Reflections on Native American Heritage Month as a Non-Native to this Country

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Just as I wonder whether this woman might be asking too much of human beings, she utters something clear and wonderful that catches my attention:

“We are all indigenous.”

Welcome to episode 11 of the Wake up, Human podcast. In this episode I’m offering something a bit different. It’s a reading. No, not a psychic reading. I’ll be reading out loud, narrating one of my own written works.

The piece is called “We Are All Indigenous: Reflections on Native American Heritage Month as a Non-Native to this Country.” It’s a reflection on what it means to belong to a place, and the strange task of asking that question while living in a land that is not one’s ancestral home.

I humbly offer this story as a small contribution to the important conversation in this country about healing the wounds of the peoples of this land, both those who have been historically oppressed and those who are descended from the oppressors—and everyone in between. If we are not native to the place we live, how can we honor the peoples indigenous to the land we live upon, while also nurturing our own roots, and navigating toward own sense of place and home?

I find that listening to a story can sometimes feel more real than reading it. Human storytelling traditions were oral before they were written, and there’s something that feels very natural in speaking this story aloud. I hope you’ll find it natural to listen. And I hope you’ll find something of value in my words. See you on the inside.

You can find the written version of the article at this link.

So I wonder…couldn’t the words “we are all indigenous” be words of healing? If we are all indigenous to this planet, and all in need of a home, could that understanding be a source of empathy, a path of reconnection for those who have lost connection to their lands all around the world?

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