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Wherever you sit, the land is already there.
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Wherever you sit, the land is already there.

Jeff Corntassel discusses how to better respect the land on which we pratice.
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[FOREIGN] And so it’s good to be here, thank you for inviting me. And my name is Jeff Cortislim from Cherokee Nation and my Cherokee name is going to Toledo, which means hunter and I danced at the Chota grounds in Talek wall Oklahoma. So wanted to introduce myself to start off and I think in terms of mindfulness, in terms of being aware of the place that you’re at, it’s really important to understand that there are relationships already in that place. And so their relationships to land to the water, to the four legs to the fish, right?
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So those relationships being in place need to be honored and proper protocol would be, in a sense, just like I did would be to offer up your own kind of self location, offer up your own kind of background. So for example, when we go on to the land, Tiffany Joseph is someone from West Saanich really amazing knowledge holder. She talks to us about introducing ourselves in the fullest sense, so providing the names of our parents as well as our grandparents. Why do we do that? Well, because it gives other people a context in which you are coming from. And there may be relationships there that we didn’t realize, right?
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So you by stating them publicly, you’re actually talking about not only who you are, but those possibilities for maybe even historical relationships or contemporary relationships. And the other side of that is to acknowledge the place that you’re at. These places often have names that they’re important to note, and also they have their own protocols, right? And so friend of mine, Leroy Little Bear is a Blackfeet Elder, talks about how it’s not so important that the land that you recognize the land that you’re on is how does the land recognize you?
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And sort of so kind of in order for the land to recognize you, you have to state who you are, you have to honor who you are in the fullest sense. And in some cases it may be asking for permission, right? To come onto the land. And so these relationships, I think what I really want to point out is these relationships are complex. And so rather than going to a particular place without any understanding of what that place, the significance is for, especially for indigenous peoples of that area is to really kind of go in blind and two reproduce in some ways the some aspects of colonization, right?
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So if we think of settler colonialism is kind of being here to stay and right, It’s the way of taking up space in order to erase indigenous presence. We don’t want to reproduce that. And so honoring those places and especially these place based relationships are key to, I think, building future relationships and especially being mindful of where you’re at at all times. So I hope that answers the question [LAUGH]. Yeah.
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