“We are the Bundle:” Activating Indigenous Ancestral Powers

The following is, in part, based on a Facebook post I made during Standing Rock; this revised version is now a part of one of my PhD chapters.

My dissertation on the Water and my own coming into relationship with the Water was encouraged by Biidaasige-ba. Today marks a year since she began her travel through that Western Door. She was one of my mentors and teachers, but she was also my friend. Her teachings combined with ones I received from others and the Water, herself, saved my life. This gift of life is why I’ll continue to walk for the Water when she calls me and why I will always hold Biidaasige-ba close to my heart. Gizhewenimigo <3… I have Cherry pie for you ❤️.

Our respective Indigenous spiritual prophecies told us about the arrival of a people who would bring with them a different kind of energy to Turtle Island well before they ever set foot here. Our Ancestors, with their ability to look ahead, saw the immense pain, difficulties, and challenges we, their future generations, would face because of these colonial energies. From residential schools to the foster care system, to the racism and violence in all its forms against our women, men, children; against our relatives, the Lands and Waters, and against all of Creation, the battles are the same across the span of time, but so is the love held alive inside our ways of knowing and being in the world.

If you are of clear Indigenous Ancestry, that is you can trace your lines through numerous Indigenous families *status or not* – it’s these kinship lines that matter not colonial government defined ones – then you can activate through the very Lands and Waters you exist upon. If you are of clear Indigenous ancestry, your Ancestors have been here on the place known as Turtle Island for 1000s of years, since time immemorial, and they love you immensely.

If you are non-Indigenous, your Ancestors are a part of other Lands. Some non-Indigenous people may have been here as colonial settlers for 6 generations, maybe even 7, but Indigenous people have been here for 1000s of generations. This sheer existence over time gives us a potency non-Indigenous colonizers have been desperate to destroy. We see this attempted destruction in genocidal policies, covered in white washed paternalistic paper, where our children and our women are the primary targets and our men, and gender fluid and those who define themselves outside the colonial constructs are collaterally aimed at and equally harmed.

The colonial attempt to eradicate us never works, however, because we always remember who we are as Indigenous people; we remember how to activate the generational power intrinsic to the Lands and Waters we continue to have relationships with and, more importantly, through. The Lands and Waters are entry points through which we are able to enter into other realms that connect us to Creation as well as to the love of our Ancestors and of our future generations. Our conceptualizations of time show us those future generations are here now with us as are those Old Ones.

It doesn’t matter where you are: urban or small town, rez or bush, round dance or kitchen table, lodge or late night restaurants, every time you pray, you activate, every time you sing, you activate, every time you give offerings or tobacco, you activate, every time you lift pipes and water, lift pen and fingers to type, sweat and fast, or dance, you activate.

“You are the bundle,” my late teacher, and lead Water Walker, Biidaasige-ba used to tell us.

Because you are a sacred bundle, the Land and Waters know when you activate, the Beings of the Land, Waters, and Sky know; literally, all of Creation knows when you activate. Your physical presence is bound by concepts of place, but from an Indigenous perspective your spirit is not. Your intent and your heart can move your spirit to places beyond a non-Indigenous reference. You don’t have to be in a specific place to activate. Let your spirit do the work it can through the avenues given to us by our respective Ancestors. You can do this work by walking outside your door, sitting on the Land or by the Water, whether you are in a city or on a reserve, if you are on Turtle Island, you are in Indigenous territories and you can activate – through the means gifted to us by our Ancestors. Your power to activate, of course, is stronger in your own traditional Indigenous territories, but you can call on your own Ancestors where ever you are and you can enter into a relationship with the territories of the Indigenous Nations where you are a guest.

This guest status applies to non-Indigenous people in their entirety. Some non-Indigenous people have done or are beginning to do the work as to what the responsibilities and obligations of being guests to Indigenous territories are. Some have not. Those who have sought out understandings and knowledge on their own accord in a good way, are the ones who should step up to educate their own people and to address negative behaviour. It is not up to Indigenous people to shoulder non-Indigenous work that does not belong to us. When we take on their responsibilities, we do so at the risk of neglecting our own knowledges, intellectual legacies, spiritual understandings, and our own people.

We have to focus on ourselves. We have to ensure our own people know how to access the gifts and power left to them. Our Ancestors have left us so many keys to an incredibly powerful knowledge base. It is up to us to start picking them up and walking through the many doorways they left us. You can seek out this knowledge. Ask people. Read and/or listen. Go to Ceremonies. Sit with the Lands and Waters, walk for them. Let the animals, the medicines, the insects, the trees, let all of Creation teach you. Use social media to learn. Better yet, go visit an Elder, an Aunty, an Uncle, a Grandmother or Grandfather. Take them for a drive. Take them to the Water or to the Land. Listen to their stories. They are a part of the bundle. Even the Ones who are still battling the colonial energies in the forms of drugs or alcohol – no judgement – their spirits are connected, too. Every single Indigenous person has access to these gifts, whether they pick them up or not.

We will need to continue to activate for the Waters and Lands more than we ever have. We will need each other and the power of that collectivity as those energies that disregard the life of our future generations continue to try to assert themselves.

Our survival is because of our own actions; it does not rest within any hands or institutions external to us including the government.

Activate Indigenous: languages, governance systems, matriarchies, spiritual teachings, youth and children, education systems, cultural systems, food systems, birthing and transitioning, songs, dances, stories… activate everything the colonizers have tried to destroy, steal or appropriate. Therein lies the keys to our survival and our power. They want it, but it simply doesn’t belong to them, nor can they access it no matter how hard they try.

You are a key, too. We are collectively – no matter what Indigenous Nation you originate from or where you are physically – an Indigenous Sacred Bundle and there is power in that collectivity as our inherent, continual survival shows us.

Keep connecting, keep drawing and keep harnessing that power and building it up. Our Ancestors did as we are and as our future generations will. “We are the Bundle” and it is up to us to carry our Ancestors, ourselves, and our future generations while continuing to remember the rest of Creation.

#foreverIndigenous #waterwalkerforlife

#Activate #SacredTimes #YouAreTheActivatorNoMatterWhereYouAre #YouAreTheSacredBundle #LiftYourPipes #DanceYourDances #SingYourSongs #OfferYourSemaaYourFoods #CallYourAncestors #TheLandsWatersFutureGenerationsNeedUs #GatherYourRelativesTogether #PowerInNumbers

Published by Mide iskwêw (Tasha Beeds)

Tasha Beeds is an Indigenous scholar of nêhiyaw, Metis, and mixed Barbadian ancestry from the Treaty 6 territories of Saskatchewan. She is also a creative artist, a poet, a community engaged Water/Land activist, a Water Walker, and a Mide-kwe from Minweyweywigaan Lodge out of Roseau River First Nations and Wiikwemkoong, Manitoulin Island. She is also a mom to a son Dakota, and a kôhkom to two beautiful granddaughters, Harper and Aurora.

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