Sunday, October 16, 2005

Strong Circle of Women

This weekend I attended an event that spoke to my DNA and rattled my consciousness.

The 1st Annual Indigenous Women's Conference organized by Alianza Indigena took place Friday Oct 14 and Saturday Oct 15. It was filled with women of all tribal affiliations, from all four directions, and at least 7 languages.

When I say Indigenous Women, by the way, I refer to women descended from the original peoples of the Americas. Back in graduate school I was graded down on a paper for not being specific enough on that point but the prof had a bit of an agenda. I'll write about that some other time.

Lupe Lopez and her amazing cohorts en el movimiento indigena organized this conference to address the need among indigenous women to share cultural capital, such as our traditional medicines, rights, and ceremonies.

From Rocky Rodriguez, Friday night's fiery keynote speaker, to Saturday's panels of tradtional healers, it was powerful through and through. We heard the wisdoms from a Chumash healer, a Mexican sovadora (massage healer), and a Pai Pai midwife from Baja California. We met Yaqui, Raramuri, and Mixteco women involved in keeping their cultures alive through traditional arts and culture.

We stood and cheered them, cried at their stories, and related as only a strong circle of women could. EVERY single woman in attendance there was of indigenous roots, proudly showing her tribal affiliation on her nametag, even if her tribe is one that the US Govt doesn't recognize.

Women offered songs, traded, swapped cell phone numbers (hey, we're in the modern age too!) We talked about balancing the old ways with life in the modern world, how to stay strong, how to stand up for ourselves, how to work for peace and healing.

I was honored to be asked to faciliate the closing ceremony and we did a huge gratitude circle. It was beautiful.

Back when I posted about my Nahuatl language class, I encouraged people to seek out their own indigenous roots. We all can claim back to a tribe of some sort, people who had a close connection to Mother Earth. Maybe you don't know the name of it, maybe you need to go back centuries to find them, but they're there. And they have a message for you that as Rocky said, they dreamed for you to be here in this day and in this time to carry out a special job of healing the world.

Aho- All my relations.

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