UPDATE: RESULTS – Our annual fundraiser for Native Women’s Shelters is now officially closed!! Together, the Missing Witches coven returned $5468.18 to our local indigenous support orgs! Over $3000 of which went directly to the Native Women’s Shelter of Montréal!! Thanks and see you next year!!!
So much of the “new age” has involved the theft of indigenous practices and we want to speak directly to that theft, engage in a work of reparations, and also seek ways for settler-descendants to connect with animals, plants and the more than human world to restore a sense of kinship.
In a spirit of reparations, Missing Witches donates our monthly Patreon earnings to the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal each May, and organizes an annual fundraiser and conversation with Indigenous thinkers to help unpack some of the appropriation and spiritual bypassing that happens in new age communities and Witch worlds. Check out the 2021 fundraiser + episode here.
This year, Indigenous researchers working on plant and animal collaboration in social work, medicine, and education join us to open a circle dedicated to kinship. Join us in building the Beltane bonfire we create together to centre our connections, burn extraction entitlement, burn capitalism, and colonialism, burn patriarchy and burn white supremacy. As Dr. Todd said, “we’re here to undo the curses together.”
RSSW founder of Blackbird Medicines • Indigenous Death Doula Collective
As Life Spectrum Doula, Counsellor, and Registered Social Services Worker I began my business and healing practice Blackbird Medicines after 20+ years focused on community care and healing. A member of Pikwakanagan First Nation, a Community Justice Worker, healer and circle keeper, I am passionate about empowering others to define their own success. For inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Robinson, PhD
Coordinator, Indigenous Studies Program
Assistant Professor, Departments of English and of Sociology & Social Anthropology
Margaret Robinson is a member of Lennox Island First Nation who grew up in the Eskikewa’kik district of Mi’kma’ki. She identifies as two-spirit, bisexual and queer. Margaret earned a PhD in Theology from the University of Toronto and conducted postdoctoral training at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. She now works as an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University where she coordinates the Indigenous Studies program and holds the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Reconciliation, Gender, and Identity.
Granddaughter Crow (aka Dr. Joy Gray).
Granddaughter Crow holds a doctorate in leadership. Internationally recognized as a medicine person, she comes from a long line of spiritual leaders as a member of the Navajo Nation. She is the author of The Journey of the Soul, Wisdom of the Natural World, and Belief, Being & Beyond. On her website she offers quick self-care videos. Founding CEO of The Eagle Heart Foundation a non-profit organization. She dedicates her life to inspiring, encouraging, and empowering individuals to be their authentic self.
Dr. Zoe Todd
Zoe Todd (Métis/otipemisiw) is from Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), Alberta, Canada. She writes about fish, art, Métis legal traditions, the Anthropocene, extinction, and decolonization in urban and prairie contexts. She also studies human-animal relations, colonialism and environmental change in north/western Canada.
As guests or listeners, we invite you to step into this conversation like you are stepping through the smoke of a Beltane fire. This season, for those who draw on European folk traditions which predate the violent imposition of Christianity (a pattern that would be repeated as a tool of colonization around the world) is connected to Gaelic summer festivals. At Beltane, the people would walk themselves and their animals past bonfires to bathe in the smoke and call in its protection before sending the animals that were their lifeblood out to wild pasture for the season.
We can’t go back to a time before colonization, slavery, the violence of capitalism and patriarchy or even before the pandemic, but we can reach for the roots of kinship, and dance forward. Together.
“Beltane, usually May first, marks the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the summer solstice. These halfway points might not have as much solar pizazz as the solstices and equinoxes, but there is so much power in the very middle of things. Halfway is a marker of achievement. It’s also the place where one decides, once and for all, if they will turn back or keep going. Except with our wheel of the year, there is no turning back. When we reach our halfway points in this Wheel of the Year, we must continue. We just have to keep going. Just. Keep. Dancing.
Here are the roots of the root of the root. 1. You have power. You can change your life. You can change other people’s lives. 2. You are connected to Nature in ways that we will likely never fully understand. 3. But there are clues. There is music if you listen, a dance if you watch for the steps, a rhythm inside and outside of your body. We dance in a circle with the Wheel of the Year.”
- From the Beltane Chapter of Missing Witches: Reclaiming True Histories of Feminist Magic
Intro: [00:00:00] You aren't being a proper woman. Therefore, you must be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. Be a witch. You must be a witch.
Risa: Welcome folks.
Amy: Happy Beltane.
Risa: Welcome everyone. Hi, so nice to see your faces. Welcome to this live recording of The Missing Witches podcast, our Beltane special, our annual fundraiser episode for the Native Women's Shelter.
Risa: We are just beyond excited and thrilled, that you're here, that our guests are here, that you've chosen to be with us. If you're here with us in person, it's kind of extra special. We get to see your face and feel that moment, that energy with you. It's really what I was just saying right before I hit to let everyone enter.
Risa: I feel really nervous for this one. It's really important to me. I'm really excited by [00:01:00] the work that these people do practically, academically, their writing, their community building. And you know, I think it's, we do a podcast called Missing Witches, Amy and I, and that comes from a place of great longing for us.
Risa: I think that our community is united in the sense of longing, longing for kinship, you know, what does it mean? The, the, the thing that we call our intersection of our politics and our spirituality, we call witches and we know a great deal of that witch movement has been built on, it's theft of Indigenous culture, call it what it's, and that feels shitty.
Risa: And so we try to make sure we're, centering Indigenous voices, learning as much as we can, and acting in a sort of [00:02:00] reparations with our work too, so that we come together from a place of longing and community building and a desire to learn from everything we've been missing. And, a hopefulness too that in sort of terrifying environmental times, this sense of longing and community building and outreach, and sorrow can help us have hope for the future together.
Risa: So, not a lot riding on these conversations for me emotionally. That's the context. Thank you for being here. We usually begin before, we do our introductions and we get into our conversation with a piece of ritual that looks a little bit different today, and Amy will tell you about what that feels like, looks like this time around.
Amy: Yeah. As Risa said, we, we usually open these Shabbat events with a ritual, and this time we're opening with a call to ritual sacrifice. This [00:03:00] event, this episode, this panel is a fundraiser for the third year running Risa, and I will be contributing our Patreon profits for the month of May to the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal.
Amy: Last year we invited our listeners to join us, and together our coven returned almost $3,000 to our local Indigenous communities. So again, we're asking you, our listeners, those of you here today our Missing Witches, coven mates all over the world to make a reparation. We know that most of you are listening from outside Canada.
Amy: So wherever you are, we encourage you to find a local, native women's shelter or Indigenous NGO to support. Some places don't have First Nations specific orgs, so we'll also accept donations to shelters for vulnerable women and children, sex workers, or victims of violence or Planned Parenthood. But we would really appreciate a focus on support of [00:04:00] Indigenous women or Indigenous people.
Amy: We've got a couple grand worth of prizes donated by our covenant large jewelry, art altar pieces, books. Shout out to our publishing house, North Atlantic Books, a handmade custom sweater and readings of all kinds ancestry, astrology, tarot, Akashic records, just waiting to be yours. So here's what you're gonna do.
Amy: Make your donation of $10 or more to the Native Women's shelter of Montreal. Your local Indigenous people support organization. Take a screenshot of your receipt and email it to missingwitches at gmail.com with the subject line donation plus the amount of your donation. The amount is important because for every $10, you'll get one entry into the raffle for these prizes that I'm about to list.
Amy: So if you donate $20, you'll be entered twice for $50, you'll get five entries and so on. If everyone listening right now donates locally together, we can make an [00:05:00] impact globally. Anyone who donates a hundred dollars or more will be additionally entered in a separate draw to win a personal gratitude Zoom Chat, Ruth, Theresa, and myself. Plus every single person who makes a donation of $10 or more, that's every single person who makes a donation of $10 or more will automatically receive a digital coupon book that we put together with discount codes to some of our most beloved witchy businesses, including House Witch, Snake Hair Press, the Death Witch ,Unearthed Minerals.
Amy: All this info and more details, plus a list of ideas for places to donate in Canada, will be on our website and our socials. And for those of you who are here live, that link is live now. So you can go to our website and check that out. But maybe wait until after this conversation is over. So, make your donation and if you like, tell us about [00:06:00] who you're supporting and why.
Amy: Last year we highlight a bunch of these organizations in our stories and it was wonderful to be able to share who everyone else is also supporting with our following. So take your screenshot of your receipt, email it to missingwitches at gmail.com with the subject line donation, plus the amount of your donation.
Amy: Lucky donors will win amazing prizes and everyone who donates will get a digital coupon book with discount codes from our favorite witchy businesses. We'll run The fundraiser from today through the month of May. Winners will be drawn at random and announced on June 1st, just to give our raffle prize donors a bit of heat.
Amy: We have Amy Owen, who's going to do an astrology reading and a painting of the chart. G D C who's here today is gonna give us a reading plus a copy of your upcoming new book, which we're so excited to talk about. So we'll talk about that in just a minute. As I said, North Atlantic Books is giving us three copies of Banana Leaves.
