By Marva Sii~xuutesna Jones, Tolowa/Yurok/Karuk/Wintu Ancestral Worldview Activist
As xvsh (human beings) of Nvn-nvst-’a~ (Mother Earth), we must reflect our value of place-based connection. We reveal our value of place intentionally in how we love, how we walk and what we do. We are people of these places and living in these spaces; we must acknowledge place to remain connected and/or reconnect to ourselves through our hearts, minds and presence as we are mindful of our homeland. The value of place is a meaningful, deeply-seated practice of thousands of generations preexisting this lifetime. The connection of place comes through our relationship with source. These values of source are directly linked to our ancestral foods with positive impacts of community-building, increasing engagements with our environments and prioritizing the relevance and awareness of our active worldview balance.
Place-based value aligns us with our source, as it is the core function of everything we are, everywhere we go and everything we do, as we create life itself. In this sense, source is defined as Nvn-nvst-’a~ and all her beautiful offerings. Relationship with source is purposeful in our humble walk throughout our lifetime as we consciously engage our share here, at this time, in our most purposeful ways. It’s having the courage to be a model and expression of truth through meaningful approaches which is its ultimate form, love. Carrying this attention of place forth is ever so vital to enriching our health, wellness and very existence.
Caring for place and connecting with Nvn-nvst-’a~ illustrates our strong ties to uphold this relationship. Acknowledgement is a very deliberate act as it reconfirms our essences of source. These practices of value have been modeled and perpetuated by our Indigenous Tribal peoples of this very homeland (Tolowa, Yurok, Hupa, Wiyot and Karuk) who have lived in healthy balance with Mother Earth for millennia. These acts of connection come through prayer, song, dance, intention, reflection, respect, love and food. During these acts we acknowledge all life before us and yet to come after us; history, lineage, matriarchs, happiness, challenges, lessons, gifts and stability are reflected with strength, sustenance and balance through intentional deed and care.
We are made of stardust, we are made of the exact same elements, minerals and compounds of Mother Earth. Undeniably, our sacredness goes beyond the scientific structures and is expressed through our relationships with source in a myriad of acts.
The simple, yet very effective practice of acknowledgment, centers us and orients us to be mindful of where, how and what we carry forward. Holding onto this relationship is a daily approach. Daily reminders of gratitude shape our connections and strengthen our bonds.
Comprehensive protocols to simple acts of sacredness enhance and uphold our relationship with source. Our ancient ceremonial practices illustrate these very acts of care still practiced today. Coming together as one to praise and thank our Mother Earth and all its sustenance remains strong. We do not limit our celebration of sacredness, as ceremony is a daily practice and relates to our direct overall well-being. Gratitude keeps our minds and hearts focused on the good things this life offers us and our foods are an essential and primary component of this relationship. Upholding these intentional relationships demonstrates our ancestral care today as we thrive beyond colonization.
Being heartful and aware of our was-li~ (energy) is our ultimate truest form of self, through uplifted expression in its rawest forms. When we are actively conscious of how we create our was-li~, it guides our authenticity and ability to live in balance with source. Sharing our was-li~ through an active exchange cultivates our intentions as awareness is primal.
We move to enhance our lives through this exchange in creating our lives. We must train our minds and hearts to elevate and vibrate in our own chosen forms and frequencies. Expressing the fullness of our own essence is vital to place-based connection. Healthy was-li~ exchange and attuning ourselves in our frequency is alchemy. Healthy balance syncs and uplifts these things that keep us whole.
It’s caring for our food sources. It’s praying for these sources which nurture our energy. It’s harvesting and processing our foods with our youth. It’s talking to our foods while we are harvesting them, thanking them for their nutrients. It’s consuming these foods which engages us in their biomes and habitats.
It’s living and loving through experiencing our places and defending their existence. It’s our intentions through deliberate acts that encourage us to be more in tune with our places. It’s participating in practices that engage all of our senses to uphold our ancestors while preparing and creating unbroken space for our descendants.
It’s our matriarchal bonds through our maintenance and growth of our matriarchal teachings. It’s nurturing these bonds with the women in our lives. It’s building and expanding these teachings, so they are securely tied to our future.
It’s visiting our places we hold sacred. It’s giving back respect and acknowledging where we put our feet and spaces we cross or live. It’s looking at our own carbon footprint and paying attention to our waste.
It’s ensuring our homelands survive beyond capitalism and protecting the rights of Mother Earth to exist. It’s being mindful of what we support and how we can help.
It’s speaking up and showing up to defend our very existence in a world where everything is a commodity, and worth is only measured by money. It’s being that voice at water board meetings, air quality board meetings and at global climate actions. It’s being at actions to safeguard and protect our places threatened by development and corporate abuse. It’s our responsible stand of keeping these things we hold sacred, sacred.
It’s engaging our youth by modeling, teaching and showing techniques, protocols and practices to sustain our value of place-based connections. It’s restoring and renewing our approaches with rooted balance offered in a loving way to foster empathy to others and ourselves.
It’s being conscious of all these things that keep us thriving. It’s being mindful of our choices and how we treat things, people and ourselves. It’s how we think, how we talk and how we share. This is the deepest part of resourcing our source as we manifest a world that returns to respecting our worldview of place-based blessings. It’s a way of life, it’s a mindset that we choose in how we relate to our source. We were passed this relationship to nurture our homelands and ultimately ourselves.
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Marva Sii~xuutesna Jones is a community-builder with ancestral approaches at the forefront. Service and advocacy are offered in grassroots, community-driven and tribally-focused initiatives. Sii~xuutesna is committed to strong bonds of lineal responsibility of decolonization, while practicing and protecting these things that keep us whole.