Becoming Indigenous

Introducing the first of our Hedge School Podcasts.

Four years ago, I started writing a book with a core idea in mind which offered itself up in the Introduction like this:

In our own Western societies we are seeing more calls for a return to native wisdom, but we cannot live by the worldviews of other cultures, which are rooted in lands and histories that have little relationship to our own. And yet, so often we try to: we look for our spiritual practices to the East – to Taoism, for example, and to Buddhism; we look to the West for guidance on how to live in harmony with the land – to indigenous stories and traditions from the Americas. But fine as all of those traditions are, we don’t need to look to the myths of other cultures for role models, or for guidance on how to live more authentically, in balance and harmony with the planet on which we depend. We have our own guiding stories, and they are deeply rooted in the heart of our own native landscapes. We draw them out of the wells and the waters; beachcombing, we lift them out of the sand. We dive for them to the bottom of deep lakes, we disinter them from the bogs, we follow their tracks through the shadowy glades of the enchanted forest. Those stories not only ground us: they show us what we might once have been, we women, and what we might become again if we choose.

That book was If Women Rose Rooted, and it was published in March 2016. As I write two years on, it has sold many, many thousands of copies all around the world, almost entirely by word-of-mouth. There are so many of us out there who want to root ourselves back firmly into the heart of our native landscapes – or to find an anchoring in the traditions of our ancestral landscapes which we can bring home to new lands. There are so many who have never been helped to see that the way is already there – that the stories which show us how to find our way out of the dark woods of our forgetting already exist.

Here is another excerpt from that book:

For women particularly, to have a Celtic identity or ancestry is to inherit a history, literature and mythology in which we are portrayed not only as deeply connected to the natural world, but as playing a unique and critical role in the wellbeing of the Earth and survival of its inhabitants. Celtic myths for sure have their fair share of male heroism and adventure, but the major preoccupation of their heroes is with service to and stewardship of the land. And once upon a time women were the guardians of the natural world, the heart of the land. The Celtic woman who appears in these old tales is active in a different way from their heroes and warriors: she is the one who determines who is fit to rule, she is the guardian and protector of the land, the bearer of wisdom, the root of spiritual and moral authority for the tribe. Celtic creation stories tell us that the land was shaped by a woman … These are the stories of our own heritage, the stories of the real as well as the mythical women who went before us. What if we could reclaim those stories, and become those women again?

If women remember that once upon a time we sang with the tongues of seals and flew with the wings of swans, that we forged our own paths through the dark forest while creating a community of its many inhabitants, then we will rise up rooted, like trees.

And if we rise up rooted, like trees … well then, women might indeed save not only ourselves, but the world.

Two years on from the publication of that book, I’ve founded The Hedge School here in Connemara to pick up on those ideas and explore practical ways of manifesting them in the world today. The Hedge School arose from a conviction that our own indigenous stories are the ones that will save us now. It arose from a conviction that those stories, and the vast and complex body of old literature which holds up a mirror to the beliefs and customs of our ancestors, show us better ways of being in the world. And we need those better ways of being very badly now. We need them not just for ourselves, but for the planet. I wholeheartedly believe that the personal, social and environmental problems we’re facing today have arisen not just as a result of our profound disconnection from the beautiful animate world around us, but from a lack of rootedness in our own ancestral traditions. We have no lineage, no sense of continuity; no sense of who we are and why we are here. We don’t feel as if we belong to this crumbling and decadent Western civilisation whose values and have become abhorrent to us – but more often than not, we don’t know what it is that we want to belong to instead.

The Hedge School, then, picks up from where If Women Rose Rooted left off. It is about building a new folk culture – but one which is deeply rooted in the native traditions of Ireland and the British Isles. It’s about practical guidance for living well, living authentically, connecting with our places, and finding a deep, embodied sense of belongingness to this beautiful, animate Earth. It’s about reclaiming ancient wisdom – not to hark back to or try to recreate the past, but to use that wisdom to help us rebuild authentic indigenous traditions for today.