Amy: We wanted Jessica to be here today, but she's [00:07:00] booked. So instead we're gonna spread her book around. Unearthed Minerals is giving us a broom necklace. Angela aka Heart Wise Woman is doing a bone throw reading. Melissa is doing an Akashic records reading. Jessica from Dear Woman is doing a tarot reading.
Amy: Sammy has given us a necklace set. Kate Belu, a custom personalized poem. James, from a quiet practice as hand woven an altar cloth for this fundraiser. Venus and Retro Taro reading. Sherry, that Hudu Lady an ancestor Introduction. Connection plus a copy of her book and Moth and Magic is doing a handmade custom granny square cardigan that I want so badly that I wish I could enter and win all of these prizes.
Amy: Now I'm going to take a deep breath. Oh, please join us. Like I said, if we all make reparations locally together, we can make an impact globally. [00:08:00] Now I'm going to mute my microphone and drink some more water. Thank you all for being with us here today.
Risa: Thank you so much to all the people in our coven who leapt forward to contribute their work and their labor for prizes.
Risa: And to folks who I know are already making donations. Let's meet our brilliant circle today. I would love to invite each of you to tell us about yourselves. Tell us about your work. What are you thinking about? How are you, how are you feeling today? Where are you? And, if you feel like it, can you start to draw the lines for us between your work and this idea of kinship?
Risa: We have fish philosophers and people writing about plant kins and working with plat kin and fossil kinship people rethinking and queering these sort of colonial family structures, thinking about social [00:09:00] work and animal kinship, helping us understand a relationship to the natural world in general. So if you can find your way to ease us into those relationships and conversations as a starting point, that would be a great gift.
Risa: I'll invite, Dr. Zoe Todd to start, and then if you'd like, I'll invite you to daisy chan it so it's not always us talking, so you could call on the next person, awesome.
Zoe: Good morning and thank you. It's really an honor to be here with you in the Missing Witches podcast and also with the amazing panelists, but we're all joining today.
Zoe: So Tan Zoe (Introduction in her Indigenous Language).
Zoe: So my name is Zoe Todd. I am a Metis person. I am from Alberta in Treaty six Territory, or Metis again Edmonton. I currently live in Unceded, Amiskwaciwaskahikan First [00:10:00] Nations homelands territories, with my family. And I'm deeply grateful to be here as someone who was not invited to, into this territory.
Zoe: But I'm working very hard to be in good relation with, with these lands and with the nations whose lands were on. I'm really excited to talk about kinship because it underpins so much important work across the country and, across indigenous contexts, throughout, you know, the globe, and there's so much important work on kinship and relationality and care and, and reparation.
Zoe: And I was actually tearing up a little when you were reading out the, the list of all the people who have donated and, and just this idea of reparation. I work in the academy and often. White people feel that their presence as folks studying us is their form of reparation. And so they kind of open up these spaces like, you should just be so grateful we're here and we're hosting you and like, but you have put so much thought and care into this event.[00:11:00]
Zoe: And just knowing that all of these people just all over the place are coming together with this intention to, to make things right, to repair deep harms, just really the, the energy was so palpable. So I don't wanna take up too much time, because all the panelists are so brilliant and amazing, but I just wanted to say my gratitude for hosting this space and, and also just like I'm a fan of everyone that you were invited.
Zoe: So it's really, I get to just listen to really brilliant people talk. So thank you so much and I'm really excited to be here today.
Risa: Do you wanna tell us a little bit about your writing and your work in then daisy chain it?
Zoe: Yeah, sorry.
Risa: I mean, I think we all just took a moment to be emotional, that felt right.
Zoe: My emotional support water.
Zoe: So that, yeah, my work, I work on fish, I work, in collaboration with, with a diverse team of people, both in so-called Canada, but also so-called Australia. And, also with my very dear [00:12:00] friend and colleague June, Dr. June Rubis, who is, Badea from Sarawak Malaysian Borneo, and together we are just really interested in helping to support freshwater fish futuresthroughout different contexts.
Zoe: And we really, we really believe that the answer to a lot of, freshwater fish challenges is to center Indigenous law in its all in its plurality. Like we have a very expansive understanding of Indiginative, by which we mean people who, are connected to place, not just in North America. Sometimes Indigenous studies focuses far too much on a very small sort of context, but we, we, when we say Indiginative, we mean people throughout Africa, throughout Asia, throughout the Pacific.
Zoe: Like we, it's a, we're very, very, anyways, I'm not saying this eloquently, but just to also sort of disrupt that idea that, that Indigenous studies is a narrow, a narrow space. We really try [00:13:00] to take a very expansive understanding of Indigeneity in that it. Indigenous people exist, throughout all of the places that European colonizers, displaced and dispossessed people very, deliberately, through the last 600 years.
Zoe: And, we just really believe that Indigenous knowledges, Indigenous laws, Indigenous philosophies are really important to repairing, you know, social and, environmental harm that European colonial capitalist and white supremacist, approaches have done. And I'm gonna hand it off to Crystal and so, yeah.
Zoe: Thank you so much.
Crystal: Oh, thank you Zoe, I'm totally a fan girl of Lily's work. We've kind of followed each other on social media for a while, so it's definitely, a, just feels super amazing and awesome to be on a panel, with you and with [00:14:00] these other people. It's, like, where am I? Who am I? What's happening? So quai quai, everyone.
Crystal: My name's Crystal Tup, also can find my byline name, Crystal Waban. I'm a member of Pikwakanagan First Nation. I live in, Eastern Ontario in Renford County. So I'm a, just a short hop and a jump out away from my community. I kind of grew up really displaced between Ontario, Montreal, Thunder Bay, and, my whole thing, is Blackbird Medicines.
Crystal: That's been my heart work for quite a few years, really working. To kind of do that healing work. I'm, Algonquin, but I'm also French and Polish, and I'm just kind of like, you know, what does that mean for a long time? My whiteness and my proximity to my connections. You know, [00:15:00] we, my family, I was the, the Polish one and my sister was the, the native one.
Crystal: So just within the family there was interesting lines drawn. But I, came to learn over time that, it's, it's really about your connections and you know, how you're, embracing those connections and how you're honoring them. And, so trying to take steps less focused on the shade of my skin and, really focusing more on those connections and how those really led, myself down a certain path.
Crystal: And, you know, what does that healing look like from, you know, my grandparents and their parents going to residential schools. You know, to the point where it was in our best interest to, you know, kind of, pretend that didn't happen and keep going and put your head down and keep going. So [00:16:00] it's definitely a story that a lot of Indigenous people connect with and, it's a story that led me to connecting with, you know, Zoe's work online, with so many of you know, even with witch connections and kitchen witch connections and different things where I'm looking to my culture for healing and finding a lot of Non-Indigenous people in those spaces and trying to understand my own conflicts of, well, I'm actually native and I feel conflicted about taking up space, but like they're not native. So getting through those understandings and, and also, you know, opening space up, for that European side of, you know, why does this feel right or why does that feel right? And maybe because, you know, Indigenous people are, out there globally.
Crystal: And that's something that the last few years working with Blackbird Medicines, [00:17:00] working with other helpers in my community, you know, that was part of my unlearning too, was like, oh yes, Indigenous, like in a global way. And, you know, colonization wasn't super new in the world when it came to Canada.
Crystal: And, you know, and meeting different people in different places and positions and, different homelands. So just learning all those stories has kind of been really nourishing to me in a lot of ways. And I keep kind of doing things and people keep finding me and, and it, the response is good.
Crystal: So I'm, I feel like I'm doing something right. Definitely consider myself, a spiritual practitioner, a spiritual, caregiver. And, and that's what I'm really passionate about, in this journey is, how does our, reclaiming our spirituality, reclaiming our, our connections, our kinships, how does that heal us?
Crystal: [00:18:00] How does that fortify us for the, the days ahead? So, (Thanks in Native Language) to everyone for having me, feel like I just said a lot of things. So I'll, I'm gonna pass it on and, would love to, to hear Margaret introduce herself a little bit.
Margaret: Oh well, Ellen Crystal, thank you.
Margaret: Robinson, (Introduction in her Native Language). Hi, I'm Margaret Robinson. I'm a member of the Lennox Island First Nation. I'm a person of non status experience who grew up in the eastern shore of Nova Scotia in Mi'gmawe, so I've got to live in my traditional territory. And, now I work there, which is a great benefit for me, in my work.
Margaret: I work at Dalhousie University. [00:19:00] I'm a researcher. Most of my work is with, Indigenous, or with sexual and gender minority people. And I mostly look at how culture keeps people well, and so. Some of my, interests in terms of, connections and kinship and wellness come out of that. Looking at how, connecting with culture, and how to live with culture wherever we find ourselves.
