International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

This is today, the 9th of August.  International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

My Native American ancestors are the Muscogee, an indigenous people who were ‘re-located’ from their ancestral lands to another part of the country to make room for White Europeans.  Here’s my version of it.  The U.S. Government fully supported this policy through the Indian Removal Act, 1830.

I honour my ancestors and feel so deeply for their loss of land and family and friends and way of life.  I am also mindful of how that loss has trickled down in to my family and my life.  I hope, and actually believe, that my awareness of the influence and healing that I can do on the broken places of my life also heals my Ancestors.  I am grateful to my ancestors who survived the journey west on the Trail of Tears.  I come from strong and sturdy stock and have strong legs that walk me far.   Big Muscogee hamstrings!

My Great Grandmother Melindy and I, Melinda

I’ve been making a series of mixed media butterflies for the Butterfly Project based in the Holocaust Museum of Houston.  I’ve chosen to use images of Native American children to honour some of the tribes and people who were murdered and displaced throughout the expansion of the United States.

Here are two that I’ve made with photographs of Comanche children and text from the treaty between the Comanche and the U.S. Government.  These were printed onto handmade paper.

I’ve put this project on the back burner, but have resolved to make some more of them.  I downloaded the entry form tonight and will file it into my new right-brained organisational system.

It’s hard to be jolly about this topic.  Still casts a long shadow.

I’m starting to read the latest book by Muscogee writer and performer of music and poetry, Joy Harjo.  Her memoir.  It’s the latest addition to my collection of books about the Muscogee.

Books, not Kindle.  I want to hold them, take them into the bathtub (who cares too much if a corner dips into the Bloomsbury scented water), prop them open beneath the rim of my dinner plate, dog ear them and sleep with them under my pillow.

I’ve also been listening to this live webcast from the UN which features speakers and videos of indigenous media organizations.  Pretty interesting.  Lots of food for thought about the fact of and the use of social networking in a positive manner.

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