There’s an understandable caution about using the word ‘indigenous’ here in the West. But I’ve spoken to a number of tradition-bearers from indigenous peoples who believe it’s critically important for us to go and find our own indigenous selves, to reclaim our own indigenous traditions. And in the countries that we think of as ‘Celtic’ – especially here in Ireland – we find, when we delve deeply into the old literature and stories, many profound similarities between the worldview of our not-so-very-remote ancestors and that of indigenous cultures today. So, for example, Irish mythology tells us very clearly that we must live in ways that respect the land. Many of our folk tales are about negotiating with the wild. We see a reverence for the natural world, an acknowledgement that trees and animals have special kinds of wisdom which we do not, but which we can access … there’s a treasure trove of inspiration there, and it’s high time we reclaimed it.

Becoming indigenous, then, is about reclaiming our ancestral traditions, about bringing them back home and reweaving them into the texture of our daily lives. It’s about a sense of belonging which comes not only from deep immersion in a place, but a sense of continuity with the cultural history of the people we come from. The old stories show us the way. We might have a broken lineage; we might have little real idea of the devotional practices of our ancestors – but the old literature tells us the name of the old gods. It tells us the songs that the poets sang to praise a mountain or an oak; it tells us about the treasures that are to be found in the Otherworld. It instructs us in the art of shapeshifting, and reminds us why our world has become a Wasteland. It tells us that the Earth is sacred, and offers up an animistic perspective which tells us that yes, even a pebble on a beach has agency.

Although we can learn many fine things from them, we don’t need the worldviews and spiritual practices of other cultures to live by – we have our own noble traditions which offer up good enough guidelines to be going on with. We don’t need dogma, either, and we don’t need rules about what to eat on Sundays. What we do need is to overcome the loss of confidence which tells us that we must have mediators, or words written on tablets of stone, before we can speak to the old gods or the spirits of the land. We don’t need gurus or prophets or preachers – though we need teachers, yes, and elders, for sure. But we need above all to remember our own agency – to go out there with an open heart and a listening ear, and speak to this land which so longs for our participation.

A reclaiming of our indigenous traditions isn’t something which is relevant only to those of us who still live here in the lands of our ancestors – it’s relevant to the diaspora, too. I believe that there are two threads to all this work: a grounding in ancestral traditions, and a daily practice grounded in the place where your feet are actually planted. (I’ve written more about that here.) Sometimes those two threads sit side by side on the loom of our lives; sometimes they are separated by a distance of hundreds or thousands of miles. That distance can be bridged. And so this work will also be of interest to anyone who is looking to develop a sense of their own indigeneity – a sense of continuity derived from the traditions of their ancestors – which they can bring back in a meaningful and authentic way to the country and place they inhabit right now.

Becoming indigenous is a necessary response to a broken human culture and a profoundly damaged planet. It’s when we think of ourselves as not indigenous that everything starts to go wrong. We begin to think that the planet isn’t our problem. We begin to think that we can leave all that to other people – to people who know better; to people who are more connected. But that’s not good enough. We made these problems, and we must address them. Becoming indigenous means taking responsibility for our own actions, and at the same time embracing our innate capacity for transformation. It means weaving ourselves back into something remarkable: this complex and beautiful, animate Earth.

If you’re interested in these issues, please listen to my Hedge School Podcast with Pat McCabe – Woman Stands Shining, a Diné (Navajo) mother, grandmother, activist, artist, writer, ceremonial leader and international speaker. The discussion ranges around the question of what it is to be indigenous, and how those of us in the West can reclaim a sense of our own indigeneity. How do we create meaningful ceremony? What does it mean, to be elder?

You might also be interested in HedgeWalking – a new offshoot of The Hedge School which looks at how we might rebuild authentic spiritual practices for today, based on our ancestral traditions.

Sharon Blackie


17 Replies to “Becoming Indigenous”

  1. I love this notion, Sharon, of becoming indigenous. In today’s wold it’s more of a challenge than ever, but probably more necessary as well. Here in SE Pennsylvania, the Lenape presence is still felt keenly, esp. in place names, and in certain spots in certain woods. But your post made me think how each of us has an echo of our own indigenous legacy in our blood. Accessing that can mean so many things, and can send each of us on a winding journey. But I have found, as a writer and seeker of such wisdom, that in the end, we find wind our way back to our common humanity. I love the work you do, and have given ‘Rooted’ to my most beloved friends. I look forward to listening to your podcast with Woman Stands Shining.

  2. Sharon Blackie says:

    Thank you, Susan – that’s exactly what I was trying to convey. And also that we shouldn’t focus solely on our DNA, and on trying to connect back with some idea of ‘original place’ in searching for that sense of deep belonging. Rather, to remember that we all come from a variety of different lines of people who were once ‘indigenous’ – in some cases, not so very long ago – and that we bring the consequences of that remembrance back into our daily lives.

