What do “queer”, “indigenous”, and “spirituality” mean anyways?
What types of relationships to the earth, waters, sun, moon, spirit world, and one another might they refer to? Of course, each person & community embodies a freedom to self-determine what these mean to them. These are ontologies (ways of being) that many of our ancestors and an-sisters just embodied, just were, and perhaps didn’t need to name and define as we do now in english.
With the inception of colonial regimes, “queerness”, “indigeneity”, “spirituality” were often named to pathologize, regulate, and control populations in order to justify colonial domination. Naming & stigmatizing these ways of being enabled colonial narratives of savagery and saviourism that were upheld to justify stealing, extracting & exploiting lands. Indigineity, sexuality, and spirituality being intimately linked to the land, they are ongoingly targeted in order to control justify genocide, colonialism, and imperialism.
I take seriously an understanding of indigineity as a committed, ceremony and ritual based relationship to a particular set of lands, cultures, cosmologies, and communities that is regenerative, reciprocal, loving, and long-term.
I have not related to any sets of lands sufficiently in this way to feel “indigenous” to them. Given who I am, I feel I can only be indigenous to my own body. Those of us who have (been) dis-located and re-located from our ancestral lands always carry the lands and their stories through out bodies.
We can share the stories of our lands through out bodies even if we’ve been disconnected from the possibility of a committed relationship to them. how can we honour the lands that give us life through our bodies, how do we re-create regenerative creation stories with our bodies in a way that revitalizes our cultures, our sacred ancestral teachings, the lands & waters?
spirituality & queerness
In indigenous spiritual traditions around the world, including the Philippines where my most recent ancestors were birthed (an archipelago of more than 1701 islands and 170+ languages constructed through resistance and violence) spirituality is embedded in a time and place based relationship to the land . If spirituality is indeed about land, how can those of us displaced engage in spiritual practise in a way that honours the multiplicity of lands of our creation stories?
ven and especially in the most crude and cosmopolitan of urban spaces, how can we create ceremony and offer prayer to honour all my ever-emerging creation stories?
Being born and has settled in Scarborough, on Dish with One Spoon and Two Row Wampum treaty territories on Turtle Island, I wonder this all the time.
A simple answer I can offer: The only place I can truly say I’m indigenous to, my body, as it is the land literally composed of and given life to continually by its constitutional elements. As many indigenous knowledge keepers have articulated, the way colonialism regulates the control of land is macrocosmic to how it regulates bodies, especially that of those whose freedom most threatens colonial regimes, women and queer folks. queerness
queermess is deep and can be much deeper than canpitalized Gender and Sexuality. While G + S are certainly part of queerness, beyond this queerness can be rooted in a relationship with the earth & spirit which embraces fluidity, diversity, connectedness, interdependence, and reciprocity not just in relation to humans of diverse genders and sexualities, but in our relations to all beings. being queer can be a deep and fluid relationality and connectedness that is seeded by and rooted in a regenerative, circular, quantum love.
colonially inherited and adopted projections of queerness have pathologized, invisibilized, objectified, categorized, marginalized, subjugated, and controlled “queer” peoples in many over-exploited black and brown lands. this is partly because queer peoples in many different indigenous traditions including ones within Turtle Island and the Philippines have held unique spiritual roles of leadersehip in their communities that may have threatened colonial power and appropriation of land.
remembering this, a question that I ask myself is: how can I remember my queerness as an embodied spiritual practise of remembering indigineity and engaging in a regenerative relationship with the earth and waters?
Only more questions come! Alas, the answers are to be found in the relationality enabled by the inquiry, in the vulnerability of being in community with all beings