A Time of Recognition…
I have been in Venezuela for almost two weeks and everywhere I look I see people that look like my Native relatives back home. I remember when I was little my father use to tell me the only different between the Indigenous people in the North vs. the Indigenous people of the South is that the people who colonized us spoke English and the people who colonized the Indigenous in the South spoke Spanish. I can’t tell you how true this statement really is.
Franco, my beloved other half and I had the opportunity to attend a meeting on how Indigenous traditional councils are being implemented into the government system down here. It was really interesting to see what the people had to say. Very similar to our traditional councils back at home, they tend to be a little corrupt and although the government has good intentions the political figures who are in charge of the council are hand picked rather than elected. As we begin to develop our Digital Youth Council I want to make sure that we are acting as our ancestors once did and making sure that the needs of the people are being met.
After the meeting, I met a beautiful Indigenous poet whose mother and grandmother remembered my father. In 2002 my father and I were invited by the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, to participate in a ceremony that recognized all Indigenous people throughout the Western Hemisphere. It was amazing and wonderful to meet the President but it was even more amazing to see and get to meet all the Indigenous leaders.
Anyway, back to my story, I wrote my father’s name on a piece of paper and the lady I met whose name is Morales Maneiro immediately recognized it, she said, “I will never forget this name.” She went on to tell me that her mother and grandmother came home after the ceremony and said the met a great man who had a good heart. They said when he conducted the ceremony that you could feel he brought his ancestors with him when he was praying just like their spiritual leaders do in their ceremonies. “We must have a ceremony for you!” she said, and so that night Franco and I attended a ceremony at her house. When we got there it remind me of our ceremonies back at home. Everyone was gathered around outside and Franco and I had sometime to visit with the grandmother and her 16 year old great-granddaughter. We talked about the young people in our communities and they voiced their concerns about how the young people are turning their backs on their cultures. Although, I feel our young people in North America are beginning to rejoice in our cultures we all of us agreed that we must continue to inspire our communities to never forget where they came from and never give up on our fight for justice.
That evening we prayed really hard for the younger generations to hold onto their cultures and not forget the teachings of the grandmothers. We also prayed one day that the prophecy of the Reunion of the Condor and the Eagle might one day come true. This prophecy states that there will come a time when the Indigenous people of the North reunite with the Indigenous peoples of the South and people would begin to respect the teachings of the ancestors and our relationship with Mother Earth. Interestingly, the day before I had met a gentlemen that use to big good friends with Dennis Banks, who was a key figure for the American Indian Movement. He let me read a letter that Dennis Banks had personally written in 1968 to the Indigenous peoples of the South. In his letter he recognized the struggles of the brothers and sisters in the South and said it was time to come together. Now here I am forty years later also sharing this same vision of reuniting.
It was truly an amazing experience I will never forget. The grandmother was so happy and in her prayers she really focused on the young people. She said her one wish in life is that when she passes onto the next world she hoped that our generation would not forget to have ceremonies when a visitor came from a far away place.
Most of all this experience showed me that when you put your heart and mind in a good place, and your vision is for the people, good things will happen in order for you to accomplish your goals!
All My Relations,
Deloria Many Grey Horses