  3. I’m Italian on my father’s side and Scots-Irish on my mother’s, but have always felt drawn to the Isles. My father used to say that it made no sense because I had more Italian in me than anything else. But I also feel a deep connection to the Native American cultures here. I think if we go where our spirits lead us, we will always find gold!

  4. These dialogues have been going on for some time now, both in Europe and the Americas, and it is a deep and complicated debate. There are many key reasons for all people to re-indigenize right now as touched on in this post, but there are also social justice protocols that we must not ignore. For example, Pat McCabe does not speak for all First Nations peoples in the Americas, many of whom do NOT feel the term “indigenous” should be applied to Settlers who do not have a long-standing attachment to place. There are cultural protections already voiced that ensure white folks do not continue to colonize, appropriate or erase in this way. Even the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFOII) has developed the term “indigenous” by extensive criteria, and as white people we do not qualify.

    In fact, according to the majority of First Nations in the Americas, diasporans can certainly re-land ourselves here, but we are not welcome to use “indigenous” as a self-identifier. Some say if we cannot be “indigenous” (noun) we can certainly “re-indigenize” (verb) – but it is not that simple. First Nations in the Americas are still dealing with the after-affects of genocide and fighting for basic human rights every single day, and can we honestly think this is good time to be co-opting their cultural identity? They were on these lands long before us, and we must respect their claims to the term “indigenous.”

    I think those of us in the Ancestral Arts movement can agree to the urgent need for earth re-connection, but it is reckless and irresponsible to promote that white folks call ourselves “indigenous,” which flies in the face of First Nations consensus. For more information, both pro and con, my blog “Are White People Indigenous?” covers the different nuances of this ongoing debate. Thank you! I am an avid reader of “If Women Rose Rooted.”
    Pegi Eyers, author of “Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community”

  5. Sharon Blackie says:

    Yes, Pegi, I am aware of the complications. I am aware of the legal definitions of the word ‘indigenous’, and the questions which arise about using out of that context. And it seems that it can sometimes be a debate with all kinds of voices who would like to forbid, and not quite so many who would like to facilitate. And quite a bit of name-calling seems to go along with it too (reckless, irresponsible – you know.) I’m not a great one for forbidding and all that ‘noun’ and ‘verb’ malarkey; there’s enough forbidding in the world today. For me, in my own native lands, I feel quite comfortable in giving myself permission to reimagine my native traditions in any way that seems respectful of the land which I actually inhabit, and the other beings on it. I’m not co-opting anything, and people who look for an attachment to the land where their feet are planted, based on the traditions of their own ancestral lands, are not co-opting anything either. They’re actively trying NOT to co-opt, you see? (As long as they treat those ancestral traditions with respect. Appropriation can apply there too, you know?) I don’t propose to tell people in the Americas what they must or may do, any more than (with respect) I expect people in the Americas to tell me or others who inhabit our ancestral lands what we must or may do. Everyone follows their own conscience. But then I’m just in little old Ireland where sometimes life feels really simple! For sure no-one speaks for all native peoples any more than you speak for all settlers. Pat is nevertheless a deeply respected teacher and elder who is worthy of that respect, and offers the term ‘indigenous’ freely to all people who are genuine seekers. Oh, for more generosity like that in the world today. (She also teaches on a Schumacher College course called ‘Becoming Indigenous’, by the way. It’s all the rage!)

    P.S. I’ve never heard of the term ‘Ancestral Arts’! – how very nice that you have a movement, but I certainly don’t consider myself to be part of it.

  6. A note to Pegi, if I may presume. With respect, the connection I and many of my friends feel to indigenous cultures here in America has all to do with a recognition of the wisdom embodied by their traditions. We realize how much we can learn about stewardship, respect, and community from our First Nation people. I am very aware that I’m a daughter of immigrants (a whole other conversation!) but I was born in NJ and will always think of myself as an indigenous Jersey Girl. I think we get locked up into ” either/or” thinking when what we need in the word now is “both/and”.

