Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"The Hair..."


(Art adapted from "Birth of the Chosen One")

Why do I want to grow my hair out, Yowah?
What is this longing inside of me?
Creator, Unetlanvhi, You are the One
Who made me and put this in my heart

Wado. Help me understand.

Once when I was younger I grew it out
I liked hard and classic rock
It seemed and looked cool
I tried to do it...just because

But now I want to wear it long
Like my ancestors did
Like my relations today
Is that all?

I wonder...is it because I want
to be like the people?
Is it because I want to be accepted?
No, it's not that, You say (Wado)

I remember back when I was younger
When I was fascinated with Native culture
I wanted to grow it then, too
And even after something drew me to it

Yes, even when I was a wannabe-rocker
Even then there was something inside
I wanted it to be long...it felt right
Wado, Yowah, I'm surprised to find this

And yes, I want to honor them
I want to do what they did
It will be my way to keep one
of the ways of my ancestors

I've read that it is spiritual for many
The long, uncut hair has deep meaning
So I ask myself if I truly understand
(And do I need to have a deep reason?)

That's why I'm writing to You now, Tsisa
I must work this out with You, Unetlanvhi
It's no good doing it on my own (as always)
It must be between You and me, above all

So...what am I asking for?
Permission to start growing?
No...I'm asking if I understand enough
If it's "right" for me to do this

That's interesting to me, Yowah
That if I don't feel You approve this
Somehow I feel like I'm being presumptive
As if I don't have the "right" to do it

It's tied to my doubts of my identity!
I didn't expect or see that coming!
Part of me fears "acting Native"
Because I fear I'll be rejected

It's like that old Native necklace
I made out of a dog-tag so long ago
That I wore because I loved my heritage
But hid underneath my shirt

Because I didn't know enough
About my heritage and the people
Because I looked white
Because it showed too much of my heart

Wearing my hair long would be like that
Something plain and obvious all can see
That old fear from my youth is there
Holding me back from growing my hair

But now because of You, Tsisa
The fear is out in the open
And I will have peace about this
Because You are setting me free of fear

So I release that to You, Tsisa
Have my fear and have my hair
I do and will dedicate it to You
And to my ancestors in honor

One question remains, Edoda
And that is when I may start
Of course as soon as possible
As You know is my usual heart

But where I am in my work
Would likely not permit it
So my heart is a bit trapped
I feel I can't do what I'd like to

"Wait" is what I hear You say
Okay, Yowah, I surrender it to You
I trust You that the time is not yet
But it will surely come, You say

Ugodidi Wado, Yowah.

Ugodidi Wado.

****

Last week I read this beautiful quote in an ICTMN article:
"Throughout Indian country, there are many differing hairstyles and associated beliefs. Personally, I learned my hair is an outward projection of my connection to the Red Road, a physical symbol representing my spiritual commitment to living mino bimaadiziwin and learning the teachings of the Midewiwin. Excepting slight trims, my hair will only be cut if a traumatic event occurs, such as the passing of a relative."
When I shared the article, my friend Kenny Wallace commented:
I just read the other day about hair being the outward manifestation of our inward thoughts. That to comb it is to order our thoughts, to tie it is to take our thoughts captive, that to cut it is to sever a part of ones memory. So I will let it grow as the Great Spirit gives wisdom.
Yeah.

Howa!

Sgi.

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