BooZhoo! Greetings! Aniin! Welcome!
The leaves are falling again, the air is crisp, and I have wrapped up another busy season. As I conclude this recent 'quarter,' I smile. When I reflect upon the last 5-6 months, I certainly find myself conflicted with feelings. I am happy for what I've experienced. Despite experiences including loss, frustration, adversity, I am joyous, I am grateful for what the Creator has bestowed upon me. I was reminded how fragile our worlds are, yet that fragility creates strength and resilience. We find what is inside us as the outside world tries to break us down with anger, disrespect and ignorance.
I fell upon the title of this blog through a peer, James Vukelich, who is a fellow Shinob, a fellow Anishinaabe, who puts his love, time and energy into the revitalization of our Ojibwe languages. As I was checking in on the daily word, I thought to myself, "how fitting."
During the summer months, many find themselves flocking to the lakes, rivers, and vacations. Unfortunately, as usual, I found myself far busier this summer than I anticipated. I had kicked off with starting here in Grand Forks, North Dakota at the Arts on the Red, and finishing this busy season in San Francisco, California at the Social Impact Markets- SOCAP17 Summit. Yet despite the busy, I greatly enjoyed it. I have not experienced more travel, people, learning and growth than I have in this last year than I can recall.
I am making time for self care when possible, which includes maintaining and reconnecting with my roots, my Indigenous roots, my cultural identity. I have been making it a priority to listen to my original languages lost along the way of adulthood, I continue to get my hands dirty with soil, working on traditional arts, regalia making. I do these things for my family and myself. I find it creates balance in my work, home life, philanthropy and goal developing.
I have observed as technology advances, many, including myself are beginning to acknowledge we are missing basics of nature in our lives. During this recent growth spurt of mine, I find myself cultivating ideas to connect myself back to the land and people; hoping that this can create a trickle effect within and beyond my community. I have found my more introverted self, pushing boundaries, calling people up, both familiar and strangers, asking to be within their presence. Soon, I was enriched with company, new experiences, and my family at my side.
Over the summer, we had an amazing opportunity to travel to Red Lake, MN to visit Wayne Valliere, who was building a traditional Birchbark canoe, which is a lost art. It was amazing to take items we may over look in today's modern world, and create such a beautiful piece of functional art. Its acts like this that keep me moving forward. As we continue in this world of innovation, we need to look back at methods such as creating this canoe. It's amazing how the Creator provides what we need, and yet I'm saddened how we take this for granted. I hope to better build my own practices, so that these skills can get passed down to many more generations.
As I continue this journey of mine, where I hope to find balance in today's world, I struggle. I believe in the unity of respecting & uplifting one another's differences, this needs to be done tactfully and with respect. I am so amazed by the abundance in diversity the world has. There is so much beauty within each of us, we all have so much to contribute to this world. As I continue to work towards better understanding, mutual respect, celebration of one another, and helping one another, I feel those who I love and respect, may not reciprocate those feelings. I find myself welcoming the fall and winter, where I can reflect upon the words and actions, or lack there of. I see that this is an opportune moment in which I will learn to navigate, utilizing the patience I have developed through the many diversions, obstacles, and conflict I have come across in my 36 years of living. So now, as I retreat back into my studio space to prepare for an upcoming show in the Spring, as well as conclude a fellowship, I look forward to what is yet to come. My joy is that I believe in you, and I believe in me. We are all in this together.