“Think of what can happen as each family releases that karma, of what was done by our ancestors or just clearing the energy of the land we live on of any negative history. Find out what Natives once lived on your land…they are all in need of our help.
I think it is good to say there is a Native American expression that is widely used in many tribes… Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, meaning we are all related, all connected. With all that has been done to Native Americans, they still believe we are One and through that Oneness, we can heal. I am excited about the possibility of this. I realize this is the beginning and much more thought and action are needed. Love and honor you so much for taking this on… and I know you are the one to do this! Aho!”
~ words from Carmen Baraka in a message to Shiloh Sophia sent October 9th, 2020 – exactly one year ago today in response to the first full draft of the Good Relations Pledge.
Carmen Baraka Spirit Warrior
March 21, 1948 – February 22, 2021
Get a cuppa tea. Sign the petition and come back and read this. Or if you need to know why this matters so much – read this and then sign the petition. Please, make time.
Today we are sharing the Good Relations Pledge – a United States Citizens Acknowledgment of Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Freedom, Territory, and Self-Determination. This pledge was created in honor of Native American Community Elder, Carmen Baraka. We are sharing and asking for action NOW because Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday being observed in the United States on October 11th, a reclaiming of hundreds of years of being Columbus Day. This matters to us, does it matter to you?
Our Intentional Creativity Foundation 501(c)3 founders and leadership are committed to the work of decolonization, reparations, and continued actions of repair and healing that truly lead to good relations with Indigenous Peoples. We know this is likely step ZERO in the process, but Carmen believed that it was this step of healing that could begin further work. This isn’t an “I am sorry” by itself, nor is it a full process of reparation. It is ONE thing you can do in the next few days to ACKNOWLEDGE that you get it. The genocidal behavior continues to this day, my Native Elders weep with anger and despair at the lack of awareness. They can’t believe it, what the majority of our history books and leaders preach about Native peoples is filled with intentional lies.
We invite you to sign the petition and stand with us in the spirit of healing. Then please share the petition with your own emails and posts. This only takes a few minutes, what if you took one hour in the next few days to FOCUS on being a part of healing? Will you?
We are sharing this a few days early, so you can invite others to share about Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the Good Relations Pledge. If you have a mailing list or audience, and you don’t have something planned on Monday – then PLEASE plan on this. Sign today and share it.
The best way to share is not to forward or share someone else’s post, but to make your own and use this url:
Comment on my Artist Shiloh Sophia’s Artist Facebook page if you would like me to see your comment, and let me know that you did it. Thank you.
The Good Relations Pledge
A message from MUSEA
Intentional Creativity Curator, Shiloh Sophia
Red Thread Letter #859
Shiloh Sophia and Carmen Baraka advocating for Indigenous women and girls at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2019
In honor of one of my Elders, Teachers and Ancestors, Carmen Baraka, I feel so hopeful to present you with the Good Relations Pledge on behalf of myself and the Intentional Creativity Foundation, 501(c)3.
Carmen’s passion and work for Indigenous peoples, especially women and girls, lives on in the activism work we do and will continue to do. We know we are part of a long journey of repair of our relationships through acknowledging that meaningful reparative actions are needed to heal the collective, the individuals and mend our relationship with our ancestors.
This pledge isn’t because we need to prove to the government that we care. Rather our hope is to share it with the Indigenous Nation Leaders of the United States – as an act and ceremony of healing. But if we don’t get enough signatures then it won’t demonstrate how many of us I know are here. You are here right? I know you are. Carmen did too. Further, I will bring this to the United Nations Commission in either 2022 or 2023. But this is less about ‘presenting’ our signatures, it is actually about the REALITY of what it means when one individual says – I GET THIS AND MY PART IN IT. I feel an urgency – can I share that with you? Carmen was too young to leave this planet – she spent her life working on behalf of Native American women and girls – in absolute astonishment that most of us were clueless about the actual history. Imagine when we went to the United Nations, after Carmen’s talk, when the women from the other nations of the world lined up to tell her – “WE HAD NO IDEA THE UNITED STATES is not CARING FOR THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.”
They were shocked. We are shocked. This action isn’t about shaming or blaming people today for their ancestor behavior, as is so often misconstrued by defensive and righteous and uninformed U.S. Citizens. This is about acknowledgment, knowing where you live and the history and demonstrating your awareness. How can we expect any true reconciliation in this land if the people here won’t even admit where they are standing?
Speaking of which, we are working on the land of the Coast Miwok people. The Bioneers message that came out yesterday called: Stolen Land, Stolen Lives: Indigenous People and the Legacy of Colonialism says this in case you would like some context.