Margaret: So for myself, looking, how do we embed Mi'gma values into our daily lives? What does that mean if you're also a secular person, versus if you're a spiritual person? And so kind of digging into all of that, is one of the things that I find really exciting about my work, giving me that opportunity to learn more about myself and other people.
Margaret: I coordinate Indigenous studies, so I'm also interested in sort of the discipline of Indigenous studies and where the borders of that are. And [00:20:00] I approach this as a secular person who, did a PhD and a master's in a Catholic theological school. So I have a lot of, interest in religion and spirituality, but not as a participant or as a, an observer.
Margaret: So , it's exciting to be here and to, meet all of you, , in person. So, I'll say Valalen, Valaleyok. Thank you all, and I guess I'll pass it on to, Granddaughter Crow. GDC, you're up.
Granddaughter Crow: Thank you, thank you, thank you. So awesome you guys. This is such a wonderful sacred space for wonderful sacred conversations and I am very honored to be here.
Granddaughter Crow: So ya they call me Granddaughter Crow. I am born to the Biih Gah clan for the Todich ii nii Clan, [00:21:00] which means that I am Navajo Nation down here in the four corners United States. Four corners is Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Phoenix or Arizona. And so my father is full blood Navajo. He was taken from his Hogan and put into, boarding school, stripped of his language, his hair and his culture, so I'm very close to that experience. However, my mother is full blood Dutch. And so I understand what was said before, this whole trying to reconcile with myself, you know, being of both. And I think it took me a long time to get there because what it helped me to do was become a bridge.[00:22:00]
Granddaughter Crow: Between cultures and now we are here having conversations about cross-cultural communications, getting to know each other with respect. With curiosity. And this is the beauty of this time that we are living in, is that we get to have these unspoken conversations, these things that used to be just ignore it, don't just sweep it under the rug.
Granddaughter Crow: And now we get to come to the table and listen to each other. And so, although I am, of the Navajo nation, I only speak with my experience. I'm not speaking on behalf of the Navajo Nation. I am a Gen X and, raised in Denver, Colorado. And, so what do I do? Under the name of Granddaughter Crow, I am an author, a public speaker.
Granddaughter Crow: I offer sessions, one-on-one sessions, [00:23:00] psychic, intuitive, whatever you wanna call it, empathic, whatever you wanna call it. I'm also, well, you can check out my website, www.granddaughtercrow.com. That's it in a nutshell where I would like to say what I do and how that helps with the kinship. my second book, which is out there, you can get it off of Amazon or I think Kendall or Barnes and Noble or wherever you get your books.
Granddaughter Crow: It's called Wisdom of the Natural World and it's practical and spiritual Teachings from Plants, Animals, and Mother Earth. And last year, missing Witches had me on and we spoke about that book. I think that that one was, your hundredth episode or I think it was a hundredth episode. And so if anybody wants to listen to that and or you can buy the book.
Granddaughter Crow: And, what I really do is. Want to encourage, inspire people [00:24:00] to be their authenticity. And I like to say that I was, first Nation before First Nation was cool, and now it's cool. So my lived experience is like, oh, okay, now you want me to come to the table. And some of the questions that I'm getting asked right now were internal questions that I had with myself.
Granddaughter Crow: So I'm still trying to develop my words around how do I feel about this? How do I speak about this? And that's what this platform really means to me. And I'm so excited about being here with all of you. And, thank you so much.
Risa: Thank you so much to each of you for those really. Personal and thoughtful introductions. It's really generous to come into this space with that kind of openness for all of us. So we really appreciate that. We have questions. Amy and I were laughing earlier. We're, we're people with [00:25:00] countless questions.
Risa: We're so excited and curious about your work. But I do wanna say as a caveat, like just ignore our questions, if you have more interesting things to say, or if you wanna ask each other things, we're more interested in that than we are in our own questions. So we'll start with sort of directing things, but if at any point you're like, I wanna know what Crystal thinks about this, that's my caveat about that.
Risa: I did wanna ask, and this goes back to a question Margaret shared with us. If, you know we have a diverse listener, community. We talk about the coven we make in the dark between our ears and how that's like a meeting point in a podcast space for people who come from all around the world, a real diversity of backgrounds, settler descendants, colonizer, descendants, people who grew up, you know, [00:26:00] off reservation, with totally detached from their community, who are trying to find a way back descendants of enslaved people, people who are in really, incredibly strict religious communities right now, who for whom, this part of their spirituality is very secret.
Risa: We really hear from an incredible diversity of people. So for those people, they feel belonging towards a practice that they can identify as probably indigenous in origin and they wanna have a relationship with the natural world, for example, without, you know, perpetuating this kind of violence.
Risa: What do you recommend? Is there, is there a way in that feels appropriate? or not?
Risa: Unless anybody wants to jump on that, I could perhaps pass it to Margaret since that was sort of a version of the question you shared [00:27:00] with us.
Margaret: Sure. So this is something I've had to do some thinking about, in the context of what's a way for people who've been separated from our indigenous traditions and cultures and ceremonies, which for most people, my generations, everybody.
Margaret: Cuz until 1951, it was illegal in Canada to participate in a lot of First Nation ceremonies. And so, we have sometimes parents, grandparents, elders who did not learn, those ceremonies themselves or don't know those traditions and couldn't pass them on. And so for a lot of folks there's, there's a search going on, and people have different, access to power in doing that search.
Margaret: And so, it's important to figure out where you fit in that, as a searcher and to think about, what, I mean, it's easy to be aware [00:28:00] of what my needs are going into a space, but it's harder to imagine what some of the dangers I may be posing to people in that space are. If I come in with, a lot of questions andnot, I'm not thinking in terms of reciprocity or what kind of, burden I might be putting on people, who already have, pretty strapped access to resources.
Margaret: And so, I've done a lot of thinking about it. I'm also a vegan, so I, I tend to think in parallels. And one of the parallels that comes to mind here is, when I get a craving for something and I think, oh, you know, I'm, me really missing. . And so I'm thinking of when I used to eat meat and thinking, oh gosh, I could really go for that.
Margaret: And then I do a little analysis where I'm asking myself, what is it I'm really craving? What is it that's missing? Is it salt? Is it fat? What is the, the thing that I'm seeking there? So I think for people who aren't Indigenous, who find themselves connecting to some Indigenous piece of ceremony or culture tradition, to stop and [00:29:00] ask yourself, what is it about that that is calling to me?
Margaret: Because it might be easy to think that that's the thing that is calling to you when really what's calling to you is that absence inside of yourself and your own history, that is maybe waiting for you to discover it. The, the what did your ancestors do when that piece of them was missing? What was the thing that made them feel whole?
Margaret: And that's really where I think people need to find their answers. And so like that journey itself is worth doing. It's not just about finding the thing that fits in that spot. It's about going there and looking for it and, and the person you become by doing that. And so I, I think that's, that's what I would recommend.
Margaret: And maybe other folks have a different approach to that.
Crystal: I'd like to just do a bit of a hot pursuit because I, I just can't help but think, I come across this often, in community and, and in death work, and. Particularly in death work. I [00:30:00] had on my dad's side, I have a cousin and, and her mom is, you know, very Irish, Scottish background.
Crystal: You know, dad is my dad's brother, the, European side of the mix. You know, she was really excited to, you know, invite me along to these different drum circles she had started participating in. And these different, you know, they were Indigenous spaces meant for Indigenous people and she was really excited and, you know, you could tell, and she really talked about how, her spirit connected in those spaces. And, you know, I love my cousin very much and you know, I went along and I checked it out and, and it, it was a great space. But, you know, it was also, I could see things that she couldn't, like nobody else except for the facilitators were indigenous and everybody in the circle had drums and different, you know, like moccasins [00:31:00] and things like that.
Crystal: And it was in the middle of the day during the week. And I just, you know, I thought this was kind of strange because the people, you know, where are all the Native people in this drum circle? And, so I talked with her about that after that experience. You know, just how, like, lack of access and, you know, a lot of people don't have these spiritual items unless they're part of an, you know, going to a, something that's paid for by like a nonprofit to bring in a drum maker and all these other things.
Crystal: So there was, you know, like the access to resources like you mentioned. But what I really asked her was, you know, look at your own history, your own genealogy. There's, and I had so much success explaining, Anishinaabe people to, you know, a boardroom of, of bros and suits. You know, like, what does that mean?
Crystal: What's a Anishinaabe? And said, well, think of it as like you being like [00:32:00] Irish or Celtic or something like that. Like there were tribes, there was, there were hand drums, there were, you know, we have this really base historical level of people where we felt safe around campfires and we, we knew that we would survive and have sustenance.
Crystal: So, with that connection and that kinship, so that's what I tell people. Go back to your own family tree, you know, and find where these connections are parallel for you. And, you know, that's such a great word, parallel because it's there and it's okay to come into a space saying, this is who I am and this is what I carry.
Crystal: And to find those, those bits of, that resonate with you in, in other ways, you know, I've heard several elders say like, they don't turn anybody away, really. If you're coming to the circle to join and it's with good intention and good heart, you're gonna be welcome. But it's also to, you know, know your [00:33:00] manners and, you know, make sure that you're not, taking up space that maybe you shouldn't be.
