Much of the work I do is rooted in my understanding of Creation, which grows and flowers into Prophecy. I do believe all Creation stories have the seed of Prophecy, and all Prophecies beget new Creation stories.
Cryptic, I know. Let me try to explain further, for my politics and my spirituality are the same to me.
For folks who grew up in the West, and specifically like me in the settler colonial state of Canada, we are steeped in the narrative of European-based North American superiority in knowledge, beauty standards, and values. What those in academia would call “cultural imperialism”. I began to try to understand myself outside of this when I was doing my Bachelor in Humanities in university. By third year, professors and other racialized students taught me about colonization and colonialism. That all the self-hatred and shame I carried was something I could let go of, that the rage I had turned inward on myself could be crafted into determination, into community organizing. This sparked a renewed interest in understanding my ancestry, and a long journey of aligning myself with Indigenous struggle and decolonization on Turtle Island, as well as the broader global indigenous struggle and indigenization movements.
Part of this process is tearing myself away from the “cultural imperialist” view of things, and understanding myself and my communities from other points of view. Though I acknowledge being raised in the West has influenced me, and continues to influence me and my understanding of Creation stories in general, it is the Creation stories specific to my ethnicity/people/region (primarily Bikol, but also with the neighbouring Tagalog and Bisayan influences) that helped root myself in a new world view. This world view didn’t find me inherently inferior and deserving of violence, shame, erasure/destruction, and exploitation/fetishization. This world view helped me to understand my gifts, my own personal narratives, and what I had already observed and felt about the world around me.
I am rooted in the past as I dream of a wondrous future. This keeps me grounded in the present, in my purpose, in what I have to do.
I hope we all can connect to a Creation story and a Prophecy of our people, the one that teaches us to be connected and good to each other, to heal and be whole, instead of to divide and punish. As we grow into protectors, healers, storytellers, visionaries, leaders, caregivers, workers– all of us need to again respect the sovereignty of the land itself, and the sovereignty and self-determination of the stewards of those lands, the original peoples, who are now called the indigenous peoples, while also honouring and respecting those who have been stolen, who are now called Black peoples. This is more important than ever, right now, as I, a non-Black settler, write during Black History Month, while Black people are still being discriminated against in settler colonial Canada, while the Wet’suwet’en are persecuted for protecting the land and their people, while the Anishinaabe on whose territory I reside continue to have their land and sacred waterfalls stolen by settlers and the Crown.
If we can fulfill this Prophecy of protecting and healing the land, the spirits, the ancestors, and ourselves, through accompliceship and reparation, then we can again begin something new. Another Creation story awaits us.
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