The Definition of Indigenous – Anishinaabeneity

I am awake, I am alive, and this morning I am smiling in love … with our elders.

For many Indigenous nations, our elders are our everything. They are our wisdom, our grounding strength, our history, the source of our teachings, our examples, our nurturers, our guides, and easily, our greatest treasures.

Yet Covid restricted and reduced our access to them. An opening or closing at a virtual event remained but no true opportunity to listen, to learn, to absorb, to grow but yesterday, I got the chance!

A project I am part of believes in the guidance of the elders, the plan being to bring one in at various steps along our journey together, to ground our work in indigeneity, to reaffirm our mission.

Yesterday, I had the honour and privilege of listening (and crying) to Mac Saulis, and as always, Creator sent just who I needed.

Amongst many gems that I will cherish, Mac shared how he was challenged at one point to define “indigenous”. He didn’t want to but then realized “If we don’t, who will?”

In the end, he shared his definition with us, words that simply and instantly became my goal in life –

Indigenous – to live and think and be the way we were before the others came.


So I leave that with you, my friends. For the Indigenous, the challenge to go back into ancestral memory, back before punishment and judgement, back before abuse and fear, back before racism, back to pride and strength and resilience, back to caring for our people, back to health.

The non-Indigenous may not understand but then they never did, and that’s okay. This is not their journey but ours.

And this is me, forever refocused on my own Anishinaabeneity.

I love you!