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Gratitude and Grief:

What do I call today?

How do I spend today?

*Photo credit Andrea Wagner

I am thankful that they finally changed the name of my local football team in Washington DC. As a child, I gave up hope that they ever would. More people are waking up and applying pressure. Change is possible.

Yes, I own I am celebrating Thanksgiving with food, family, and giving thanks like the mainstream. My family raised me to place great emphasis on gratitude. Always thank God for our blessings. I am grateful to be quarantined with them because it means I have love and company in my life. And also thankful to have a home and financial means to eat a big meal. Good health...Not everyone has these blessings in the moment.

And I am waking up a little bit from my slumber. This year I am experiencing more cognitive dissonance. As I am being more proactive in learning now, I feel shame and grief around my complete ignorance. I felt a sinking in my heart. I was fed and ingested lies.

I received a public school education in the United States. I was taught about “manifest destiny” and European settlers were made to be the heroes. What is alarming me is that even though I was told stories about how Indigenous people were harmed and killed by European settlers, the focus and my focus was on celebrating a day like today where supposedly native people shared food with European settlers. One day of unity made it all okay, and many question whether this day is made up too. Why did the lives of the European settlers matter in the way the history books and teachers made them to matter.? Why were native people made to not matter? As an adult why did I continue to live in total idiocy? What is wrong with my brain? Do I have a stone in the place where I should have a heart?

Doing more to educate myself, finding ways to honor Indigenous people, and finding ways to incorporate what I am learning into my life. I am discovering that information is not readily available in the mainstream. So I reach out to friends who have more access to the truth. There are ways to make a difference big and small I am finding. There are organizations led by Indigenous people that I can connect with. I can influence myself, the people who I am in contact with.

I am also am finding ways to incorporate anti-oppressive practices into my somatic practice as a way to remember and honor for starters.

A practice is first owning where you really stand in the moment and feeling what feelings come up. And also finding ways to educate, advocate, and implement changes in your life and in your influential sphere.

What I am learning is hard, I feel sadness and judgment, and confusion. And what I am learning about Indigenous people and culture is enriching me and healing me as well. I pray I will keep learning about the truth and advocating throughout my life moving forward.

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