Connected By Rituals
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Many of us have familiar rituals in our lives, specific ways we share food with family over a dinner table or traditions celebrated annually with our communities or religious institutions. For some, the act of connecting to our culture occurs while in nature.
Whether young or old, many contributors reflected on how they honor nature, work to preserve their Native lands and participate in rituals with key components sourced from nature.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in these stories are solely those of the authors.
We believe salt water heals and visit the ocean as often as we can. Ka'iulani (Kanaka Maoli/Native Hawaiian)
There is the long standing tradition of giving an elder the inner bark of the red osier dogwood as a gift to be smoked. Sometimes for the purpose of asking questions regarding protocol and sometimes it’s gifted simply for the sake of giving it without intention or motive. What most don’t realize is that it isn’t actual cigarette tobacco that’s put in our pipes but the red osier dogwood.” Craig (Santee Native/African American)
Today is November 2nd. I keep my native traditions by celebrating the Day off the dead. It is believed that the spirits of our ancestors come and visit us during the times. We use plant medicine like copal plant resin to purify our space and we use corn, rosemary, and other plants to heal off body and spirits as well.
I also keep our traditional dances alive every week I dance with my people and that is very healing. I also do all this so we don't forget, it's important for me that my son and my family keep our ancestors proud and have a strong future for the indigenous people of the Americas.
"One of the ways I do it is I come to events such as this one (Archaeofest) and as the people come through and ask good questions I do my best to give them good answers. To help them understand that yes, we are still here and we're not dangerous.
I have participated in sweat lodge, firewalking, and I do pipe ceremony fairly regularly which is our way of prayer.