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Spring will bring victory for Six Nations

Spring will bring victory for Six Nations

Something beautiful lit up in my spirit recently and I had an a-ha moment: I am certain that this is going to be a victorious year for indigenous people. This is going to be a victorious year for Six Nations. Can you feel it too? For us Hauds specifically, I see that our generations endured

Something beautiful lit up in my spirit recently and I had an a-ha moment: I am certain that this is going to be a victorious year for indigenous people. This is going to be a victorious year for Six Nations. Can you feel it too?

For us Hauds specifically, I see that our generations endured monumental collective trauma. After surviving, we walked through another collective period of discovering our healing. Now, and dare I say for the first time in hundreds of years, Ongwehowe people are empowered, and empowering one another, ready to begin a new collective journey on the pursuit of wellness and abundance for ourselves and for the faces yet to come.

Allow me to paint a better image of what I mean. Our indigenous grandmothers and grandfathers were first wiped out by disease, then raged by warfare, and finally exiled en masse onto reservations.

After enduring and surviving attempted annihilation it only seems logical that those who endured through such a story would have developed some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In the midst of being psychologically paralyzed by fear and trauma some of our grandparents were lured into the temporary solace of an alcohol induced forgetfulness.

All around the reservations, our hurting grandparents were outnumbered by foreigners with a strange culture called Christianity.

Some of these newcomers had pure intentions and would become our allies and relatives. Yet others would be revealed as religious lunatics lusting after the flesh of indigenous women and children. These were wolves in sheep’s clothing who preached a false Christ that consumed the Haudenosaune – manipulating both biblical truth and our grandparents broken spirits into believing that there is no room in God and Heaven for drums, or dances, or the Ongwehonwe.

Subsequently, our grandmothers and grandfathers were oppressed; labelled and legislated into numbered identities and perpetual poverty – lorded over by men with a taste for perversion and a greed for dominion.

Dwelling at the bottom of society was what it was meant to be ‘Indian’ and this was the spiritual foundation of hopelessness that all reservations in Canada were built upon. This distorted foundation was built for the ‘Indians’ by the government of Canada, the churches of Canada and the willful blindness of ignorant sin from the Christians of Canada. And anything built upon it forever after was doomed to be crooked.

On Six Nations, and many other reservations, there has long been a thick, heavy and oppressive spiritual air hanging over our heads. I call it the dark spirit. Because we have been a nation broken by our painful past, the dark spirit has ruled happily over our territory. It manifests in many ways – most notably in the way people treat one another. It feeds things like gossip, manipulation, abuse, lies, and all other symptoms of lateral violence. The dark spirit is a bully. It is an expert at pulling people into the cycle of hate.

The dark spirit can enslave people; giving them a temporary sense of power in exchange for hurting people. Ever met somebody who is hell bent on destroying another person’s reputation? It is my belief they are being led by that dark spirit. It is the same spirit that led the colonizers to oppress indigenous people and its only rewards are destruction, division and emptiness.

Because the dark spirit reigned for so long in the past, it somehow felt like Six Nations used to be a place where nothing positive truly had the opportunity to grow. Almost like a barren womb or an infertile field. When a good spiritual seed was planted in hopes of it becoming something beautiful, in swept the dark spirit only to leech life from the seed and render it void.

But now my ‘cousints’, our people have grown in wisdom and humility. We have blossomed in our pain in spite of the dark spirit, and we have connected with one another in a very real healing journey. We have come alive and we see one another now as collective survivors. We fought hard, we have endured – and now we have our victory.

It is tangible in the air. Winter is ending. The earth and her children are warming up. Spring is coming soon. The reign of the dark spirit is coming to an end and the rise of the Haudenosaune people is inevitable.

 

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Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow, Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations, is Outreach Editor for the Two Row Times. Her popular column, Scone Dogs and Seed Beads brings weekly thoughts on current day indigenous identity. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She studied Journalism, Human Rights and Indigenous Studies at Laurier University. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who also brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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