Crystal: And to also just take time to ask those questions. That's, that's a big piece. So, yeah, just came to mind.
Granddaughter Crow: Awesome. So this is G D C. I love this is the type of questions that we get to talk about in this circle and in society at this point. What I would like to say is that when, when you look at First Nation people more, more so like within, you know, Native American and Canada and Indigenous, you need to go back and understand that a lot of these cultures, were they the government or whomever was trying to erase.
Granddaughter Crow: Which is a little bit different than [00:34:00] looking at other, other situations. You know, what they literally were trying to, I mean, the long walk, and the, you know, the Trail of Tears, Long Walk of the Navajo, the Trail of Tears, it goes on and on and on and on and on. And so when you approach that culture, understand that that is a very a D N A memory that may run in the bloodline of that individual, and then you appreciate that.
Granddaughter Crow: And you honor and you respect and come with curiosity to learn appreciation. Cultural appreciation is something very different than cultural appropriation. The appropriation is when an individual or group of individuals goes into a culture and claims and annexes and takes away and represents that as though it was [00:35:00] never that cultures in the first place, and that's the harm.
Granddaughter Crow: You know, it's like going into somebody's kitchen and, and cooking and, and making food and, and they're just kinda like sitting on the couch going, what the hell? You know, what are you doing? And so the best way that I like to explain this, and this is an early on conversation for me and I'm still developing, you know, cuz I do have that pain and I understand the, the anger that some people feel.
Granddaughter Crow: But at the other hand, what I'm like, if we just approach each other with respect, understanding, wanting to learn, and then curiosity and let people know this is that tradition and they invited me to be a part of it. That is totally cool. You know? That is totally cool. And I love that parallel because I think that with just being First Nation, [00:36:00] Native American.
Granddaughter Crow: I look at it and I'm, and I like the idea of what is it that you are seeking? Because if you go far back enough in anybody's culture on the face of this earth, we all sat in circle. We all shared as a tribe, we all had the fire. We all did. And so maybe you're looking for tribe, which let's create tribe, then let's create these types of things.
Granddaughter Crow: And it's a little bit more difficult too, being like half and half, so to speak, because I have, that's why I'm a bridge. I'm like, well, you know, let's go ahead. Part of me has to approach. Part of me to say, am I appropriating? I have to have those conversations inside of myself. Yes, I have been called a half breed.
Granddaughter Crow: Yes, I get it. You know, but at the end of the day, we're starting to move into more societal things where there are a [00:37:00] lot of mixed cultures coming together. And I would also say that this is on, this is beyond just like race. This is also talking about how do you approach, the LGBTQ plus community. How do you approach somebody who is different than you?
Granddaughter Crow: Well, you do it out of respect and you understand where they're coming from, and then they get to approach you. And we get to have these wonderful conversations.
Zoe: This is such a great question. I just wanna thank Dr. Robinson for, you know, sending it in to help us start off the conversation. And this is a question that my, my dear friend and collaborator, Dr. Amer and I work on. Amer is a white settler sound artist, and geographer in Australia. And, we've been working for the last few years thinking about, you know, how do you respectfully engage in a place that, [00:38:00] you might not be from?
Zoe: And obviously they're coming at it from a white seller perspective. I'm coming at it as an met person who's been living in lots of different indigenous people's homelands outside of my homeland . And how do you know, how do I work in Ottawa and crystal's? Homelands, unseated and unsurrendered homelands in Ottawa, Algonquin Homelands.
Zoe: And I've worked in, the Northwest Territories with the new Vilo at knowledge Keepers on how they apply their laws to protect fish and water and, Like as an indigenous person, you know, when, when an elder says, you know, I can share this with you, but this other part I can't tell you, it's not for you.
Zoe: That's really natural to me, right? Like, I'm like, yeah, of course. I, I totally understand that. Like there's things you can't tell me and I'm not going to press you on it because I respect your boundaries. And I think, so what Amer is trying to do in their work is to sort of normalize. That kind of approach for white people, and sort of say like, there are things that just aren't for you and it's [00:39:00] okay that they're not for you, for white people.
Zoe: And, kind of, so everything that everyone already already said I think really resonates with the work that we've been trying to do as well, which is, armor approaches it through listening and what they call attunement. And so listening, really listening to where you are and, and sort of like the one lesson they wanna impart to settlers, like white people who are descendants of those who actively colonized homelands through genocide.
Zoe: You know, sort of that lesson of like knowing in your body when you have permission to do something and when you don't, and even learning to listen to a place and like if the place is telling you like, I don't want you here, maybe go to another part of the forest or, and those kind of like just really encouraging because I think with at least how colonization unfolded, In Canada, which is the one place I can speak to with, you know, sort of knowledge.
Zoe: I, I spent time living in the UK and what really struck me about white British culture is that there's like this [00:40:00] unfeeling, this that runs through a lot of, like British, or at least English society. And, and they've done a great deal of harm both within their sort of islands and then expanded that outward.
Zoe: And, and so, you know, they sent the, the wealthy British people historically sent their children away to boarding schools and then they recreated that everywhere that they went and with like far more sinister intent, when they were using it as a genocidal tool. But that unfeeling this, like, I felt it in my body when I was studying in the UK and I just, it was really upsetting to sort of realize like that how much they had shut down to kind of get through, and maybe just avoid that reckoning with, with what's been done in their name.
Zoe: And so I, I hope this is making sense, but that's a separate conversation than the conversation that we try to have about listening and attunement with people from communities that have been violently displaced and dispossessed in other parts of the world, by white colonizers. And so [00:41:00] in that case, we're trying to open up space to sort of talk about like, how do we make these?
Zoe: Rebecca Louise Carter is this really brilliant anthropologist. And she, she works with women who've lost family in New Orleans and she has this concept of, Black women who've lost family in New Orleans. And she has this concept that she calls restorative kinship. And I really love that concept, and I don't wanna appropriate it from the context that she's writing in with the, like the community members she's co-thought that with.
Zoe: But I like the kind of idea of like, aspects of sort of, honoring that concept of restorative kinship. Like how do we build relations with place and with, with humans and more than humans, that really takes into account our obligations to one another and is thoughtful. And also reckons with like the histories of white supremacy acknowledges that there are many, many communities that have been harmed, and what kind of futures do we wanna build together?
Zoe: And so [00:42:00] like, as everyone said, like curiosity, care, listening, you know listening to your body, what, like, what do you like as Margaret said, like, what, what are you missing? And like, what is this, experience giving you? And is there a way you can do that? With integrity that, and I guess it's breaking down that idea of ownership that Whiteness has.
Zoe: There's this really brilliant Africana philosopher named Louis Gordon, and I really like his work cause he's very thoughtful and he talks about like whiteness as a form of narcissism. And he has a new book coming out and there's just, I just read quickly, like a little bit of it, and he describes whiteness as I'm paraphrasing him.
Zoe: So I don't wanna, misrepresent as they sort of talks about whiteness as like white whiteness is like, the whiteness is like who comes to the party and sort of says like, aren't you glad I'm here ? Being able to kind of you know, unpack that and sort of say like, well no, we're not actually glad you're here.
Zoe: You're not honoring us by taking this aspect of our [00:43:00] culture. In fact, you're doing it in a way that doesn't respect boundaries. . And I guess it's really coming back to those like core emotions of like, like are you feeling, fear? Are you feeling, you know, and like being able to kind of like actually unpack that.
Zoe: I think that so many people put so much work into creating the space for us to be able to have those intimate and vulnerable conversations about who we are and who we're obligated to. And so I just feel really excited cuz I think that we're in a time where I think it's more possible, like, like, like people who've done that work to lay the groundwork have made it more possible for us to sort of say like, no, I don't really believe what you're saying.
Zoe: Like, you, you think you're doing this in an honorable way, but it's not, and it, and it's, you're not a bad person, but you need to come into better relations and like being able to do that is really, Really important. But it takes a lot of time and work and, yeah, so exactly what all the people, on the panel have already said,
Zoe: Like, it's just, it's a process, [00:44:00] and doing that with care and just like how Crystal described bringing your cousin in and unpacking that experience, like that's just, that's the total that Yeah, that's, that's, that's how to do it. Like, just have these conversations . Anyways, I'm gonna stop there, but just, everyone's just so brilliant.
Zoe: This is so great.
Amy: I want to bring one other brilliant voice to the conversation who's not here right now, but I recently spoke to, an Ojibwe, medicine person, author Asha Frost. And the vocabulary that she uses for the Earth, is the same that she uses for culture. She uses the term extraction.
Amy: So I think we can work with the Earth where it's a mutual aid. Or we can go in and we can, you know, pillage the land. And I think that that's exactly the same thing that happens with other cultures, you know, in globally Indigenous cultures. [00:45:00] So in the spirit of reciprocity, let's have a reminder that this episode is a fundraiser.
