Meditations on what it means to be indigenous

“Siberian Deer”, by Shanti Kumari Johnson, inspired on a National Geographic Magazine photograph.

What is it to be indigenous? Indigenous to the land or to your self. Indigenous even to your heart. What is indigenous? Who is indigenous and to what?

For we are metaphors of our minds, but the reality is that some people and cultures have been indigenous to the land for far longer than others. So have some plants. So have some animals. So have many more organisms. What is our amazing planet indigenous to?

And what comes with the indigenous people and cultures is a knowledge that links the human being to all other organisms and the consciousness of infinity.

At some point, these indigenous people have been and still are being ripped from their inner peaceful ways into ways of total disharmony. Hence, our planet suffers. Hence, we people, suffer.

And yet, the planet ever benevolent,  continues to create beauty and abundance in case we care to notice. Even if we do not focus our attention on the beauty, though many of us do, it springs forth as a clear fresh dew drop or in many wonder ways and forms.

As the mystery who-done-it becomes clear fact, it does not seem to matter why or how or who tore the world apart. Separating families, and creating boundaries, making imaginary countries and nations that begot patriots and nationalists and all of us thinking in only the ‘me’. Nor can our hearts or spirits or beings or whatever it is that composes us:  ‘the beauty’, nor can our beauty take the sadness of knowing that we’ve sat and watched; that we’ve stood and lived; that we’ve paid and bought; that we’ve accepted and even ejected into being these market times.

But still, it is not our fault. Nor is it time’s dynamics of cycles in the forms of eras that swept us into this sensational chunk of existence.

However, it is our ‘fault’ in the manner of big gap, if we have felt an inkling of connection to our own heart and still have managed to stay apart from it. Equating non indigenous to our heart, with not caring about the indigenous peoples of the lands. Therefore, not caring about the land.

And yet again, the healing, peaceful planet has held our hearts in its so gentle hands, so that the indigenous peoples and ways are springing forth as clear water dew  drops everywhere.

Shanti Kumari Johnson, of multi-ethnic origins, traces her Mayan ancestry back to her paternal grandmother’s family in Yucatan. Chicago-based dancer, yoga instructor, painter and poet, Shanti Kumari is active in a native healing circle in the Illinois-Wisconsin area