Creating Living Water Is Life Indigenous Indigo Medicine Cloth
I was born to The Blues, as were my mother and grandmother. Our Blues came from intergenerational trauma associated with Jim and Jane Crow and the segregated racist practices of growing up and living in Eastern North Carolina. Our mixed-blood Toisnot Tuscarora heritage was and still is invisible to the dominant Anglo power structure, and to many state-recognized Native American groups. The categorization of people by skin color is still practiced in Eastern North Carolina, especially by many indigenous people. People with Anglo or Hispanic blood ties are favored over those of us with West African ancestral connections. I have 73% Native American ancestry but to many in Eastern North Carolina, I’m less indigenous than someone with 27% Native ancestry and 73% Anglo blood ties. Such is the land that I, my mother, and my grandmother were born on.
The Blues were birthed in Eastern North Carolina in 1715 with the massacre and captivity of Skaru:re people at Fort Neyuheru:ke in Greene County. The captive women and children were marched to Charleston, South Carolina, put on ships, and sold into slavery in Northern states. The Blues are about extreme emotions from enduring hard times, suffering oppression, the joys and heartaches of love relationships, and the hardships from living in skin of color in the antebellum South.
The knowledge of “Stitching Up My Blues” on cloth was transferred to me by Grand Mere or Mary Burnette in Georgetown, South Carolina as she sang spirituals in her heavily accented Gullah voice. Her daughter, Mat Randolph, whom I called Yat was my Godmother and primary caretaker as a child. Yat transferred the concepts of both “stitching” and “binding” up my Blues on cloth. Grand Mere and Yat along with my mother, grandmother, and a great grandmother passed down the traditions of making resist design patterns on bundles for indigo and natural dyeing.
Stitching and Binding Up My Blues Explained at the Indigenous Artist Intensive at Okanagan on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Canada.
The Teachings of Tala Tootoosis Taught Me That It’s Important to Wear Clothing of Significance When Participating in Indigenous Medicine Practices | Below Are My Stitching & Binding Up My Blues Outfit
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