Amy: Let's make some reparations, let's do some reciprocity and be mindful of our extraction techniques.
Risa: And thank you to the people who have already during the first 45 minutes of this live episode sent in your donation receipts. I see them coming in our group email and it's really emotional and rad.
Amy: For real?
Risa: Yeah, thank you.
Amy: Thank you. Now let's hear a bit about that fundraiser. So take your screenshot of your receipt, email it to missing witches gmail.com with the subject line donation, plus the amount of your donation. Lucky donors will win amazing prizes, and everyone who donates will get a digital coupon book with discount codes from our favorite witchy.
Amy: Businesses will run the fundraiser from today through the month of May. Winners will be drawn at random and announced on [00:46:00] June 1st.
Risa: I want to pick up this idea, Zoe introduced, and we've spoken with, Edgar Fabian Frias, who's, an Indigenous thinker, gender expansive spirit that we've been lucky to have on the podcast before.
Risa: And we'll share a conversation with him again, next week, I believe. But they talk about, Indigenous futures. So what is, what is the future you wanna see? What does it look like? Can you help us picture it and can we help call it forth together? Are there pieces of it that connect to this idea of kinship with the more than human world?
Risa: Are there pieces of it that we can find through this attunement, through listening in our bodies to where we're comfortable, where we feel joy, where we feel like we could be in better [00:47:00] reciprocity? Would you think out loud about that with us?
Granddaughter Crow: I suppose I can kick that one off. Um, great question and it can go in so many different ways, but I think that, especially coming off of the dialogue that we just had about, you know, appropriation and extraction and recognition and curiosity, I think that I would like to say that give everybody an exercise so that you can work with the natural world wherever you are on the globe.
Granddaughter Crow: And that would be very simple. I have quite a few different exercises, but I'll just choose a simple one. So, Breathe, go out into the natural world. It could be your backyard, a park, go to the beach, you know the mountains, wherever you want. [00:48:00] Feel the weather. Touch a tree and know that that tree knows that you are touching it.
Granddaughter Crow: There is an intellect among all of the natural world. It's called animism. Everything has a soul. Everything has a consciousness. Go out there and realize that the bird that you just saw probably saw you first kind of sit there instead of feeling separate like you're watching a movie. Be the participant in that experience.
Granddaughter Crow: Know that that squirrel saw you. And yes, he thinks you have a peanut and yes, he's gonna come up and check you out and then he's gonna run a away, you know, know that you it. You are being viewed as much as you are viewing, you are being observed as much as you are observing. And I think that that is a beautiful way to [00:49:00] help each of our bodies, human existence bodies, whether you are red body, white body, black body, whatever, yellow body, whatever you are, you can go out there and know that the natural world you are a part of it.
Granddaughter Crow: You are a part of it. So that's what I would say. I would say let's start experiencing it. We talk so intelligently about our confusion, but let's do something. Go outside. Oh, and one more. Go to that same place in the morning and observe. Maybe even write down what you're observing, how it's observing you.
Granddaughter Crow: Do the same thing at noon, it's gonna be a little different, right? Do the same thing at night or in the evening. It's gonna be a little different. And start connecting yourself with the realities of what's going on. Because reading a book is wonderful, but taking action [00:50:00] and feeling it, like Zoe was saying, feeling it within your body.
Granddaughter Crow: That's where the phenomenon starts taking place, the phenomenon and the experience, and not thinking so much about is this experience right or and wrong? Just touch the tree, you know, and feel it and know that it knows that you are touching it and it is touching you back.
Risa: I wanna keep passing this question along, but I also just wanna pause to highlight. We talked so intelligently about our confusion. I felt that one. Does anyone else wanna pick up this idea of a possible future and how we get there together?
Margaret: I'll say some stuff. So I, I guess when I think about the future, I think about, dismantling. So a [00:51:00] lot of the work that I do, people ask about, oh, you know, how do we, how do we Indigenize the academy? And I keep telling them, we don't do that yet.
Margaret: We have to decolonize before we indigenize. It's like shampoo, then conditioner, you have to wash out all the bad stuff, and see what you've got left and then, start building up again. And so I think about that sort of on the social level as well. You know, I think we need to dismantle toxic masculinity.
Margaret: Acknowledge that toxic masculinity also damages the men that it, resides within. And similarly I think, Zoe's point about trauma, we can look at what, would a trauma informed approach to dismantling social inequity look like? By acknowledging that the people who are doing the colonizing are also heavily traumatized people.
Margaret: I'm not a [00:52:00] historian, but, I do notice when I look at where some of the people who were active in colonizing in what's currently Canada came from their history had recently included traumatic colonial experiences of their own that they then replicate in new spaces. And so, I think it's interesting when you start looking at some of those histories to ask what was the way that trauma maybe influenced their actions and their behaviors.
Margaret: To see like what would it be, what would've been different if they hadn't had that experience of children, of being separated from their parents at an early age and raised in an institution, for instance. Or if they hadn't had the experience of being forced to speak a standardized form of their language instead of the language that was distinct to their region, and so on.
Margaret: There are lots of experiences that were, traumatic for groups that later became colonizers. And so I think [00:53:00] to, to realize that this isn't colonization isn't just the work of evil people doing evil things. It's the work of damaged people replicating the damage that they experienced in new ways, in ways that maybe, reassured them that they were never gonna be powerless again.
Margaret: And so we have to think about, how do we involve people whose ancestors did those things? Maybe very recently, you know, we sometimes talk about colonization as if it happened long ago. But people of my generation went to residential school, and many of them, you know, residential schools continued late into the nineties, even in Canada.
Margaret: So, those experiences of genocide are still very current for a lot of folks. And so how do you engage with people who, don't know that history, but who are being shaped by it? And I, I think our cultures have been historically welcoming and encouraging of people to get to know us. [00:54:00] But there's also a burden with that.
Margaret: You know, people have a lot of questions when they discover that big chunks of their history are missing. And just because someone has questions and they wanna learn doesn't obligate, the people they're asking to teach. I know sometimes the burden of teaching and educating sometimes falls on people who are already heavily burdened and whose resources are already strapped.
Margaret: And so, you know, it's not up to people of color to educate us about what racism. It's not up to indigenous people to educate everyone about colonialism, although we often do. And it means that that energy can't go to other things. And so I think there can be lessons to be learned from the spiritual traditions that we have inherited.
Margaret: So I've, for instance, had difficulty knowing when to stop working. And, a Indigenous friend was talking about, protocols around medicine picking and how you don't pick all the medicine . And so I started thinking about this in relation to [00:55:00] my own energy levels. Like, stop picking all your medicine, you need to leave some to regenerate and, and to grow.
Margaret: So I think there are a lot of parallels that we can draw on from the wisdom traditions that we have about how to do stuff in a good way. It doesn't mean we are never gonna make mistakes, but, I think it gives us a, a good hint as to how we can start undoing some of the mistakes that people have already made in the past.
Risa: Yeah. Go for it. You guys can just unmute.
Margaret: Okay. I'm, I'm gonna jump in if that's ok.
Risa: Of course.
Zoe: Yeah. No, I just, I love, I love that embodied practice that you just shared. Granddaughter Crow and just like that, invite invitation to people to really pay attention to where they are and. Yeah. And that, and it, I think that, yeah.
Zoe: And then everything that Margaret just said, like I was just really resonating with me around recognizing [00:56:00] cause I don't know that I would say I'm a witch. I wouldn't say that I have like a practice that I follow that is, necessarily in the traditions that, that I probably some of your listeners follow.
Zoe: But I have been thinking of colonialism as a curse, and that came out of living in Ottawa and Scotland and really thinking about forms of curses that, have been enacted. I was trying to understand what I meant by curse. And so I put it in words and I said, I feel like it's the intentional bending of light time and space to obscure things.
Zoe: And that some of our work is to just dismantle, like what Margret was saying, dismantle that like, like whatever power source or whatever is being used to obscure and bend light and time and space and, and distort them and, restore them to more, integral and ethical and rooted sort of, you know, ways of existing.
Zoe: And I don't know if that makes sense. Maybe it resonates with some folks, maybe it doesn't, but I was trying to think of like in Ottawa, the land is so powerful and so beautiful [00:57:00] and you, you get these like just, you get this feeling of how amazing, and I'm not Algonquin so I don't wanna appropriate Algonquin practice, but like just that feeling of like, this is very powerful land.
Zoe: I think that's why. You know, I can see how, you know, settlers kind of wound up here and, and felt this draw to this place to kind of possess it and make it a seat of power. And I really felt like part of my job of being there wasn't so much being an academic, like that was almost like my cover.
Zoe: It was more that I had this responsibility to understand the curses and then like to spend time with them and then try to figure out how to unravel them with my amazing friends and colleagues and like, where can I best, you know, put my energy. And I really love that idea, Margaret, of like, like we don't pick all the medicines.
