Indigenous Is
Indigenous is not a skin color,
Indigenous is not my nose,
Indigenous is not my eye color,
Indigenous is not my lips,

Indigenous is not romanticizing ancient teachings,
To appropriate,
To disseminate,
To cut to pieces,
And abbreviate in a research document,
Indigenous is removing layers of shame from your ancestors trail,
Indigenous is stepping up to the plate,
Healing and creating a new way for future generations,
Indigenous is standing tall,
Indigenous is standing beautifully,
Indigenous is an honor.
~ Anishinaabekwe
Painting © Ernesto Hernandez Olmos, Mother Earth

Michigan and Ontario Anishinabek to gather for Flint Water Ceremony

[IMAGE: Josephine Mandamin]

To the first inhabitants of the Great Lakes Region, one of the most water privileged areas of the world, the water crisis in Flint, MI, a state bordered by all five Great Lakes, is unfathomable. As Anishinaabek, we recognize all of creation as sacred, especially our life-giving and sustaining water. Therefore, we are encouraged to engage in practices that help us live in respectful relationships of reciprocity with all things.

With this in mind, an intertribal group has organized to hold a water ceremony for Flint, MI. The event is an international and intertribal effort with support from the federally recognized tribes in Michigan, urban Native communities of Grand Rapids, Lansing, Detroit, and Chicago, relatives in Ontario, and the University of Michigan-Flint.

The water ceremony will be held on April 16th at the University of Michigan-Flint campus in Flint, Michigan. The intent is to show respect, honor, and acknowledge the water as a living being. The ceremony will be led by Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, an Anishinaabekwe who traversed over 10,900 miles around each of the Great Lakes in 2003 with her copper pail of water to raise awareness about how important our water is.

We would like to invite all nations to consider sending a delegation from their community to this gathering. If you would like to join us or have questions about how you can support, please contact Theresa Chingwa 231‐330‐5317 (USA); Donald Lyons 517‐204‐0274/ for Facebook questions (USA); Joanne Carey 231‐330‐5901 for water donations (USA; Patricia Shawanoo 226‐349‐1241 (Canada).

Our survival is dependent upon our ability to read the political landscape…

My first mother, the Land, is the teacher here..
…she teaches me to come at this from a place of honour strength and dignity.

…because if you go out into the bush from a place of weakness- with anxiety, fear… you don’t come home…

In knowing every detail in knowing how Anishinaabek governance works. In being grounded in who I am and in being intimately connected with every grain of sand in my territory….

I will not beg, because I am not a victim…

—  Leanne Simpson in a talk on Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back.
Idle No More: The Dalai Lama - "The World Will Be Saved By the Western Woman"

A few years ago, the Dalai Lama made a comment at a conference in reference to western women saving the world. This comment resulted in much disappointment and confusion from many people. How could the Dalai Lama seemingly support white women (and academics at that) and turn his back on the indigenous knowledge of People Of Color from other nations?

Not once did anyone consider that maybe he was speaking about the First Nations women of Canada. This is so typical, how western settlers will romanticize indigenous women of other nations but disregard what’s in their own back yard.

Not only that, but this is Tibetan prophecy, and the prophecy of many other peoples, including the Anishinaabeg. It’s that so called ‘rhetoric’ you turn your nose up to in meetings, turn your backs on while planning social justice in communities, and turn your eyes away from even though it’s staring you in the face. How many hundreds of years have we been talking and you still act like you don’t know what’s going on?

With that rant off my chest, I think I’ll just “pipe the f*** down” now.