its true…I live above a working port. A port that has historically been heavily industrialized. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that two major superfund projects and about 75 years of environmental degradation tells us that’ working port’ should no longer mean ‘environmentally irresponsible’ port.
I am Anishinaabe-kwe – an Ojibwe woman. I have a responsibility to my relative Nbi (water). My teachings (which were semi-aborted as a result of “kill the indian, save the man” policies) are that I have a responsibility to maintain a healthy reciprocal relationship with Nbi. My teachings are that we leave a place better than we found it; that we honor the sacrifice our relatives have made for us; that we honor the gifts that Nbi gives to us with ceremony and practice. Nbi is life.
This is not my territory. This is the territory of my close relatives: the Puyallup, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, and the Duwamish. I honor their relationship to this relative and stand by their side to protect our relative. To honor our relative. To give gratitude to our relative.
I’m not opposed to progress. I’m opposed to progress that doesn’t honor our responsibility to the sacredness of our relationships. As Anishinaabe-kwe, I have to think about ALL the other beings who are impacted by decisions and interactions with Nbi. It’s a holistic viewpoint, but the word holistic tends to deprive the matter of the emotional and energetic weight it should be afforded. This is why I rely on the language of relationship.
We no longer have to buy in to the idea that the promise of an ‘economy’ gives a free pass to industry to inflict damage on our more-than-human relatives.