Zoe: Why would, like I am a workaholic. Like I really struggle with that boundary with work cuz I feel like I need to, like, there's so much to do. We have to dismantle so much and I just need to do it all in this lifetime. And ah, and so that's really a good reminder this morning too. [00:58:00] I'm, it's morning over here.
Zoe: Sorry, anyways. I think that the future I envision is, is one where we've been able to dismantle a lot of these curses, like you said, Margaret, like dismantling them and diffusing them and restoring those distorted narratives. And I really think of like the enlightenment and all, like all the knowledge that came out of colonization and white supremacy, like starting in 1441 with like the start of the enslavement of African peoples by the Portuguese and then the Spanish and other, European colonizers, or Tiffany King calls them conquistadors.
Zoe: You know, just sort of like the violence of it, you know? She says settler isn't powerful enough to describe that violence, so she calls it Conquistador Humanism. It's just riddled with so many curses. And they, actively took knowledge from people all over the globe and then just kind of distorted it to say like, no, no, no, we discovered this.
Zoe: And it was like, [00:59:00] you didn't discover it . Like you had, you know, what they would've called Native informants, you know, which is not a term that is respectful, but is, you know, how they would've understood it, who were showing them, like where medicine plants were, where to find water, where to, you know, and I guess, so the future I envision, I hope, is that we've been able to like break a lot of those curses and just sort of say, here's how it really happened.
Zoe: Here's how, here's how we can be in, you know, we can be in relation to one another and with integrity. And, so again, like Louis Gordon talks about like ego and narcissism being a really big part of white supremacy and colonialism. And I think that idea of damage that you brought up Margaret is really relevant to that as well, that like.
Zoe: I guess it's that idea of like, there's healing to be done in many different contexts. The people who also reenacted their harm and committed [01:00:00] genocide, they have to do that healing, but it can't come at the expense of the people they hurt, I guess. And so like, finding that way through it, is something I'm trying to understand.
Zoe: Like how do we, so I sort of say like, I think there's an impulse of white academics who kind of come into Indigenous spaces and they'll be like, oh, I love that we're having a circle. I can share everything. I wanna share all the guilt I feel. And what I wanna say is, I know that you're a tenured academic and you have very, very good therapy coverage.
Zoe: Go take that to your therapist. Like that, you know marginalized folks, like those kind of sharing circles can be, like healing for folks who don't have access to therapy, but you have access to therapy and it's so inappropriate for you to come here with your white guilt, you know? And I have a white mom and an Indigenous dad.
Zoe: I try really hard to not be that person. That's sort of like taking up space in indigenous context as an indigenous person. It's like, I am a tenured professor. I have access to therapy. I take that stuff to therapy. I try to. And for me, what I've been really trying to work on is, and [01:01:00] I, you know, just to, to really be able to, support that kind of, work in various spaces to sort of say like, we're here to undo the curses together.
Zoe: Some of us have more resources to do that than others. How do we redirect those resources so that more people have access to them? So that's kinda the future I envision. Yeah.
Risa: I can see Amy and I both do a full body nod and go to write down, we're here to undo the curses together.
Zoe: I totally love that. Let's apply curse language to colonialism. I like it.
Risa: Fuck yes.
Zoe: It's very, very fitting. Yeah, there's been so much awesomeness said, you know, I really, when I think about that, futurism, that those Indigenous futurism, it is, you know, moving the, [01:02:00] harms, the traumatized, you know, forward in a good way.
Zoe: And it is, you know, dismantling and it's, you know, it's all of that and. And there, I, I kind of wanted to go last just because I have kind of a, a jump off question for Margaret after, you've been warned. I really just see, you know, all the resources and all these generations that have gone into dismantling Indigenous wellness, dismantling our family, dismantling our communities.
Zoe: I want the same, I wanna see the same investment for rebuilding and restoring and reclaiming. I feel in a lot of ways that the time is right to, you know, in Canada we have, testing for our kids and are they on the [01:03:00] right level? And they get, like, in certain grades, they're tested to make sure they're on par with, you know, the world and.
Zoe: You know, there's a lot of teaching for tests and a lot of, you know, ideas that we give our kids and, and really we just hope that they, they're happy and they're well, and they're safe and cared for, but I think it's a really good time to move away from all of that with this, you know, Pandemic. And it's a really important time where we can really, appreciate that our survival skills, our wellbeing, our mental, you know, our holistic wellness. It's the time to center that. And, you know, we have, you know, as humanity, we have what we need to do that work. And I really think about that future of, you know, just, it's gotta be restorative. So for myself, so much of it, this, you know, [01:04:00] I kind of live to, I aim for that futurism.
Zoe: You know, I took my kids outta school, I homeschooled them, all kinds of good stuff. And one's an adult now, and one's on her way, but, you know, they're, they're well and they're stable and they're safe and they have their needs met and that's really the point, right? But when I think about that future piece, so much of it is centering the connections, the connections to plant life, the connections, you know, just like G D C said, you know, about like that embodiment work of taking time to really understand your place on this planet because it's, you know, we're not the apex predator.
Zoe: We're, you know, dependent on every, every other, you know, form of living being. So let's, let's go back to that place. That's what I would like to see is understanding the spirituality that, that animism that exists and [01:05:00] everything. And, and for myself, for so many years, I looked to try and study my, you know, Indigenous spirituality.
Zoe: and all I could find were okay, but you have to study, you know, Catholicism or, or you know, Judaism and, you know, you can, but you gotta take some of the big three or something, you know, you gotta take some of this pie if you wanna have time for that. So, so I'm just curious of it, Margaret, how, how it's been for you to, to have that curiosity as the non participant that, you know, thirst for learning and, you know, I feel like there's, there's definitely gonna be a space where you have this, you know, that Indigenous spirituality, that inherent way of knowing about certain things and certain connections that we have and the spirit.
Zoe: And I'm just, yeah, I'm so curious of how it's been going studying religion, because there's always this place where you get to when, when I've been looking where. [01:06:00] Indigenous spirituality, they say, no, that's religion. And they wanna stuff you into a box and say, okay, now you're, you're talking about religious practice.
Zoe: You know, it's just, it's culture. It's a way of living. It's a way of looking. So it's doesn't really fit in a box. So, yeah. I'm just curious how, you know, how that fits with you when you're, when you've done so much kind of that academic work and then you, you talk to people, they're like, do you really wanna learn it in school?
Zoe: Do you wanna learn in community? And I'm like, can I have both? Like ? So yeah. Kind of a wishy-washy question, but if anything comes to mind.
Margaret: Well, I had, I went to, my, undergrad university wanting to be a writer. So I took English, but I had a bunch of other credits to fill, so I started taking some other courses and, I just had a really great run of Indigenous studies, Religious [01:07:00] studies teachers, and it got me interested primarily in why were some particularly Christian people so homophobic.
Margaret: I was kind of interested in it, maybe I, I would say now from like a sociological angle. And so, you know, I was reading the Authoritarian Personality and, delving into Theodor Adorno and trying to find out like what makes some people, want to do what other people tell them. And trying to sort of figure out how does it function.
Margaret: And I think maybe in the back of my hand, I mind, I had this idea of like, well, if I can understand how it works, I could fix it. And make it, make it, make homophobia never happen. You know, a nice small, achievable goal like that. I had an advisor, Maggie Abdul Macee at St. Mary's, she just retired this year.
Margaret: And she said, well, when you're looking to go to grad school, if you take religious studies, you'll understand how other people, secular people, view religious people. But if you take theology, you'll understand how religious people view themselves. And so I did that. I [01:08:00] took theology and, it was a great experience because it, it was exactly what she said.
Margaret: It was understanding how people see themselves, how they talk to each other, how they understand their own identity developing. And they've done a lot of work in it. Like they've, they've been doing this a long time in that field, understanding how to make new Christians. And my focus was on Catholicism specifically.
Margaret: So looking at how does that, how does it function, how do people adopt homophobic attitudes within it? And what I noticed was it seemed to be about othering. That part of having the, walls of your identity be firm was about defining who was outside those walls. And, so for instance, I happened to notice that as Catholicism got less anti-Judaic, it got more homophobic.
Margaret: it was almost as if the other doesn't matter, like it the, the who the other is, it could be anyone they slot in there. And so [01:09:00] I started noticing similar patterns in other groups that the, the insider outsider line was really key for a lot of cultures and their identity was really rooted in that.
Margaret: And I think as I came to understand my own, Mi'kmaq culture more, I saw something different. I saw that it wasn't about the line between insider and outsider, it was more about your place and a network and a system and a connections. And so I, I see it more as a, a difference of emphasis that I know you can categorize the world.
Margaret: I've seen the places that do it and work people who work on that. But not everything. And may, maybe nothing fully fits into the categories that it's in. There's always pieces of the story that have to get left out to make those categories work. I see it with the identity. I see it with sexuality.
Margaret: And so seeing the way that we're networked and the way that we're connected, that's been really helpful for me because it helped me see the [01:10:00] world through a different perspective. So yeah, that's coming to it, like approaching it from a position of wanting to support wellness, to support health.
