the gift of ancestors

my mom gave me this amazing gift this morning….I don’t know much of my dad’s father’s history – my Ojibwe history. She told me that nimishoomis Frank (grandpa) was very in touch with his Indian side – which is something I didn’t realize. One version of my oral history said that because nookomis (g-grandma Velma) had been adopted out to a non-native family, that she hadn’t claimed that side of her culture. Which I interpreted to mean that she didn’t live the cultures or traditions.

Over the last 15 years or so, as I have learned about Ojibwe cultures and traditions, I have had so many moments where I realized – wait, this is how I was brought up. This was something that I was taught. So, perhaps it wasn’t a formal handing down of traditions and cultures, but it was handed down.

Mom said that my nookomis was a wonderful woman, a lady who was all about making you feel comfortable in her home. Nookomis told it as she saw it. Bold frankness with kindness. She said that the sun rose and set on Franklin as far as Velma was concerned and that Velma would have spoiled me rotten if she had gotten the chance.

That visual gave me pause. The way that g-grandmas spoil their g-grandchildren in Native communities. The heart vision of that was amazing. And I felt so much love through time.

I don’t know how to express it …. but it was a very welcome gift. I am anishinaabekwe. And I come from good people, on both sides.

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Twylia (the 'i' is silent)

~ I am Anishinaabe-kwe with Scottish heritage and Sami DNA. I speak on the behalf of no one but myself. My ancestors inform and guide me. My voice is but one of many who are calling for change. We have much work to do to create a good space for the real human beings who are waiting to be born.

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