“I am so proud to be indigenous. I know we have an innate spiritual sense, a great reverence for Mother Earth… and this keeps us in the arms of our Creator.”
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – we are all related!
~ Carmen Baraka
Honoring Native American Elder in our Community
Carmen Baraka Spirit Warrior
Today I am writing to honor the life of our dear Elder, Teacher and Leader, Carmen Baraka. The sorrow and great loss we feel is immense and yet we also know she was fully aware of her ‘walking on into her future’. There are so many things to share about Carmen and her incredible leadership in our community – I know I will have time to say them. She was and is at peace, fully coherent on her path.
I want to honor Carmen alongside you today, and invite you join me in prayer and gratitude for her contribution to this world, our Intentional Creativity community, and Cosmic Cowgirls.
Our gratitude is deeply felt and will forever cherish Carmen’s teachings in our community over the past eleven years. She was my teacher, my mother, my sister, my Elder, my inspiration and collaborator in ceremony with Intentional Creativity at the deepest level.
Jonathan and I were able to spend a few days with her and her wife, Denise, and family, in preparation for her departure to her next form. During our visit, we planned her first solo exhibit in our museum, with her show coming in March. As part of her completion in this dimension and my own role in the stewardship of certain pieces of her work. I am grateful to be able to share with you some special offerings in her honor, including her written introduction to the Way of the Red Thread Guidebook, her solo show Spirit Warrior featuring ten years of paintings, and the Good Relations United States Citizen’s Acknowledgement to the Indigenous Peoples. We have been working on these projects for some time, all of which will be highlighted in March during our usual annual trip to the United Nations – this year, virtually.
We at MUSEA : Intentional Creativity look forward to sharing the Good Relations Citizen’s Acknowledgment with you soon – an invitation to stand with us for Native Women and Girls. Carmen was very much an integral part of our Black, Indigenous and Women of Color focus and projects over the past ten years and was a part of our Re-Membering Circles for Mending Racialized Trauma. Our last Re-Membering Circle was guided by Carmen, and we were deeply blessed to have been able to spend this time in her presence, and in the grace and deep medicine of her spirit work.
I remember one day she told me she was proud of me for making a stand for Indigenous peoples within Musea and I laughed and said, “What? Do I have a sign on my back saying ‘Ancestor’s pick me’?” We laughed and she said, “Well, everybody else they asked to do this said no, so you are it.” We spoke very clearly and plainly about the issues facing Native Peoples and together began the Good Relations Citizen’s Acknowledgement as a first step in Reparations within the United States – one created of our own volition and on our own conscious terms.
Here is my work in progress that I’ve been painting during Carmen’s transition. Today, it is time for more ceremony and to pray in paint. To be honest I wasn’t sure whether to write you about this through the grief. Jena, Mary and I were very close with her and our hearts are aching beyond. A great loss for us all.
Then as I sit in my own tears and think of all the work we have done, I know it is right. She said that one of the big issues is Native People, and especially Native Women, not being shared in the media. Well, we have our own media channel here, and I want her send off into the cosmos to be known – our arms around her and our voices in prayer.
I look forward to sharing her upcoming solo exhibit taking place during the Many Muses Daylong Festival on March 26. We will honor Carmen’s legacy together. More will be shared about that soon.
With love to all who mourn with us, and who celebrate her life,
~ Shiloh Sophia
Here is an excerpt of a message Carmen sent to me in December 2020 called Quantum Love. I received permission to share it.
“Hi Shiloh, just wanted to send you some blessings from my heart to yours, something that’s meaningful for me to give to you for your earnest work and deep awareness and understanding of the healing that must happen for the Native people.
So this lets me explain what it’s like to be in Circle and Ceremony, which has been handed down since the beginning of time. It’s like breathing into Grace, into the quantum field. To be in a moment of reverence where you are set free to experience the validity of the true nature of spirit, the sublime nature of beingness. To know you are between worlds, the I am that I am. I am most comfortable here in this place of giving and receiving, in this place of quantum identity, where you find out and can feel this realm in a profound way, an actual view that we are all interconnected, an alignment with the stars. When you can actually experience what you feel is your deepest truth, hold it in your hand and have it be tangible, that is the gift that is pure joy, that is the awakening.
When you can hear the stories of the past, the information of the future and the power of the now, understanding that all aspects are in play at all times, this juxtaposition of realities triggers Omni Presence in a way that can be understood. Everything actually isn’t always fleeting, not if you see it as all aspects in play simultaneously. When we can truly understand the depth and breadth, then we can understand that everything that has been and will be, the knowledge of all time, is already within us. We must move through the Corridors – the portals of our timeless mind, body, spirit, the realm of the oneness of creator, of source, the realms of all possibilities.
Native peoples, Indigenous peoples have an understanding of quantum physics and quantum mechanics but just have different language for it. There is no end to the circle, it is actually the everything and the closely concurring nothingness. That place where time and space are moving through you, and you are the observer and the recipient of cosmic favor. Where is the jurisdiction of truth? It’s in the unfolding of the layers of our existence. And how much in this life can you handle, can you allow, can you embrace without fear? Because the opposite of fear is awakening, and so it is!
