As Indigenous Relatives, when we pray we often pray with and to water. Water Cleanses us. Water remembers. Water was once our first home, a world of water within our creators. Water is the life blood of the earth. When we restore meaningful relationships with earth and water, we also return to ourselves and our ancestral teachings. When we “Carry the Water,” we walk in beauty, we embody medicine, and we heal. Carry the Water, an Indigenous healing garden, located on the lands of the Ute, Paiute, Goshute, Timpanogos and Shoshone Peoples will sustain these concepts of healing through water and connecting with the land.
The core of Indigeneity is to be cosmically and earthly bonded to relationships. For Indigenous people: our lives, our ways of loving and knowing oneself is reliant on understanding that we are inextricably woven into relations that extend into Mother Earth, outwards to Father Sky, including all elements and non-human relatives. As Diné (Navajo People), the entirety of this understanding can be found within our homes.
Our hooghans (homes) were given to us as teachings of the universe and more fractally, our world view. For Diné, home is matriarchal. The facing ha’aa’aah (east) “where the sun comes up” doorway, which leads into the womb, sustains our relationship to all directions and cosmic processes. At the center of our universe is the fireplace. Like Náhookòs Bikò‘ (North Star), the fireplace never moves. It is the central light that brings warmth and guidance to our humble consciousness.
There are no “rooms” or separations between relatives in the creation of our homes. Instead, we are taught that as life is created within our home/womb, our lives are fulfilled by the full awareness of our young ones to our elders. We can see all that is taking place, we see generations of loved ones revolving like constellations.
This way of relating to one another allows us to be knowing and giving to the nourishment and stability of the minds, bodies, and spirits that circle the fireplace. This world view extends beyond our hooghans and has carried into the lives of colonized Diné today as a protective prayer. However, this most sacred teaching has been and continues to be violently disrupted in our homes and homelands.
Surrounded, compounded, and extracted by colonization, Indigenous people experience a violence that has created a complex network of foreign activity within our homes and on our homelands.
When we experience violence in our hooghans or when a relative is violently removed from our hooghans, murdered or trafficked into abyss, it disrupts and creates lasting fractures in our universe. It is a violence that affects all our relations, including the land and waters that yearn for our return and the restoration of healthy family kinships and ceremony.
Today we are taught that when the pain is unbearable, we return to the fire that knows us for love and guidance. It is there we give our prayers, sending smoke that travels to those we lost where we often find them in the sky.
[Denae Shanidiin | Diné | MMIWhoismissing]
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