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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in indigenous

 Indigenous activists share mixed feelings on Vatican repudiation of Doctrine  of Discovery

 An Open Letter to Pope Francis

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Europa - World History Encyclopedia 

An Open Letter


Dear Andras Corban-Arthen,

I'm looking forward to hearing your presentations at Paganicon 2023 this year; I've long been an admirer of your work.

Really, though? “Indians”?


Indians of Old Europe

European paganism never died out completely – to this day, ethnic survivals of traditional pagan practices can still be found in remote areas of Eastern and Western Europe. Andras has spent over 40 years seeking out such surviving traditions, and in this workshop he will discuss the nature and scope of some of those practices, how they managed to survive, and the striking similarities they share with indigenous spiritualities from other parts of the world. The presentation will also include slides of people and places, as well as a short video.


I get it, I get it. As “Indians” are to the Americas, so “pagans” are to Europe. Indigenous Americans, Indigenous Europeans. For all its inherent limitations, it's a useful analogy.

Still, “Indians”?

Well, I don't know about the Berkshire highlands of western Massachusetts, but around here in the Paleozoic Plateau's upper Mississippi Valley—historic Dakota country—there are still lots of Indigenous/First Nations people, our elders in the Land. These folks are our friends, our neighbors, and our kin, and I think you should know that at least some of them—for reasons that should be pretty obvious—find the term “Indian” more than a little objectionable.

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A cultural giant has died.

His name was Nigonwewáywedun: the “Thunder Before the Storm.” Also called Clyde Bellecourt, for most of his 87 years he fought unstintingly for Indigenous rights and cultural revival.

All pagans should salute this kinsman, and recognize his passing. His work was our work; his struggle was our struggle.

We should also learn from his wisdom. Our ancestors, too, were once Indigenous. Our work, like his, must perforce be that of cultural revival.

Nigonwewaywedun will be buried today with Traditional ceremonies.

Hail and farewell, Nigonwewaywedun, kinsman.

Reborn to the people.

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One Moon for All the World: New Year’s Council Fire

Any discussion of rituals for the month of January must include New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I remember the drama that ensued as people around the globe stood by to witness the sunrise on January 1, 2000, perceived as the beginning of the new millennium. While many other cultures observe their New Year at other times during the year, January 1 has also become a time of celebration, reflection and an opportunity to embrace change.

For many millennia, indigenous peoples have celebrated their own New Year in unique ways. One common element is the use of fire rituals by North, Central, and South American peoples. The Pilgrims who arrived to what was to become New England observed and documented that the Iroquois and other tribes they encountered had a New Year’s Council Fire, a time when the tribe gathered to review the past year, listen to their elders and speak their hopes, dreams, and visions of the coming year. In addition to your personal New Year’s ritual with the significant people in your life, I recommend a Bonfire Ceremony as a powerful way to bring positive change of the New Year into your life.

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Churches are burning. This First Nations grand chief wants to provide  security for others: 'These are potential evidence sites' | The Star


What do you want when someone wrongs you?

Do you not want acknowledgment from the wrong-doer that they have wronged you?

Do you not want remorse from the wrong-doer over the wrong that they have done you?

Do you not want compensation from the wrong-doer for the wrong that they have done you?


Across Canada, Catholic churches are going up in flames.

Is anyone surprised?


Let us be frank: the Roman Catholic church is—and has always been—premised on the destruction of traditional cultures.

First it worked to suppress and destroy the traditional cultures of Europe.

Alas, the destruction did not stop there.


The destruction of my ancestors' traditional culture took place so long ago that few even see it any more as a wrong, although it was.

Until shockingly recently, the Catholic church was complicit in the destruction of Indigenous Canadian cultures through the network of residential schools that tore First Nations children from their families and did its best to uproot Native language and culture from those children.

(“First they break your leg, then they offer to sell you a crutch,” says a priestess friend of mine.)

The recent discovery of the bodies of hundreds of those same children, dead of abuse and neglect, is rendered even more horrifying by the near-certainty that there are thousands more yet to be unearthed.


The anger over the death of George Floyd is not anger over the death of just one man, but over a systemic injustice. Here we see the same.


As pagans, we may not condone the actions of the church-burners, but we understand them, and we stand in solidarity with them.

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Weekly Goddess Inspiration: Glispa

This post was originally published in May 2016 -- but since Glispa is visiting us again via the Oracle this week, it's worth revisiting!

As I've often said before, one of the things I appreciate most about The Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr -- and one of the reasons its a key tool in my practice -- is how multicultural it is. I appreciate the inclusion of indigenous Goddesses from around the world alongside the more familiar European Goddesses. And I also appreciate that these Goddesses are never drawn in a stereotypical or fetishized way, and their stories are treated with the appropriate respect and reverence. I have learned so much about Goddesses from traditions with which I was largely or wholly unfamiliar. And while I realize that the cultures these figures hail from might see them as Goddesses in the same sense of the word that I use, I appreciate that they are included alongside all these other powerful female figures.

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Weekly Goddess Inspiration: Ajysit

Among the Yakut people of Siberia, Ajysit is known as the Comforting Mother Goddess of Childbirth and Fate. It is she who guides children into the world through the process of birth, who comforts and assists with labor and birth, and who writes down the name of each newly born child in her Golden Book of Fate. It is said that calling out to Ajysit helps to ease the pain of labor contractions. She is also said to bless breastmilk so that it will be nourishing to the newly born.

While I have never had children of my own body and do not plan to, I spend a good deal of my time surrounded by midwives, doulas, and other birth professionals. (I joke that I spend a lot of time with a lot of people who spend a lot of time looking at other people's vaginas in a professional context, but I digress.) In working with, worshiping with, and simply knowing and loving people whose primary job it is to support labor and birth, I've come to believe that there are many times in our lives when we need a midwife -- not just when we are birthing a human child. In fact, one of my dear midwife friends calls me a "storycatcher" -- as she said once, "You know how I catch babies? You catch stories. You stay with people while they labor to get their stories out, and make it safe for them to birth them into the world." And so I do my own type of midwifery as a priestess, helping people, especially women, birth themselves into being. 

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