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.
Mitchell: All of the colonial attempts to destroy and diminish the Indigenous woman and the connection to the sacred feminine were attempts to destroy all Indigeneity. These attempts have failed.
Mitchell: The idea of getting "enough" is important and tied to the idea that everyone must have enough. Part of the enough we need to be hold includes community. For us to be whole, everyone must be whole. For us to be healthy, everyone must be healthy.
Mitchell: This idea of enough is a core value and is tied to how to be a good relative. Also, what is our responsibility to future generations? What are we taking away from them if we are not caring for the Earth and one another now?
Mitchell: We must be contributing to the well being of the future. We must grow warriors. Sitting Bull said the warrior is not someone who fights. It is the one who sacrifices for the good of others, especially the elders and the children.
Mitchell: The word for warrior in many Indigenous languages is not about fighting, it is about helping. We must distinguish between a warrior and a conqueror. Often people think true power is about battling and conquering something or someone.
Mitchell: The warrior is truly loyal and holds all life sacred. They use collaboration, cooperation, respectful language. They create/sustain environments that respect life. They protect all other beings and perpetuate a movement that is aligned with sacred knowing and with life.
Mitchell: Conquerors are destructive. They are loyal to illusory conceptions of power, money, greed, status, hierarchy, domination. Will you be a warrior or a conqueror??
Mitchell: We must be spiritual warriors. The call to the warrior is one that demands discipline, protection of all life, actions that are respectful, caring, nurturing, ethical. We must cultivate the next generation of warriors by recognizing the call.
Mitchell (@sacred411): Get beyond the human mind in order to hear the wisdom and messages of the ancestors, the natural world, and more than human beings. Spiritual warriors are agile and fluid, parts of movements that are leader-full.
Mitchell: We are out of alignment with the natural world. We must be more agile and flexible when we address climate change and destruction of Mother Earth. Need to move as one biological entity to address damage we've caused since we've been out of alignment.
Mitchell: We are only here for a short time but we are not powerless. Focus our attention with intensity on one area in which we can advance change. Then the whole will make big changes together. We are part of the biological whole, we are not exceptional or better than others.
Mitchell: Through cultivation of spiritual warriors, we can advance change together, we can be fluid and safe and equitable. Heart-based intelligence can be used as a framework and guide for this action. Stay connected with ceremonies and inner guidance systems.
Mitchell: To cultivate warriors, the soil must be healthy, loving, compassionate. Raise them in love, not only survival. Indigenous peoples have been fighting for survival for so long, must get back to nourishment and thriving after hundred of years of just trying to survive.
Mitchell: Healthy soil is good for the soul. It's preventative medicine. Good soil needs good drainage, we need to process our emotions and allow emotion to flow through us and not get stuck. Treat the soil gently and with care.
Mitchell: There's an artfulness about knowing when to cultivate, feed, water, till the soil, and when to just leave it be. Balance must be present. Warriors must live in reciprocal relationship to the Earth. Recognize the relationship from the birth mother to the earth mother.
Mitchell: Bodily sovereignty is imperative to restoring the Earth, community, health. Warriors must work in concert with the Earth in reciprocity and respect.
The stereotype of the violent Indian warrior was projection by colonizers. Warriors were protecting and nurturing before contact but were forced to fight against colonization, so the notion of the warrior changed.
Mitchell: We must live in ways that honor the balance of life. Have a balanced, circular education, not assembly-line education. We need ecological and social diversity in our lives to thrive. Colonization homogenizes everything and this is not natural, it's damaging.
Mitchell: We must practice humility but not shame. Always be willing to learn, have enough humility to know you will be learning throughout your lives. Avoid notions of superiority and homogeneity.
Mitchell: We also have an obligation to our children to protect their spirits and gifts. We can't allow colonizer education to crush the spirits of Indigenous children. We must avoid blind obedience to colonizer structures, we must grow critical thinkers.
If you didn't have nurturing, compassion, creativity, love, curiosity as a child, give it to yourself as an adult and give it to other adults. Raising warriors is imperative, whether from childhood or beginning at any time.
Mitchell reads a quote from her book: "We must remember that we are the dream of the ancestors come to life... We have the responsibility of dreaming the next seven generations into being." We are the dream of our ancestors come to life.
To @joyce_rain18, @Plymouth_400, Linda Coombs, all 62 speakers (54 of whom were Native), @BridgeStateU, @mmpecoraro, Wampanoag Advisory Committee, Northeastern Savings Bank for your work. This was an absolutely phenomenal conference that I've been honored to witness. THANK YOU.

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More from @karlajstrand

22 Nov
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.
Read 28 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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