By Carmen Hathaway, Abenaki artist – As Above, So Below
I received an email yesterday, through the Five College Native American listserv, sent out by Professor Lisa Brooks (Chair of the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Program). Included was an invitation to celebrate the work of the graduating seniors in the program. The dissertation work of Malinda Labriola was to be featured: “Living in the Ancient-Present: An exploration and application of Native American creations narratives and oral traditions.”
Living in the Ancient-Present. It stopped me in my tracks and it caught in my throat. It drifted up silently from a familiar place and looked me in the eye. It said nothing, in volumes, over and over again.
This is the place I find myself. This is the place that found me. I had no choice. It was not mine to choose. It was mine to listen…
I am drawn to John Trudell’s posthumous gift Time Dreams:
With ancestor memories
Free without judgment
Answers to questions
Is part of our pulse
Memories in the shapes
We are a part of that
The breath part
Come from the earth
And return to the earth
In the reunion
Our pulse comes from the sky
And returns to the sky.
It is all here. We are a part of it, we are what was and will be. It is a great responsibility, it is an honor and a gift. We are given some understanding, we are told a story. We try to listen closely, and put it in a safe place, to ponder and to safekeep. We learn, we know what is the right thing to do – it has always been this way – we remember. It is good to celebrate the breath, the wind, the spirit. It is all here. We are here. Together, in the Ancient-Present.