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  • I am turning Native.
    If ever there was a time, it is now.

    Ever since I was a child I reveled in stories of the Far West, with its cowboys & Indian skirmishes. I usually sided with the natives, no matter what their role in the story happened to be. There was something about their wild nature, their essential connection to the land, their way of life, that stirred something in me that can only be described as a call of home.

    I know that as a little girl my mom loved the Indians dearly as well. Perhaps her identification influenced mine, but there was always more to it than that for me.

    Ten years ago, I saw the Indian reservations in Utah and Arizona and I wept. Echoing inside me as I travelled through the endless red desert was the sad mantra We can never again go home. I was homesick for a people I didn’t belong to during a time I hadn’t walked the earth. Not in this lifetime, at least. But the pain’s dull throb was the a baseline to my journey, and I honored it. It became the fuel for two adolescents novels when I got home. The first lines of that story were scribbled in hotels and on planes, in a notebook I purchased in some department store along a US highway.

    Today, I am reading David Abram’s momentous The spell of the sensuous, and I am not only experiencing the living, breathing world around me like never before, thanks to his evocative prose that roots me back into the living soil of existence like the animal life form that I ultimately am; the insights I gather from his travels and his deep contemplation also transport me closer to the mystery of life’s beauty, the magic of all creation, and for the first time in my life I find myself looking through the lens of life with something like indigenous eyes.
    It feels like truly coming home. To wild nature. To the magic of creation. To the old, indigenous cultures I have loved all my life without quite understanding why or how.

    Today, I am reading the headlines that the defiance of the Water Protectors of Standing Rock has secured a massive victory through peaceful protest, prayer and protection of that which is sacred.

    I was so worried about them for so long. I burned candles every time the darkness seemed to be gathering too thickly. I was touched beyond belief by their swelling numbers, their unison, and recently the announcement of war veterans coming to the camp site with a mission to serve as human shields for their protection.
    This morning, reading the news of the Army’s refusal to let the DAPL pass through their lands (and the natives’), I was almost moved to tears. For once, it seems prayers and community have worked magic.
    I have never wished so much to be a Native as I have today.

    I am not naïve.
    I know that there will be appeals, there will be more battles. There is a Troll about to ascend the throne of the White House, bringing a host of Orcs, and the storm clouds might still get a lot darker. But the hope that was born today, from the heart and resistance of the peaceful and spiritual community formed by the indigenous tribes, will not be extinguished so easily.

    I am turning Native now. For real.
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