“Prior to the colonization of North America, over a thousand separate Indigenous nations populated the continent – each with their own unique culture, language and traditions. The perseverance of Indigenous nations in the face of a global extractive economic order, climate change, and racism speaks to the endurance of spirit and the wisdom of ecological stewardship. Today, Indigenous peoples comprise 5% of the global population yet protect 80% of Earth’s biodiversity.This coming Monday, an ever-increasing number of state and city governments are taking part in a larger movement to challenge the American mythos about Indigenous people and the founding of this country. Indigenous Peoples’ Day offers us a chance to reckon with a violent and oppressive past in service of a nascent trajectory towards healing, reconciliation and new ways of being.” I attended the last in person Bioneers and they are offering some mighty teaching and actions about ways we can further our efforts.
To revisit this incredible woman, you can watch Carmen’s Spirit Warrior Exhibit here.
In Carmen’s words: “The Lakota expression, ‘Aho Mitakuye Oyasin’ is widely used among many tribes within what is now known as The United States of America; It means, We are all related; all connected.
In the spirit of connection with all beings, where none are higher or lower in the great web of all life, we offer this invitation to begin healing our relations with the Indigenous peoples of these lands.”
Here at Musea: Intentional Creativity Foundation, Carmen was very much an integral part of our Black, Indigenous and Women of Color Membership focus and projects over the past ten years and COLOR of WOMAN. She was a part of our Re-Membering Circles for Mending Racialized Trauma guided by Carmen before she walked on. 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.
Yesterday after the petition went live, I found a raven feather, shining purple and black. Carmen danced the Raven Dance on behalf of Sue Hoya Sellars to honor her memory. Sue lived her life as close to Native as she could, being told by her family that she was part Blackfoot Indian. In our family gatherings Sue would teach on Native American culture and our ‘Thanksgiving’ was entirely informed by Sue teaching us about how to be appropriate to the true history context in which the day began.
This focus is not a new story or project for me, this is all of my life. I was smudged as a baby before I was ever baptized. When I was 8 years old my first huge school project was about the Coast Miwok where I lived in Sonoma. All of my life I visited Coast Miwok projects and villages with my Grandmother Helen because she wanted me to know. I was part of a Native American family in West Marin that I was raised with, the children of that family did art with Sue. I worked with the Native American Tribal Taniff in my work over twenty years ago with the journals. I am not saying this to you to prove my own association, rather I am letting you know this isn’t just a feature of the day but has been woven throughout my whole life. My family honored and knew about Native American story and culture and cared. We care now. More than I can say.
Yet many of you perhaps have not had this chance to learn, now is the time. And I know many of you have learned and done your own work to repair and amplified your awareness of how not to appropriate and continue to be a part of the problem. Even though I have worked with Native American women leaders for over the past 25 years, I don’t do the ceremony they taught me or that we did together unless I am with them – yet I carry the power of what we share in my body and soul and they trust me to do that. The very red thread, the first ceremony was with Tonantzin-Guerra Rennick, Native Elder who worked with me to bring the journal to Native Women in the Bakersfield area. Let’s wake up dear hearts, we can do this.
If you are interested in learning more about Indigenous Peoples’ Day, here is the article from BIONEERS.
If you are a US citizen and feel called to make an impact, I invite you to sign this petition as an act of standing shoulder to shoulder with our Indigenous sisters and brothers.
If you are a non-US citizen, consider sharing the petition with your friends in the United States. We know you already know how late the United States is in responding to this action.
I am certain that there will be aspects of this I cannot see or that I miss. One colleague already addressed me by saying – ‘Native American’s don’t need our apology they need etc.’ I am aware, this is step zero. And we aren’t doing it ‘for them’ as some kind of vague token offering. Each one of us needs to do our own healing by taking responsibility otherwise we can’t take informed action. They are surprised it has taken us so long, it doesn’t make sense that caring people wouldn’t care enough.
This petition has as much energetic value as it does actual weight with signatures….this can be FELT. Yet that is not some flimsy concept, Native American spirituality is fully aware of how energy moves. As Carmen says,
“With all that has been done to Native Americans they still believe we are One and through that Oneness we can heal.”
So let us act as one yet in full awareness. From here we can continue the deeper work together.
With so much dominant narrative that can cause separation or confusion, and with many of us holding so much, it can feel like we don’t have a voice or support to speak our truth. While signing a petition might feel like a small act, it’s actually impacting the entire field of the United States!
Carmen used to say we were the Rainbow Tribe and she knew that it mattered for her to work with us. Now let us work with her and give our thanks ‘in a good way’ as she always used to say.
with gratitude for each of our colorful threads,
Me and Carmen filming Power Creatives TV in 2018
“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!” ~ Spirit Warrior Carmen Baraka