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 🙂