Margaret: I think it's like, Granddaughter Crow is saying that, when people are separated from their connection to nature, when they've only seen the box that they're in and they don't know what's beyond that there's a big piece there that's missing that relationship. It's not just a piece of identity that's gone.
Margaret: It's a, it's all those connections to the other beings in the world. And then I went to a vegan conference and saw a presentation about our own internal, biosystem of small animals and bacteria and realized, oh, we are also an ecosystem. So like, there's really no end to it. Like, you know, even the boundaries of our own body are not fully ourselves.
Margaret: So it's even as a secular person seeing this and saying, I can see why people use [01:11:00] religious language for it, because there's something about it that is overwhelming and awesome
Risa: So much yes to all of what Margaret just said. We definitely have people in our coven, our community, who explained to us that they began to identify with they them pronouns with exactly that same moment of realization that they are multiple, that that boundary wasn't. Really real, you know? And that impacted not just their identity, but their whole everything about who they are and how they interact.
Risa: I did say I would open it up to questions, which is hard cause I have 7,000 more of my own. But also I will, threaten and say, we will reach out to each of the members on this panel and, humbly request more of your time. We love to do like a one-on-one episode with each person. If you have more time for us at any point in the next year, we love to get to dig deeper into your work.
Risa: We would be really honored to [01:12:00] have you. And then I'll get to ask more of my 7,000 questions. But for now, Kelly, thank you so much for raising your hand and for being here. Go ahead.
Kelly: Thank you so much for this. I'm Just my jaws on the floor. This has been amazing and I too probably have about a million questions, I'll say too, I'm on unceeded Taquoquin territory as, settler stock and see my tiny contribution towards reconciliation or decolonization as being, addressing my, my kin if, if I can put it that way.
Kelly: And what are some of the things that we're doing and maybe could be doing better. So I feel like this is kind of an, an unachieved question. You know, there's maybe bigger things to talk about, but I'd be curious to hear what you think I'll add to that a lot of my work is in, is in death care, [01:13:00] and I see this was touched upon.
Kelly: Part of that work is trying to help, and I see it especially with in within white western culture, is with this idea that not everything is for. , there are limits to everything, and that applies to climate change, it applies to our own, our own deaths, and certainly it applies to appropriation. So I'll give a specific example, but, obviously it's about bigger things than this, but I, I'd love to hear what you think about smudging, because especially within the witch community, I encounter this regularly and, there'll be no indigenous people present, you know, from Turtle Island.
Kelly: And there's a sense that, there's just a sense of entitlement around this. For many of us, saining is in our cultural backgrounds, but what's happening here looks like nothing like, a traditional staining practice would be. [01:14:00] And I'm just wondering what your thoughts are around this. I tend to use it as a, an opportunity to talk about the fact that, again, not everything is for us and maybe, maybe some, what's asked of us is to leave this alone just as an act of solidarity.
Kelly: But maybe that's a mistake. Maybe this is an opportunity for relationship building or for developing, you know, a kinship with the plants. I would love to hear what, what some of the panelists think about this. Thank you.
Crystal: Well, I do know that for myself, I it kind of comes back to that, experience I had with my cousin.
Crystal: You know, look to your own culture. Because we're, you know, we're not the only culture that uses smudging. It's, it's a widely, you know, held practice with different plant medicines. I think it's really important to [01:15:00] consider, the access of the medicines. Like where did you get it from? We know that, white sage is being abused in their traditional, territories and, you know, I feel like others could speak to this better.
Crystal: It, it can be tricky. I think for myself, I prefer, like I tell people like, you know, just go find yourself a native person. But, you know, if, if that's not feasible then, you know, why do you wanna do that? And, and is there a medicine that's accessible to you that you can do that with? And in Algonquin territory we have, Cleary Sage or Algonquin Sage that grow everywhere. Lots in out east. Actually, I found out on Arisa road trip too, so, but yeah, that's my two cents. I'll share the mike.
Granddaughter Crow: Awesome. So Granddaughter Crow here. I love the [01:16:00] question because it is practical in nature and I would say I definitely agree with what Crystal had said about there are other things that you can burn.
Granddaughter Crow: And so then I also wanna reflect on what Margaret had said earlier about what is it that you are looking for when you are doing that act. So if you are looking for cleansing. There are so many other ways to do cleansing, so kind of figure out what you want. The act of burning is a very beautiful act because it's a transformational thing and I can see, especially with people who work closely with death, burning is a very wonderful thing.
Granddaughter Crow: But we can also burn incense. We can burn candles. We can burn. I love cedar because I look at the plant [01:17:00] itself, and for me, the juniper bush is not something that I wanna go up and hug, so I, I see that it's very protective in nature. And so then I go, oh, I want to put protection around, you know, go outside.
Granddaughter Crow: You know, sometimes I leave a coin or leave something when I take something and then I, and then I, I'll burn the cedar. And so, you know, I don't want to get too hung up on personally cuz I get asked this question too. Personally, you know, listen to your spirit, listen to your body, look at the work that you're doing, be aware that there are other things that you can burn.
Granddaughter Crow: And that burning things isn't necessarily, it's the act of doing it and think about what is it. And secondly, the nose and the sense of smell is one of our biggest memory recallers. So maybe you're really hooked on [01:18:00] the sage because it draws up these memories of cleansing. So then what I would say, if you're like, oh, maybe I shouldn't burn as much sage, I'm not telling you to burn sage or not, that's up to you and your spirit and your awareness.
Granddaughter Crow: But I'm saying if you want to maybe burn less because of the shortages, then go into meditation, which is really easy. Put your little fingertips together. Inhale through the nose for a few counts. Hold it within the body and exhale through the mouth. You do this for like three minutes. You are from, you know, you're, you're into an alpha state, you're into this, and then pull that energy.
Granddaughter Crow: But while you're doing this, burn something else. Maybe it is a certain other scent so that you can start attaching. What you are smelling and feeling with that scent. And then when you don't have time, because you're running around and you need to get into that space really quickly for [01:19:00] somebody, you just burn your little incense or burn, burn that candle or smell that lavender in the dram or whatever it is.
Granddaughter Crow: So that's, that's what I would say.
Zoe: I love everything everyone's already said and my only thought is, I have some friends and colleagues, Laura Ogden and Nicholas Rio, and they've done stuff they've done works right on invasive plants in the Great Lakes. And one of, and Nick is, Anishnabe and Laura is a white scholar, but they, they worked with community members and, the lesson that kind of came around invasive plants was that if they're here, they have something to teach us.
Zoe: And so, you know, something that also I think is appropriate for white settlers to do is sort of maybe look around and see like, what invasive plants did colonizers bring here that are now sitting right there for you to do plant medicine work with? And so like, I've fallen in love with the purple dead nettle in my yard.
Zoe: I'm just totally taken by it. It's just so beautiful and I, it's obviously trying to tell me [01:20:00] something. And so in the spirit of that lesson that Laura and Nick have, you know, sort of shared through their work with community members, I'm also trying to listen to like, what do some of these so-called invasive species have to say?
Zoe: And like, obviously they're not invasive, they didn't have a choice. They were brought here, you know, and they've made lives here and, and they do. I really like that idea that they have something to tell us. So, yeah, so I've been, now I'm paying attention to all of the sort of so-called weeds that I find, and they all have really powerful roles.
Zoe: And so I think that signed very ethical for white settlers to work with are the plants that, that you co transported, maybe not on purpose, but got here anyways and, and there's abundance of them. Maybe that can also help shift the balance between those plants and, and the species that were here to help sort of affect, you know, address the fact that, you know, things like white sage and others have, have been so heavily impacted by colonial [01:21:00] extraction and things like that.
Zoe: Anyways, that's, that's my thought, but all of everything everyone said just makes so much sense. This is the greatest podcast. This is just like, just to get to talk about like real practical, embodied things is such a nice, like, just so nice. So thank you.
Risa: It's the greatest podcast. You guys, you just made the greatest podcast!
Risa: I feel like it's so empowering what you're suggesting in response to this question too, right? Like if we are. Children of settler descendants, and we carry this wall of like not being allowed to feel, not being supposed to feel. That kind of, and then the sort of violence that happened in our families, our version of playing out that, that colonialism, sometimes it can feel like you're not supposed to have a relationship with a plant or the earth at all.
Risa: You know, you're just supposed to buy and consume relationships. Your, [01:22:00] relationship with the world is, You can, you use your labor and your body to buy things, to keep capital spinning until you die. And that's how you're allowed to interact with the world. You know, I think that's sort of as part of the colonial settler body, right?
Risa: So to be told like, no, you are allowed to have a relationship with plants. Just don't fucking steal everybody else's relationship with land. You know, you're allowed to listen to your body. You're allowed to smell a plant, to, to listen to it, to hear it. That's okay. That's not stealing a culture, you know, just don't.
