thinking to speak of these beings more respectfully. Advocates for the use of "ki" (singular) and "kin" (plural) when referring to the Earth, the land, more than human beings.
This was a truly brilliant presentation by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I can't thank her and the organizers of the conference enough for the privilege of being able to witness her speak this imperative message.

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More from @karlajstrand

22 Nov
Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot) is the final speaker at the #Indigenous History Conference. She is the author of the award-winning book Sacred Instructions; Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change.
Mitchell: What guidance have I been given that will lead me into the future? It's a circular route that we travel. We have to be living for all of our relations. This is how prayers are ended, relations are acknowledged.
Mitchell: so maybe that's where we should begin: how do we be good relatives? Think about grandmothers, mothers, aunties, they are the ones who have taught us how to be a good relative. This matrilineal line was directly attacked by colonialism and patriarchy.
Read 27 tweets
21 Nov
And the second session today at the #Indigenous History Conference is "From Traditional Knowledge to Colonial Oversight to Indigenous Integration: Educator’s Roundtable Indian Education in New England" with Alice Nash, Tobias Vanderhoop (Aquinnah Wampanoag),
Jennifer Weston (Hunkpapa Lakota, Standing Rock), and
Alyssa Mt. Pleasant (Tuscarora).
Vanderhoop: "The colonial system of education happened to us." Wampanoag in the colonized schools were seen as more controllable, agreeable, etc. But their intention to get rid of Native Americans via the colonize education system failed.
Read 18 tweets
21 Nov
This morning I'm attending the second to last panels of the conference! "Writing Ourselves into Existence: Authors’ Roundtable: New England Native Authors and Literature" with Siobhan Senier @ssenier, Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel (Mohegan) @tantaquidgeon, Carol Dana (Penobscot),
John Christian Hopkins (Penobscot), Cheryl Savageau (Abenaki), and Linda Coombs (Aquinnah Wampanoag). This has been a fantastic conference, I hate that this is the last weekend! Thanks to all for your hard work! @Plymouth_400 @BridgeStateU @joyce_rain18
Dawnland Voices edited by @ssenier is the first collection of its kind from Indigenous authors from what is now referred to as New England. Tribes are very good at shepherding their own literary works.
Read 30 tweets
19 Nov
Happening NOW - I'm there are you?
Panelists include LaVar Charleston @DrLJCharleston, Rob DZ @iamrobdz, Michael Ford @HipHopArch, Duane Holland Jr, Michele Byrd-McPhee @ladiesofhiphop, and Sofia Snow. @UWMadEducation @uw_diversity
Other links to check out:
Read 8 tweets
1 Nov
Excited to attend the #Indigenous History Conference once again today. It has been fantastic so far!
First panel today is #Decolonizing Methodologies: Challenging Colonial Institutions with Lisa King (Delaware), @CLegutko, and Christine Delucia. @Plymouth_400 @BridgeStateU #twitterstorians
King: How can we decolonize methodologies? Why is it important? How are we doing it in our work?
Read 74 tweets
25 Oct
I’ll be there; this has been a fantastic conference.
First is "Wampum Research and Relations" with Marge Bruchac and Paula Peters @SonkWaban. @Plymouth_400
Bruchac will discuss identifying Wampum objects in museums. Has performed surveys of museums between 2014-2018 called "On the Wampum Trail" looking for and examining wampum.
Read 66 tweets

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