A Historical Concept …

I am awake, I am alive, as yet another amazing week affords us the opportunity to “stay in our lanes”.

And this is not a new concept. In fact, it is what Indigenous peoples have interpreted as the desired relationship since first contact and the Wampum Belts of our Mohawk brothers and sisters prove that.

The pictured belt is from the 1400s created to represent a treaty between the Indigenous signatories and their Dutch counterparts. It is not just a pattern (Indigenous work rarely is, whether painting, sculpture or beadwork). It is actually the agreement itself.

The white beads – water.

One row of blue beads – said to represent the European ships.

The other row of blue beads – said to represent the Indigenous canoes.

The concept – Europeans were to stay in their lane, running their communities and raising their children in a way that made sense to them. So too for the Indigenous communities and children. Neither would interfer with the other BUT they would travel together, paddling slower or faster as the case maybe to stay beside the other.

In 2021, as Indigenous peoples continue to focus on healing, on replacing the skills taken from us during the generations of incarceration of our children in residential schools, we ask our allies to do same – focus on your lane. Fix your mess. Shut down the hate. Quit encroaching on Indigenous lands and rights. And stop thinking you know what our communities need.

If you truly do, we will ask. No need to come knocking.

On this glorious Monday, the journey and the paddling continues.

I love you!

PS – This works really great as a relationship model as well. Are you paddling beside your partner, slowing or speeding up as required, or are you in fact, in their lane?