A Personal Celebration of Indigenous Eastern N.C. Cultural Heritage ~ From the Last Toisnot Tuscarora Gatekeeper
Yesterday, while braiding my hair, Felicia Farmer asked me how I felt about my upcoming trips to Calgary, Canada and New Orleans. I told her I was fearful because I’m alone and, as a woman, I don’t want to be lost or stolen. But my prayer for the last fifteen months has been to have preserving, steadfast faith and unshakable hope. Be careful what you pray for because you will be tested to see if you are sincere. So as someone who isn’t fearless, I step out on faith to sojourn to the land of The Blackfoot Nation. This continues my Life Event of “Flying the Coup to Freedom in Canada.”
It’s a lot of fear swirling around in American society today. We all feel fearful of the unknown. But, for faith, fear will overcome us. But, for love, fear will turn to hate. But, for desperation, fear will steal your joy. But, for anger, fear will harden your heart. But, for selfishness, fear will destroy your soul. Everyday, each of us has a choice on what we want to make today. Do I want to make unity, harmony and celebrate peace inside and out or do I want to make mayhem, discord and celebrate how unfair life can be. It’s my life, my choice! My choice is for peace inside myself because it takes so much less effort to maintain, leaving energy for me to be creative. I’m learning not to judge other people for their life choices, because until I’ve walked a mile in their moccasins I’m clueless of their circumstances.
Creativity through design thinking demonstrates that there are no shortcuts, fast fixes, quick solutions. The process of transformation is hard and lonely. It causes you to dig deep within yourself to become your best self. The process of creating transformation on cloth using natural plant dyes helps me. My momma said, “If you can witness transformation on cloth with indigo dyeing, it’s easier to believe that you can walk it out in your life.”
So, I travel “Up North to Freedom” with one song, Mahalia Jackson singing, “If I Can Help Some Body.” And I share my one authentic dance, “Algonquin Eastern Woodlands Blanket Dance,” given to me by Kathy Crippin at the Machapunga Tuscarora Pow Wow in Moratoc Park overlooking the Roanoke River. I’m humbled and abundantly blessed by this opportunity. I’m standing on generations of prayers, especially my dying mother’s specific prayer for me to share plant dyeing and stitching.