down from the mountain

damn y’all! i have been up a mountain with no service here in colorado, unable to blog or do any of the lovely web stuff i normally center my output life around…

everytime i think my life is falling into place some other huge section shifts, opening a door to more work i want to do, and its better. i just spent a week with the ruckus society doing a training for one of our programs, IP3 (indigenous people’s power project). it was a training of trainers, giving folks the skills to teach their communities direct action skills.

as a side note, once the training was done i had to do the dishes of like 40 people one day, and clean a group bathroom. ah…living mah values ain’t no joke! plus its so high and dry here that i (and everyone else) were having nosebleeds every night.

on a more serious note, the training was amazing. the ip3 director marty brought together indigenous youth from the u.s. and canada, different regions, people, but similar struggles all over. the battles in which these young folks are involved (for sacred sites, for fishing and hunting and land rights, against the canadian and u.s. governments which have repeatedly shown a lack of humanity in their dealings)…i feel so inspired and moved.

it was deep, being part of the non-native training team. especially since we were specifically addressing the fact that indigenous communities should be past having to rely on non-natives for this type of training. i was so proud of ruckus for being the type of org that would make space for this, the program is going to be incredibly powerful.

being around so many native women in particular made me really want to press my parents to trace my lineage back. the nature of my family has always been that we haven’t looked back, my parents rejected the racism of the deep south, so its been the five of us against the world. in more recent years we’ve gotten reacquainted with the extended family, and its been amazing, but i still have this rootlessness, when i think of family i am mostly a story teller…everytime we’ve gone down i’ve listened and taken notes on all the stories. now i want to go deeper. i want to know which of the rumors are true, i want to know. to hear people talk about their connection to land, reminds me that as i do more and more work around the earth as our most common struggle, i need to reconnect my personal story to land.

another deep aspect was the no drinking policy. alcoholism has had such a devastating effect on the communities the participants came from that we had a dry camp, which meant i had a dry week for the first time in i don’t know when. you don’t know how much you drink till you can’t. the similarities though, between the effects of colonizer culture on native and black communities was deep. the spread of ideology was as wide here as it is when i speak with black revolutionaries – the sense of what a victory that is realistic to what is possible now was as hard to pin down. where does discipline enter into cultural identity? i couldn’t help but think of the battles my family has had with alcoholism and drug dependency. i welcomed the straight edged experience, though it is not mine. 

i am looking forward to the end of plastic wrapped mattresses – this camp used to be for christian youth and the bunk bed culture is a fairly new experience for me, i missed the whole camp thing as a kid. i also wouldn’t hate on a razor, some junk food, and a whiskey before we head back up the mountain. so i’ll leave this post here.

am still trying to figure out my plan for moving across the country, now i have to go to canada for much of may so…maybe i will have more time in ny? hee hee!