Saturday, December 6, 2014

Native Heritage Awakenings



As I've journeyed along the road of reconnecting with my Native heritage, I've met several friends along the way who have had similar "heritage awakenings." Some have come from various backgrounds, such as Asian or African, but most of the experiences have been with discovering and reconnecting with Native American heritage.

I've wondered why this seems to be happening more with people of Native heritage as opposed to other heritages. I know part of it is because of Creator's sovereign desire and purpose to bring healing to the devastated land and peoples of Turtle Island (including those who don't know the trauma they bear from leaving their homelands in Europe), but still I wondered about why "Native" awakenings seemed to be more common.

The other day I shared the story of my awakening with a new friend of Mohawk and Cherokee heritage, who underwent his own awakening. He commented:
"We all have our own journeys and I've found many Native people have very circuitous ones because of how our cultures are treated..."
That explained it to me! The phenomenon of Native heritage awakenings is happening precisely because of the way in which they were summarily *buried* by America.

Many immigrants and immigrant families understand being ashamed of the culture they've left behind, or feeling pressured to keep it hidden. Even as I've written several recent poems, I've thought that the words and experiences could also easily apply to other parts of my heritage— European, and especially my Mexican side (which I've written about before a little here).

But the Natives in America have been through a massive trauma and assault on their heritage. They were sent to boarding schools to erase their culture and identity, their religions were outlawed, their governments were forcibly disbanded, and even their children were removed in order to destroy Native identity and Native tribes as a whole.

It is because of this oppression that God the Creator is awakening descendants who have been assimilated and "lost" in the centuries-long effort to eradicate Native people. Just like He awakens "lost birds" and "split feathers" (Native children who were taken from their families and tribes during the "adoption era") and moves them to seek out their people, in the same way He is awakening the Native heritage in descendants who were separated from their people even many generations ago.

This is miraculous. And all I can do is give thanks, and just roll with it— roll with *Him*—trust His leading and divine plan in working all of this out.

I can only see glimpses of where this is going. But I know the beginning of it is healing, and the end of it is even more healing and praises to Him.

Wado, Unetlanvhi!

****

"Creator Heals the Tribes"

A great land of many nations
of many tongues and many tribes
A great wealth of cultures
Diverse and numerous as the stars

They were plundered
They were trodden
They were decimated
They were broken

Creator saw
Creator heard
Creator mourned
Creator wept

Creator did not forget.

He preserved their hearts—
The hearts of those who survived
The hearts of those who remained together
And the hearts of children who were lost

He awoke a longing in them
Their spirits were stirred
They sought out their people
And Creator guided them home

Great wonder
Miraculous mystery
Marvelous is His restoration
The healing of the tribes.

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