Decolonization in a mixed blood identity. Matriarchy is small particles to collect and hold in her hand. Walking the shores of the Great Lakes, listening, quietly. She is your neighbor. She is working poor, working class and often living below the economic poverty line. Be careful with your words because poverty is not in her spirit. She has great wisdom but is invisible in the dominant culture. She is Anishinaabekwe.
Centuries have past and traditions and ancestries have been mixed. Yet the memory of her ancestors remains in her heart and soul. She is elegant even in the face of great adversity. She is beautiful even in the face of racism. She is strong when the culture places her into a glass box, which is more oppressive that the glass ceiling, because of her identity as an Anishinaabekwe.
The water must be listened to. The water must be heard. Anishinaabekwe listens. Anishinaabekwe seeks and quietly creates the deep, meaningful and real. The water is soothing. The water is healing. The water is wisdom.
What does decolonization mean? Who is defining it? Is Anishinaabekwe allowed to have an equal voice? Decolonization could mean reclaiming culture, heritages, traditions, language and life ways. Decolonization is much more. Decolonization is about the land, water, and spirit.
Decolonization is about her, Anishinaabekwe. Decolonization is taking her hand and assisting her. Decolonization is giving her a platform, giving her the pen to write and speak. Ultimately decolonization is about matriarchy. As title holders of the land and water, not defined under Euro-centric definitions we made decisions about the land and water for our communities and nations. We were not silence by the colonized state governments occupying our lands. As the hearts of our nations we were lifted up and given and equal platform. We had a choice in defining this platform as well.
We have been under the guise of hetero-patriarchal colonial rule on our traditional lands and in our communities. We’ve had to follow these oppressive rules often by force for survival. As Native American women we experience the highest rates of sexual assault, sexual violence and rape out of any group of women in the country. Violence is not traditional in our communities. Violence on our bodies, the land and water is not traditional.
Collecting these particles is healing and reclaiming who we are. As women we are the hearts of our nations. We tend and care for the water. We tend and care for the land. We tend and care for our communities.
The water is healing. The water is purification. The water is Anishinaabekwe. The waters of the Great Lakes are deep and ancient. Stories are waiting to be told by the women, elders, youth and various Anishinaabe communities surrounding the Great Lakes. Decolonization and matriarchy pave a path for visibility and voice in our communities. All of our communities need to support Anishinaabekwe, as Keepers of the Water.