  7. Pegi, I didn’t get the impression that Sharon was suggesting white people in colonized lands begin calling themselves indigenous. That would be absurd and offensive given the continued oppression that the indigenous populations of those countries face. In fact, I feel that Sharon made it explicit that she is aware that the term has a specific definition and use in social justice discourse. Her point was that if white people can reclaim the traditions and stories of our ancestors and native lands, we can anchor ourselves spiritually and culturally without ever having to appropriate from dispossessed indigenous people. Sharon is advocating for a process that seeks to reconnect people with their roots and thereby minimise colonial harm, not an identifier for hip white people to put in their Tumblr bio.

    While making an appeal to people everywhere, this article is specific in it’s address to people indigenous to Celtic lands, and their diaspora. By the definition on your own blog, Sharon is indigenous to Ireland; she is not a settler reclaiming the term to the detriment of others living in the same country. Because of this I feel that your comment misses the mark. The issues you mentioned are indeed of paramount importance, but trying to import American-style racial and colonial politics to Connemara without considering the different contexts at play reeks of cultural imperialism.

  8. Thank you for this writing and for the perspectives shared here. I am also a proponent of re-indigenization which is a very deliberate, aware, humbling process of decolonization of our own bodies, minds and support for and solidarity with indigenous peoples, nations and organizations on the lands upon which we are settlers. That said, I speak as an African born, also in Lenapehoking/New Jersey, on Turtle Island, the offspring of indigenous Africans stolen from Africa in an act of war against us and our land and culture. It is a necessary outcome of European christian colonialism meted out against the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, Africa, South America, Asia and Australia for settlers in those areas to be part of a deliberate and informed process of decolonization. Pegi Eyers raises some key issues of sensitivity and respect for people who are indigenous to those lands, any lands. They are the first ones we must look at in general to really get a gauge for the nature of our political, cultural and spiritual work no matter where we are. If we were indigenous people, we wouldn’t be having these conversations and not in this way.

    It is of utmost importance that we conduct ourselves with respect to what indigenous peoples have defined as necessary for their sovereignty, autonomy and safety on their lands, with respect to their aspirations and cultural imperatives. So we not only have to be careful of what we do, how we relate to the colonial, oppressive and patriarchal structures that have committed and still commit genocide, abuse and exploitation to this very day. We must acknowledge that colonialism privileges Europeans and white supremacy wherever they are, christian political ideas and capitalism, patriarchy and misogyny in general. DNA matters as it is related not only to how people are racialized and then derive privilege and power or experience marginalization and exploitation, but also to the processes and histories by which we are defined as human and spiritual beings, what our cultural legacies are, what our spiritual loading is, what our destiny is defined by.

    Sharon, you suggested a few things that raised concern for me. And you stated this important point: “For me, in my own native lands, I feel quite comfortable in giving myself permission to reimagine my native traditions in any way that seems respectful of the land which I actually inhabit, and the other beings on it. I’m not co-opting anything, and people who look for an attachment to the land where their feet are planted, based on the traditions of their own ancestral lands, are not co-opting anything either. They’re actively trying NOT to co-opt, you see?”. The key thing there is that you are talking about Ireland where you can claim indigeny. That is the land where your Ancestors are buried, the land from which your traditions were born, inspired by the naturo-spiritual dynamics of nature and the land. You mention that you are not about “forbidding” people to do things on the lands where they are living. That is less important speaking within the context of your own landed indigeny than in the complex relationship dynamics that colonialism sets up for settlers and indigenous. When we speak permissively of settlers, allowing them/us to create/appropriate/colonize our way into an abusive relationship with indigenous nations, peoples and lands, we validate the colonial crime of theft and cultural genocide (which is genocide.). We do have to realize in the settler context, no matter what our intention (we must be accountable to impact, more so than any loving or innocent intent), that there are certain things that any of the indigenous peoples will forbid us to do and that makes perfect sense to address. We are forbidden to appropriate their material culture and songs and practices and use them for our own purposes and revenue. First of all we were forbidden to steal their lands, bodies, rape and kill women and children and steal natural resources and exploit and spoil land, nature and the sacred waters. So, though we may not use the term “forbid” in our daily lives with regard to culture and politics, we are in a constant state in the settler colonial context of constantly committing crimes against the indigenous peoples through government policies, structural dynamics (i.e., Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, police and judicial systems abuses of indigenous people along with systemic oppression of African and other populations of Color by police, judicial, housing, educational and other systems). To speak of a sort of general permissiveness of not forbidding, being critical around settler presences, whether this is political, cultural, economic or spiritual, invites nothing more than the status quo oppressive colonial relationships that have been so deleterious to indigenous peoples on Turtle Island and elsewhere since Columbus. It’s not about what any settler might forbid or allow, but coming into alignment with what the indigenous people of any land needs and desires, what the call of their Ancestors defines for them.

