Guest post written by Kaitlin Curtice, a Native American author, teacher and worship leader. She has a book coming out this fall with Paraclete Press, and writes regularly on her blog, www.kaitlincurtice.com, where she writes on the intersection of spirituality and everyday life.
When I began my blog five years ago, I named it Stories because I needed a space to tell mine, and a space that might encourage others to tell theirs as well.
On March 6th I hosted an event in my city called DAPL & NATIVE AMERICA: AN EVENING OF DISCUSSION & MUSIC. The evening was about storytelling, the story that we are called to be good, to be kind, to care for one another and to care for this planet that we call home.
It was simple, and the longer we lingered in that space, the more I realized that all of this is about Standing Rock, and it’s about so much more than Standing Rock. It’s about native peoples, and it’s about so much more than just nativeness.
It’s about our identity as human beings.
A little past seven, I began my story.
“I am a tribal member of the Potawatomi Citizen Nation. I was born in Oklahoma in an Indian hospital. I grew up moving between Oklahoma and New Mexico, where we lived on reservations. My father worked for the BIA until I was nine years old.
At that time, my parents divorced, and I found myself spending my teenage years in a mostly white, southern Missouri town. Much of the native culture I’d spent my childhood in was a distant memory by the time I graduated high school.
Now, as an adult, I’m asking a lot of questions of my memories and my past. It is important that who I am as a Potawatomi woman be found as I look back and ahead. The more I seek my own identity, it leads me to things like caring for the earth, living a simple life, learning my native language, and practicing native culture.
This is the beginning of something, just as Standing Rock was another beginning, and is not over. I dream that more spaces like this bubble up all over our city, and I believe they are. It is what we can do with our power as people and citizens.”
The rest of the evening was full of singing and sharing. Jonathan shared his experiences as a Navajo man. With tears in my eyes, I listened as he asked what it means to live in a good way, as our ancestors would want us to. We live for simple moments, we are good to each other, we care for each other– this is the native way, he said.
Another woman talked about the division she faces in her own skin, and the difficult task of loving her Creole and native self in a way that honors both parts of her heritage.
I should have known then that things would happen this way– so organically. This event was about the opportunity to express what it means to be human, to connect to others and to this earth, to recognize that no matter who our ancestors were, today we have the chance to be good to each other, to use our activism wisely.
It is why I have hope for today’s America. It is why I have hope for my people, for the people who are allies to protect our planet.
We have hope because we have stories.
We have hope to care for this earth, because she has always cared for us.
And we will do it together.Tags: creation care, DAPL, Holy Trinity, hope, Native culture, Standing Rock, storytelling