I’m feeling what you inspired me to speak, which was great…Just know I honor and respect your work. We are different, but similar in the best way, in the way that moves my heart and soul. I used to think it would’ve been nice to meet you earlier in life, but then I realized that this was our agreed upon space-time where we needed to have our circles connect. We called it in, in the way we hoped it would show up when we made that commitment. The agreed frequency is how we find each other. It’s why you are family to me. Because we were once and are now. That is quantum connection. Aho!”
FROM Lys Anzia at WUNRN
Carmen Baraka’s Native American Name is Spirit Warrior. She is an instructor of global native women’s wisdom, consciousness, activism through native traditional practices and ceremonies. Her Apache, Cherokee and Colombian-Peruvian Indian heritage bring a unique and powerful perspective to her work. She has been gathering circles to empower women and girls for over 30 years. Her work involves private invitational gatherings, community aid and education and a recent address to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women regarding the plight of Native women and girls. Her strong sense of history and injustice is driving her forward to reach new goals.
Although aware of the chain of broken treaties, the atrocities of the Indian schools, continuing racism, sex trafficking and the oppression of the reservation system, she chooses to embody the most positive aspects of her heritage: “We have endured unbelievable hardship, and we survive and reach out to bring the circle of rainbow beings together and pray for the healing for all.”
Whether exercising her skills one on one as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for a neglected and abused child, providing spiritual inspiration through group invocations or framing objectives for future projects, Carmen brings a much needed empathy, understanding and sense of urgency to the issues she highlights. “My quest is to bring indigenous ceremony and circle to bridge the gap between cultures, remind us that our ancestors all began in circle and I believe finding our way back to that paradigm will be our healing.”
While she informs us that Indian women are subject to sexual predators because tribal governments cannot prosecute non-Indians, mental and physical health care is woefully inadequate created by years of flawed US policy.
“All of our ancestors were once in circle. Women holding hands in prayer, sharing information in nature on Mother Earth. We are the healers, the ones with empathy and heart. It’s our turn, it is the female paradigm shift that will save us. I believe in women and girls, our strength, our wisdom. We have the key that can save this world for future generations. I would ask that anyone with even a small amount of Native in you, find whatever tribe that is your lineage and see in what way you can help. And for those who are non-Native I ask that you be informed and act with your heart. I know that many will rise to this occasion, it is time!”
Carmen’s work seeks to empower and enlighten Native and indigenous girls, to let them know they are not alone and whatever their circumstance they can rise above it. She has been to Arizona, helping her San Carlos Apache bring out the news of the government takeover of the sacred land in Oak Flat, where they hold many ceremonies, “the most special being the Sunrise ceremony, when a girl becomes a woman, 4 days of amazing beauty and transformation.”
“This healing must happen if there ever will be healing for all peoples of this United States – because to walk on the bones of the First People, the ancestors, without respect or acknowledgement of their sacrifices we will not heal as a nation. No one has ever healed through untruths – that is a fact.”
Carmen points out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially recognized Canada’s historical abuses toward aboriginals and has apologized. She wants the president of the US to do the same, and she believes US media should devote coverage to Native Americans in the way Canada honors their First Nation People. Her recent presentation at CSW60 was followed by a ceremonial smudging of flags from all countries at the United Nations.
“I am so proud to be indigenous. I know we have an innate spiritual sense, a great reverence for Mother Earth… and this keeps us in the arms of our Creator.” Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – we are all related! WUNRN
We invite you to light a candle. Add a circle of prayer dots onto your canvas. Put your tears of grief and joy for Carmen into your paint water, or onto the earth.
Let us give thanks as a community for the truly great honor of her leadership at MUSEA and Cosmic Cowgirls.
Carmen, We Love You Forever….
Due to the number of emails we are receiving, if you would like to leave a message of love, gratitude and witness of Carmen’s journey into the future, we invite you to comment in one of these two places.
With a strong red thread of love and tending,
~ The Musea Collective
This is a story Shiloh Sophia spontaneously spoke for Carmen last year called Cosmic Bowl – Grandmother to the Little Girl.
We leave you with a poem written by Carmen at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2019. May we stand as Carmen stood.
We Stand ~ by Carmen Baraka
May we recognize our sister, when we look into her eyes
May we see her pain and angst, her wonder and her joy, and be with her, in that we all know what it’s like to be a woman and fight the good fight
For the rights inherent to all women and girls
For the women and girls who are abused, beaten and sex trafficked
For the ones that are forced to marry and bear children before their time
For the ones without rights who are persecuted at the whim of men
For those who fight for clean water, air, and healthy food for our children, grandchildren and future generations
For those that are persecuted for their race, color or gender
For the heartbreak of the women who have had their children ripped from them on reservations, at borders, in too many circumstances
For our future in a world where women are equal and full empowered
For the truth of how these Americans came to be and for schools to teach that truth so that we may all heal
For the rights of women to make their own decisions about their bodies and personal space
For all those who have realized that to serve others is the highest form of spirit progression and awakening
For the mother of us all mother earth we are sisters in unity