    Also to claim being indigenous in New Jersey or anywhere on Turtle Island by anyone not politically and culturally identified as such (the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has been quite instructive on that definition that was struggled over for many years, though is not the only source of reasonable and righteous definition of such; many indigenous nations and peoples and others are rightly rebelling against the nature of the UN on several reasonable grounds) is nothing but an oppressive and colonial dynamic being played out, an appropriation of name, legacy, land and intent to continue such without compassionate awareness and deliberate attempts at solidarity and decolonization work. We cannot claim to be of the land without input and consent by those whose land it is, those whose Ancestors shed blood at the hands of christian European interlopers, those who created complex and functional spiritual and political cultures sinces the far-off times of their creation stories.

    It is a fundamental process of decolonization for all peoples who are not indigenous to the lands they occupy and benefit from to reconsider their relationship with that land and primarily with the peoples whose land was stolen so that they/we can have a house, land, apartment, supermarket, chemical company or convenience store. On Turtle Island, most every inch of land has been stolen and exploited and every inch of the body of that sacred Turtle has been affected by European christian colonialism, racism and misogyny. It is the job of every settler, even with respect to their own dynamics of oppression and power as a group (i.e., Africans or poor Europeans or LGBTQ folk) to orient themselves politically, culturally, economically AND spiritually to those people indigenous to those lands. It is not up to us to negotiate their best route forward or to cherry pick their politics and slide by with that perspective that allows us more mobility and power and privilege than they’ve seen in centuries.

    If we are indeed and in deed spiritual people, we have a mandate, as all do, to walk the earth with respect, not only to the land upon which many think we can make up any composite of stolen legacies as long as we bliss out in the process, but to the people whose lives are so heavily impacted by our presence. Those indigenous place names are often misplaced, misused, applied without consent and are just colonial manifestations of European presence that disrespected indigenous life (in Europe first due to christian and patriarchal hegemony) even before they set foot on the land they would come to destroy and defile. We have much hard work to do, that must be defined by some very serious political considerations that Pegi alluded to and defined, often with outcomes that change the shape of our lives in fundamental ways. Part of the compassion we must come to is that this is necessary to clear spiritual paths to liberation, for the autonomy and revitalization of those that carry valid indigenous lifeways on the land upon which they live and to move forward in a way that marks us as intelligent, caring, brave and authentic beings inspired by love and in the spirit of the Ancestors who gave us our sacred DNA and the bodies we inhabit in this day and time to do what is right in relationship to land, Spirit and humanity

    #womenwaterpeace #Ancestors #AllAncestors #menswork

  9. Sharon Blackie, thanks so much for the post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

  10. Sharon Blackie says:

    Dear Ukumbwa: I’m frankly perplexed by the persistent intent here either to misunderstand or mischaracterise what I am saying, as others have pointed out. I repeat: there is nothing either in my conversation with Pat McCabe on the podcast, nor in my blog, which suggests that I believe that people in North America should call themselves indigenous in the same way as native people do. There is much in that conversation, and in the blog, which shows that I am suggesting something quite different, and in a way which shows profound respect for indigenous peoples. I would very much appreciate it if you could read and listen again, because I am quite frankly beginning to find suggestions that anything about this work might ‘validate the colonial crime of theft and cultural genocide (which is genocide)’ offensive.

    There is an interesting TEDx talk by Okanagan Jeannette Armstrong which I would encourage you and others who are concerned about all of this to listen to. She makes an interesting distinction between ‘indigenousness’ (referring to native peoples) and ‘indigeneity’, which she speaks about as a process of re-integrating the human back into place, in a way which is respectful of all other life there. She uses the word ‘re-indigenise’ in this context. Perhaps you will argue that Jeanette Armstrong doesn’t speak for all native peoples, just as Pegi suggested Pat McCabe doesn’t, but I will tell you that I find the open-hearted, constructive encouragement of these two remarkable indigenous female elders more influential in my own thinking about what is possible and what is appropriate.

