Honoring the land, honoring the indigenous
This video is a brief (and by no means comprehensive) discussion on what it means to facilitate on land that carries the remnants of colonial rule (or other kinds of violent events). It is wise, when doing _Any_ kind of spiritual work in North America to distinguish between ceded vs. unceded lands. Here´s an article that provides some context, especially for the state of California: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/history/events/treaties-ceded-lands-and-recognition/
To me, it explains a lot of my hesitation to pop over and commit to a venue in CA – and some of the underlying energetic dynamics I picked up. The land gets retraumatized when one does not acknowledge it when performing any kind of ceremony or spiritual work. (Which is why I did not, except at one place where I received a direct invitation).
Canada has taken to the practice of acknowledging the status of land (and its relationship to the indigenous) before performing public ceremonies – at least in some places. I find this as a good model of practice, and one that carries a far greater import than ´merely saying the words´. It provides the land with the opportunity to be seen, and so reduces the need – or incidence – of re-playing those dynamics of victimization on all those who walk upon it.
It is certainly the practice I have had to adopt and use in my work, especially when facilitating in Australia. You can watch a video of my work there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ2jTHYfmiw&t=132s
When one recognizes the land and/or has a member of indigenous community attending, blessing or working alongside you – the experience is markedly different. You can go so much farther and deeper in healing yourself, those you´re working on/with and the land itself. Much in the same way to end a cycle of trauma one must first acknowledge it.
As you do so, you will become more sensitized towards the natural cycles of the land and to know when it is appropriate to work there (or not). Or how what we experience in the present simply re-plays the spiritual, cultural, geological and historical fault-lines of the past.
It is not a question of how much you have learnt, or how many cultures you have interacted with. There are certain forms of energetic access that are provided through one´s bloodline in this present incarnation. And I feel that needs to be honored. Even when practising spiritual techniques that come from other traditions (such as yoga, chi gong, and so on) – always honor the roots of that segment of the human family that gave rise to that knowledge.
The land recognizes her children and the generations that came before them, walking her lands, co-existing with her. These cultures have been either wiped out or have (for economic reasons) let go of their own roots (or have diluted it in some cases). And that is precisely why finding indigenous facilitators who have stayed true to their culture and honoring their knowledge is so important.
I hope to do a second video that addresses the question of slavery. How does one truly hold space when facilitating those who carry remnants of that experience? Perhaps as I collect more information and speak to more people who have truly lived (through their ancestors and day-to-day experiences) that experience.
These are starters to the conversation. I would welcome practitioners from these backgrounds wanting to contribute to the conversation as – proportionally – their voices are not as prevalent. In fact, I did this video and article at the request of a First Nations woman-activtist who raised the issue. And I hope this creates a bridge of understanding and serves as a reminder to do this work, before all else.
Post, linked Video © Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2018. All rights reserved.