Risa: Anyway, it's really, it's, it's a really empowering shift that you're, that you're offering in the response to that question and in everything you've said here. Thank you so much. We have four minutes left. I, we try to be real strict about time with our guests so that we don't take more than we've asked for.
Risa: Amy, do you wanna [01:23:00] call it out? Call out the, the gifts again, one more time.
Amy: I do, but first, once again, I think like, we have questions for, First Nations people, but now we live in a time where First Nations people are writing books like Granddaughter Crow and they are producing work that we can purchase.
Amy: So, you know, perhaps we can purchase some work before we go and ask people for their, for their labor and their, and their time. And once again, in that spirit, I want to remind everyone that this is a fundraiser, but before I do my spiel, I want to ask Margaret and Crystal and G D C and Zoe, can we just go around very quickly so you can tell our listeners where they can find you, if, how they can support your current project.
Amy: And then we'll circle back to my speech, Margaret.
Margaret: Well, I [01:24:00] don't have any sort of, economic, connection to folks. But, yeah, if you're looking to talk to me about culture and wellness, I work at Dalhousie University. You can find me there at mRobinson@dal.ca, d a l. And if you just Google Margaret Robinson, you'll probably find me.
Margaret: There are some other Margaret Robinsons who are also. In academia, one of them is a well-known mathematician, but, if you Google, like, if you add in Indigenous or bisexual or queer or two-Spirit, that you'll find the one that's me. I, before we wrap up, I just wanna say on the smudging thing to recognize that, these traditions are still in, in process and still developing.
Margaret: So Wanda Whitebird, Mi'kmag Elder who does, work with people living with H I V, in order to do smudging in hospitals where you couldn't burn stuff developed a way to do a wet smudge. And so there are, [01:25:00] there are new types of this kind of activity developing all the time. And so it's, it's not just a, a thing frozen in time, it's, it's a live culture.
Margaret: And I love the way that, challenges like that bring out new creative, inspiration in people. Thank you, granddaughter Crow. What's the title of your latest book?
Granddaughter Crow: Okay, so, I spoke about Wisdom of the Natural World, which is, we did a podcast on that, which is, episode 100. You can get that Amazon, wherever you get your books.
Granddaughter Crow: It's produced by, call out to Louellen Worldwide, my publisher. And, my next book is coming out actually June 8th, and it is called Belief Being and Beyond. So when Margaret was talking about the comparative religions and Crystal posed that question and Zoe's talking about these things, I'm like, oh, this book is [01:26:00] about. Bringing all of our similarities together. And we are probably going to, Missing Witches. I'll be on their podcast I think in June or something like that to be able to talk about this. So look for that. And otherwise, Google, Granddaughter Crow and all that stuff is mine because that's just a weird ass name, right?
Granddaughter Crow: Most people go, oh, I'm an elder. Call me grandmother. And I'm like, oh, if it wasn't for my grandfather and spirit, I wouldn't be here. So I'm granddaughter and it keeps my ego right sized. Www.granddaughtercrow.com. Thank you listeners for doing this and thank you Missing Witches for doing this, and I hope we raise a lot of money for more awareness,
Crystal: Oh, Instagram at chrystal_dawne also at [01:27:00] Blackbird Medicines. Got the website too. Blackbird medicines.ca. And we're on Facebook here, there, everywhere. We're working on an Indigenous Death Doula training program. If you're not indigenous, please don't ask me to take this course. That's how you can support me
Crystal: So thank you so much, such an honor to be here. And I'm, I'm gonna, this is gonna just rock my rest of my spring, so thank you.
Amy: And of course, all of these links will be in the show notes for the, this episode. So everybody, you can head to our website, Dr. Zoe Todd!
Zoe: Just deep gratitude to everyone. And, and thank you to Witches for hosting us.
Zoe: And this was just, I just feel so good after this. Like, just everyone on the panel was so brilliant. You can find me online. You can go to Instagram. I'm Dr. Fish Philosopher [01:28:00] Todd, I think, or Dr. Fish Philosopher. Were there. And there, there's like a link tree and it'll take you to my various different, platforms.
Zoe: And I work with the Institute for Freshwater Fish Features, which is just kind of our cheeky little collaborative way of building beyond the university. And so we have a website, freshwater fish future dot ca and that's where you can find some of our, my collaborations with all the amazing people I work with.
Zoe: Yeah. And I make art, so there's links to my art on the Instagram, as well. So just, yeah. Thank you. This was just so great, and I have some books to go by now too. Thank you.
Amy: Thank you all so much. Again, you know, support all of our panelists work, and if they don't have anything for purchase, then you can support their work by enacting their vision of our utopian society.
Amy: And if you have anything left in your pocket to spare, once again, we [01:29:00] always end these by closing the ritual that we've opened. And I hope that all of you who are listening will close the ritual with a ritual sacrifice. And that's what we're asking. You to do today to make a ritual sacrifice today.
Amy: Please help our collective future by making a small reparation to First Nations women who have been systematically marginalized and disenfranchised both socially and economically. Let's offer our money with humility and then bask in pride as we witness what we can do when we work together. And I do want to add, we are here to undo the curses together.
Amy: This event, this episode, this panel is a fundraiser for the third year running Risa, and I will be contributing our Patreon profits for the month of May to the native women's shelter of Montreal. Last year we invited our listeners to join us, [01:30:00] and together our coven returned almost $3,000 to our local indigenous communities.
Amy: So again, we're asking you, our listeners, those of you here today are Missing Witches, coven mates all over the world to make a reparation. We know that most of you are listening from outside Canada. So wherever you are, we encourage you to find a local native women's shelter or Indigenous N G O to support.
Amy: Some places don't have First Nations specific orgs, so we'll also accept donations to shelters for vulnerable women and children, sex workers, or victims of violence or Planned Parenthood. But we would really appreciate a focus on support of Indigenous women or Indigenous people. We've got a couple grand worth of prizes donated by our coven at large, jewelry, art alter pieces, books.
Amy: Shout out to our publishing house, north Atlantic Books, a handmade custom [01:31:00] sweater and readings of all kinds. Ancestry, astrology, tarot, akok records, just waiting to be yours. So here's what you're gonna do. Make your donation of $10 or more to the native women's shelter of Montreal. Your local indigenous people support organization.
Amy: Take a screenshot of your receipt and email it to missing witches gmail.com with the subject line donation plus the amount of your donation. The amount is important because for every $10, you'll get one entry into the raffle for these prizes that I'm about to list. So if you donate $20, you'll be entered twice for $50, you'll get five entries and so on.
Amy: If everyone listening right now donates locally together, we can make an impact globally. . Anyone who donates a hundred dollars or more will be additionally entered in a separate draw. To win a personal gratitude Zoom Chat, Ruth, Theresa, and myself, plus every single person who makes a [01:32:00] donation of $10 or more, that's every single person who makes a donation of $10 or more will automatically receive a digital coupon book that we put together with discount codes to some of our most beloved witchy businesses, including House Witch s Snake Hair Press, the Death Witch Unearthed Minerals.
Amy: All this info and more details, plus a list of ideas for places to donate in Canada, will be on our website and our socials. And for those of you who are here live, that link is live now. So you can go to our website and check that out. But maybe wait until after this conversation is over. So make your donation and if you like, tell us about who you're supporting and why.
Amy: Last year we highlight a bunch of these organizations in our stories and it was wonderful to be able to share who everyone else is also supporting with our following. So take your screenshot of your [01:33:00] receipt, email it to missing witches gmail.com with the subject line donation, plus the amount of your donation.
Amy: Lucky donors will win amazing prizes and. Everyone who donates will get a digital coupon book with discount codes from our favorite witchy businesses. We'll run The fundraiser from today through the month of May. Winners will be drawn at random and announced on June 1st, just to give our raffle prize donors a bit of heat.
Amy: We have Amy Owen, who's going to do an astrology reading and a painting of the chart. G D C who's here today is gonna give us a reading plus a copy of your upcoming new book, which we're so excited to talk about. North Atlantic Books is giving us three copies of banana leaves. We wanted Jessica to be here today, but she's booked so instead.
Amy: We're gonna spread her book around. , unearthed Minerals is giving us a broom necklace. Angela ak, heart wise woman is doing a bone throw reading. Melissa is doing an Akasha records reading. Jessica from Dear Woman is doing a [01:34:00] tarot reading. Sammy has given us a necklace set. Kate Belu, a custom personalized poem, James, from a quiet practice as hand woven and altar cloth for this fundraiser, Venus and Retro Taro reading.
Amy: Sherry, That Hudu Lady, an Ancestor Reduction connection, plus a copy of her book and Moth and Magic is doing a handmade custom granny square cardigan that I want so badly that I wish I could enter and win all of these prizes and bless a fucking bee. And Blessed fucking Be . Thanks everybody.
Amy: Thanks everybody. See you next time.
Margaret: Thanks so much.
Outro: Be a witch, be a witch, be a witch, You must be a witch
Amy: Happy Beltane.