    In my own work with people from North America, Australia and elsewhere, who are clearly desperate for some way of connecting with the places which, for better or worse, they now inhabit, my teaching is very clear. Look to your own indigenous culture and traditions (as many other native elders have suggested you must do). recognise that you come from a line of people who (as both Pat and Jeanette explicitly state) once were indigenous to their own places. Let that knowledge give you confidence that you too can live on the land you inhabit with respect, in a way that is deeply connected. You have to do that, I tell them, because if you don’t find a way to bind yourself into the earth where your feet are planted, you’re not fully human. You’re not fully alive. And the land has needs too; the land deserves our love, our respect and our commitment. I encourage people to use their ancestral stories, their ancestral archetypes, to shine a light on ways they might better find their own path in the places they live without feeling the need to culturally appropriate the ways of others. That is always very clear, and very explicit, as I believe it is throughout this blog, the Hedge School website, and all other blogs and websites I’m associated with.

    I’m now going to respectfully close this blog post to all further comments of this kind, because it is simply not possible to engage in meaningful conversation when there is such a persistent determination to misunderstand.

    (Here is the Jeannette Armstrong video:

  11. Thank you Sharon for this podcast with Pat McCabe. I appreciated that Pat said she doesn’t speak for all peoples but clearly described her people of blood, her spiritual tradition, and her experiences around the world with other deeply rooted peoples. She beautifully described how her family’s “ant pile got kicked” and how her life has been, in part, an effort to reconstruct. You and Pat rightly named a dilemma that some of us find ourselves in today: Being rooted in a land where I am not a part of the native cultures or their stories and, at the same time, I am not any longer a part of the culture where all of my Irish ancestors were rooted. The take away I truly appreciated is that there is a place for me after all…by co-creating a new story, a new birthing, through the regular practice of asking for guidance and tapping into what Pat called “the sacred movement moving through all life.” This is a thread that I can hold onto — co-create a story for myself to “harmonize” and balance with the “sacred movement,” ask the land/the earth where I live for guidance, and to turn my service for this world into another kind of medicine.

  12. Sharon Blackie says:

    Thanks, Katharine – this is exactly the idea we were trying to offer here, for those caught in the in-between places. As Jeannette Armstrong offers in one of her slides on the TED talk I reference in one of my comments above: ‘The first steps toward re-indigenization would be to begin a dialogue on positioning indigeneity as a guide in asking the questions that modern society is confronted with.’ I am all for asking the questions, and having an open and respectful dialogue about the answers which might work for all of us, however we’ve ended up in the (sometimes precarious) positions we occupy on the planet.

  13. I just finished listening to your interview with Pat McCabe and found it fascinating. There seems to be an urgency now to re-connect with our Earth. Pat offers ways to do that along with permission to be creative in forging your own sacred way. There is more than one way to reach the Earth; it’s both/and not either/or. As a post-menopausal woman, I’d love to hear you and Pat do an elder woman discussion!.Loved your Selkie song!

  14. Joseph Collins (Seosamh / Seosaidh O’Coileain) says:

    A quick comment: on Turtle Island my experience with indigenous communities is that they WANT us to re-indiginize. One quote presented often is “Everyone’s ancestors were indigenous to some place at some time.” It in no way means us stealing the label “indigenous” in the Americas as a personal marker, rather it is the exact opposite. They’re telling us we do not need to co-opt their cultures, rather to find our own roots (so we don’t steal theirs). Only then can we share on the sane level and begin true reparations…

  15. I loved the Pat McCabe interview, and thank you also for the link to Jeannette Armstrong’s TEDx. I’m new to this and struggling to find my path back to the Earth and to work to help others reconnect and heal through the connection without being disrespectful of or appropriating other cultures’ indigeneity. I totally get what you’re saying, Sharon. I struggle with trying to find a way to reconnect. My ancestors come from many places, but I most strongly feel the pull of my Scottish Highlander ancestors. I think there is similarity between Native American and Celtic cultures, and that may be why I find the Native American, earth oriented way of being compelling here in my “place” in North America.

  16. Oh yes! Beautifully put.

  17. Regan Boulton says:

    I just finished an amazing book called The Four Sacred Gifts by Anita Sanchez. The writer in the beginning outlines how we use the word indigenous incorrectly, that we are all indigenous, however some of us are further removed from our roots than others. I loved this, it’s something I failed to put into words when discussing ‘indigenous communities’. It’s a book I recommend for anyone and the gifts offered come from many cultural roots, I only wished I was as awakened in my spiritual journey when the stories actual journey was occurring.

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