Understand our own indigeneity: Post-Covid Series Part 2

Dear reader

Welcome to Part 2 of a series of blog posts about the actions we are taking as a family to make positive change in the face of climate, social and cultural breakdown. Read about the series here.

On with Part 2, Understand our own indigeneity

Why?

I think diving deep into the last blog post is essential. The tiny crumb of knowledge I’ve learnt about our first peoples’ lives and culture makes me yearn to understand my own heritage. I’m of British Isles decent and recently I’ve been delving into our ancient traditions and story telling. The idea of *my culture* being about standing around a meat laden barbecue, beer in hand, talking about men running around a football field in short shorts, to sort out who is a winner and who is a loser has me feeling completely disconnected to who I really am, and where I’ve come from. We’ve lost our way.

I’m currently learning about a time in the British Isles, before capitalism and organised fear-based (and often mandatory) religion and took hold. A time more than 2000 years ago when people revered the earth, because they had a deep understanding that the earth is what sustained them. The stories they told were about the earth, the water, the trees, the mountains, the coastlines, the birds and the animals. And their stories held women up as important and wise figures, as well as men.

Stories matter you see… We make sense of the world and fashion our identities through the sharing and passing of stories… The cultural narrative is the culture.

Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted. September Publishing.

So many of us are new-comers or Second People to the land we live on. Even after many generations, our dark colonial history seems to block our ability to truely belong to the country. But Robin Wall Kimmerer says in her enlightening book Braiding Sweetgrass that when we learn the land and live on it with reciprocity we could naturalise, just like some new-comer species in the plant world do. We’ll never be indigenous to the land, but I love the idea of working towards being naturalised rather than being invasive. When we know and respect where our roots grow, we’ll have a greater chance of making the right choices to guide us towards a healthy and stable future.

HOW?

We’re sinking our teeth into our history by reading, watching documentaries and the University of Youtube to understand more about our heritage, and the bigger picture of world history too. We’re learning about the importance of Rites of Passage which build thriving communities and well adjusted adults. We’re observing and celebrating the cycle of the seasons like the old ways. We’re making new traditions by gathering bits and pieces of information and stories that we’ve learnt along the way to make something that feels right to us in our time to try to gain sense of belonging to our place on earth. I’m noticing that there’s often a seasonal food element, a story telling element, plentiful conversation and a pause from everyday life, often around a fire. Which feels like a good start.

I am here…This land is my home, whatever colonial baggage that statement carries with it. I have a duty and a longing to know it and to belong to it. The stories of my people, my ancestors, can help me do that.

Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted. September Publishing.

Further learning

Read If Women Rose Rooted (by Sharon Blackie, published by September Publishing, 2016) “…a rallying cry for women to reawaken their natural power – not just for the sake of their own wellbeing, but for love of this threatened earth.”
Listen to a series of podcasts by Dumbo Feather with Dr. Arne Rubinstein on Rites of Passage (in general and with in the context of Covid-19). We found it to be profound listening. Number one, two, three, four and five.
Listen to Damon Gameau speak about the cultural narrative that is informing us during Covid-19, and how important our stories are to culture’s health and strength, and how we need to be aware of distracting and destructive narratives.

About this series


This is one part of a series of blog posts about ideas that since the outbreak of Covid-19 have become clear to me that we must put into action. We must take our hands out of our pockets, stop postulating and/or despairing about the state of things and start listening, and start doing. I’ve had enough of the ‘bigger is better’ rhetoric, which is fuelling the economic growth at any expense mindset. I think we need to slow down, simplify and aim for an ‘enough is enough’ world view, which can sustain healthy communities, cultures and environment. This series breaks down a whole list of actionable things that we are working on as a family. Read the introduction to this series and the list of links to each blog post in this series here.

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