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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

August 9th was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This day recognizes and celebrates the culture, languages, and legacies of Indigenous people. It’s also a day to express appreciation for Indigenous contribution to our everyday life.

I wanted to create a blog post for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9th. But I really wanted to wait after I went to my tribe’s powwow. I’m Blackfoot by blood, still learning about which tribes my ancestors originate from in Africa, and was adopted in a Narragansett dominant tribal household.

Honoring Indigenous Contribution to Today’s Understandings

To me, a powwow is a sacred community ceremony that involves feasting, singing, dancing, grieving, and learning.

Last year’s powwow, the Narragansett tribe did a ceremony to welcome the Taino tribe to our reservation. This year, before the Narragansett grand entry, the Taino tribal members did a few dances. The dances they did at the powwow taught us the creation of our galaxy by also teaching us community. The Narragansett tribe and many other tribes have similar teachings!

Please acknowledge that these dances were teachings long before today’s understanding of the cosmos.

The accuracy of their teachings drew me into personal validity. My thoughts and understandings of the galaxies felt validated by the Taino tribe. Today’s sciences are constantly proving that Indigenous people were correct long before they understood. Society should honestly give our Indigenous people more credit!

Culture & Ancestors: What I’m Willing to Share

This year, I found myself needing to acknowledge my ancestral blood more than ever. Before I left to the powwow, I cleaned my ancestral altar and placed clean water on it. I also made certain ancestors leave because they weren’t beneficial to my journey. Can’t forget about their altar snacks!

This powwow, I had a mission to get indigenous ancestral blessings. I wanted to create a gesture that would be acceptable to my indigenous ancestors. So I arrived at the powwow wearing all the wampum, and 2 native non-wampum necklaces I’ve been gifted over the years. Some pieces I wore were over 9 years old. I kept them all in great shape as a kid!

Traditionally, wampum showcases the status someone has in the tribe. The more wampum someone wears, the higher their status in the community.

My gesture was accepted, not only by what I wore, but by my attitude…I danced, walked around barefoot, drank from the reservation natural water supply, and felt the spirits of the land. I can say that I left the powwow with exactly what the ancestors knew I needed in my spiritual journey.

– Dez 🙂

I’m Riding My Bike Across the Country

I want to ride my bike across the country. And I will be riding my bike across the country. I plan on doing it after I graduate. My goal is to do it within a year; or after I fully recover from bottom surgery! Bottom surgery is literally around the corner for me! Read all about the bottom surgery I’m getting here.

Staying Motivated

I’ve heard people ask me: “How will you do that?” They even say: “You need to prepare” or “People spend years training”. I sometimes get a laugh because people don’t think I’m being serious about it. It’s almost as if a kid said it. Although this may be enough to discourage some people, this is something my soul is really urging towards. I’m so passionate about doing it, that people’s reactions motivates me to problem solve and think abstractly.

Everything I need is right in front of me.

In my world, riding my bike everywhere is literally enough training. My asthma is well controlled. My allergies are well controlled now that I’m paying attention to my body. I can’t forget that I rode my bike over 16.5 miles from Bradley Airport to the South End of Hartford because my co-worker came in a few hours late: at 2/3 AM, and the last bus already left at midnight. In the moment, I was anxious that I wouldn’t be able to go to my morning appointment if my co-worker didn’t show up. But somehow, I knew everything was going to be okay.

That experience alone was extremely nice and calming. The scenery was just beautiful along the way. Something that people would’ve found extremely upsetting, I found to be a great experience to further push me in the direction I want to go in. Riding my bike from Bradley Airport was a confirmation that I am able to do something I want to do without ‘proper’ training.

Why I’m Riding My Bike Across the Country

At first, it was an impulsive thought that came from my unconscious desires. My old social studies teacher, Jonathan Williams, sparked my interest after he talked about how he ran across the country. This has been in my thoughts since my freshman year of high school. Now I’m a senior in college.

People asked me why I wanted to do this and the only think I could come up with was to prove myself to everyone. However, that reasoning never aligned nor felt accurate to say. It was just something I said in the moment of silence. Thinking about it now, I’m really doing this for myself. I need to exemplify to myself that it doesn’t matter what other people think. I honestly need to do this for my mental health and spiritual self. Whether it be valid or not.

The Proposed Outcome of Riding my Bike Across the Country

Throughout this process, I hope to have a better understanding of who I am. I also hope to develop a better connection to the land spirits and my ancestors. After-all, my ancestors were the ones who occupied this land first and the ones who were enslaved to build this country. So why not feel their energies and their emotions to understand my feelings in the process. My time in nature will only grant me the healing that I need; and maybe give them a little of the healing they need.

I just may even bring a notebook and pen to write in about my encounters/experiences.

– Dez 🙂