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Practises that honour the land

Jeff Corntassel discusses mindfulness practices that honour the land.
Sure. I think the other thing to understand that there’s no often no easy path to the answers to this. So we each kind of may individually struggle to come up with a good answer, but in that struggle. And so one of the things I would say is too honor being uncomfortable and maybe even be comfortable being uncomfortable in the sense that that uncomfortable feeling can lead us to really extended forms of awareness and and increased knowledge about a particular place. So I’ll share a short story, I was invited to go to whatsoever and this is a few years ago and up to you on a statin camp and healing center.
And when you get to the camp, there’s a sign that says, honk and wait. And so we honked and waited and waited for someone from the camp in this case is free to Houston to come across the bridge. So there’s a bridge over this large river, to come across the bridge and She asked us three questions, who are you and do you work for industry or government? And then the last one is the one I think is most relevant to our conversation. How will your time here benefit the land and the community?
And so I had a real tough time kind of coming up with a good answer for that in the sense of thinking of immediate benefits to the community by me being there. I kind of talked about being an educator and raising awareness and things like that. But I think if we’re being mindful, we can ask ourselves that question. How will our time here on the land and on the water benefit the land in the water and the community? And so what do those benefits look like? And so that’s a form of humility if you will. It’s also a form of protocol. So this is what’s so in protocol.
But each indigenous nation, each indigenous community has their own protocols that relate to that. And so I don’t want to universalize that question. But I think it’s worth asking ourselves, how will our time at the Ukrainian territory, for example, where we’re at now the unseated Ukrainian territory or even with sandwich territory, how will our time here benefit the land and the community. And so it’s a form of relational accountability. It’s a form of of holding yourself accountable and then ultimately being in relationship with the land being in relationship with the water, which extends far deeper than just a simple land acknowledgment. It goes far deeper because we have commitments to these places at the end of the day.
And so I think the true test and I’ve been trying this out, I still, again, it’s a form of a challenge. But the test is, what did and what have indigenous peoples, how indigenous peoples referred to settlers in particular contexts. And so here the word tends to be one item, the hungry people and and it’s akin to a Siegel. So one E that sits on your doorstep and is always crying out for more. So that’s a pretty stark image, and there’s variations of even that same word, but this notion of being hungry.
So, to what degree if we visit these territories, can we defy that label, that experience, that kind of colonial mentality of being hungry in this case, hungry for land, hungry for different food systems that are already in place, hungry for more material wealth or whatever it is. How can we defy those labels and create a new relationship to the point where a community would have to come up with a different term to describe you and your actions. And so that’s a way of centering this back in the community. And so it might be that the community has to come up with the word for friend or trusted friends, something like that.
So it’s about kind of changing the patterns of behavior so that we don’t reproduce the worst aspects of colonization and by erasing indigenous place names and indigenous presence, but also redefining and transforming our actions so that we don’t fall prey to some of the worst parts of, I guess it’s a consumption and being hungry. And so again, it gets back to how are you not only be recognized by the land, but how will you be recognized by the community in these contexts.
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Demystifying Mindfulness

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