By: Isaac Murdoch
Illustration by: Isaac Murdoch
Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples from around the world have freely roamed, following the natural rhythms of Mother Earths’ cycles. This ability to roam freely helped preserve the diversity of languages and traditional governments, as well as strengthening bloodlines and relations with other tribes.
This was critical for sustainable economies, which every Indigenous person depended on. Trading food sources, medicines, and knowledge was extremely valued and all dependant on the right to free and safe travel. I remember this style of living on the land as a child.
Back in my youth, we lived on the land and were able to exist without the use of a garbage can. There was no such thing as waste, as every part of the animal was used. We were a free people with our own laws and government. We had safe passage throughout the territory, which our sustainable economy depended on. As a result of this freedom, the Canadian and United States government viewed us as the “Indian Problem.”
Because Canada and the USA have already been mapped out with their states and provinces, a series of legislation and policies have been developed. These laws pave a road to make way for a free-for-all in regards to resource extraction. This has been in place, in its entirely, for over a hundred years; leaving many free, roaming Indigenous peoples displaced.
Globally, more land has been stolen and more Indigenous people have been killed by maps than by guns and bombs. Colonization kills.
By forcing people from a sustainable economy on the land, to a consumer-based economy has tragic effects. First off, people are displaced into cities or towns and often find poverty in unjust social and legal conditions. Women and children become targets in cluster housing complexes and the rate of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) becomes rampant. The direct relationship between resource extraction and the high rates of suicide and murders are clear and staggering.
People inherently follow their blood memory; they migrate to find sanction elsewhere when in despair. This is a fundamental reaction to danger. Every species on earth follows this pattern for survival. It’s natural law. However, colonial borders and laws prevent the most vulnerable from accessing that inherent right of freedom.
As Indigenous peoples, we have jurisdiction on who enters our territories. The Treaties gave settlers rights on Indigenous lands, and never once did we surrender our rights to self determination. It’s only assumed by the state that we are inferior and have no legal grip to enforce natural migrations based on agreements amongst tribes that are pre-settler disruption.
Recently, my community of Nimkii Aazhibikoong welcomed migrants stuck at the border to come live in our village. We did this using our self determination and were in our full rights and responsibilities to do so. As part of our support, we launched a campaign called “One Land, One People.” This generated a small but dedicated group of individuals who believe in Indigenous people supporting other Indigenous people. It’s also rooted in prophecy that was birthed in what is now known as South America.
The prophecy is of the Eagle and the Condor coming together as told by Nicolas Pauccar,
Qeros Tribe, Puru.
“Different cultures, and humanity generally, are always in search of the best narrative to live by. Within these different narratives or stories are prophecies that hold these stories together until the prophecy is fulfilled. When a prophecy is fulfilled, there is space for new stories to fulfill other prophecies. If a prophecy is supposed to be fulfilled, but the narrative has not yet fulfilled the prophecy, then these stories continue to repeat themselves. They almost start to create a vacuum where the same things happen over and over. This can construe the time and space in which a prophecy is supposed to be fulfilled. When this happens, the best thing to do is to intentionally conduct rituals and ceremonies to call for space so that the stories can shift and the prophecy may be realized. That way, humanity can follow the timeline it was destined to follow; which was called on by our ancestors.
In essence, that is what is happening with the Prophecy of the Condor and the Eagle. The prophecy existed in both the North and the South and said that if the condor from the south reached the north and flew with the eagle, peace would come, and/or if the eagle reached the south and flew with the condor in the South, peace would also come. This is what we in the North and the South (whether we know it or not) have been trying to fulfill.
When we look at the symbolism of both of these birds, the Condor, who represents the South, is seen as the Mother. Meanwhile, the Eagle, who represents the North, is seen as the father. Symbolically, it is the union of a mother and a father coming together to make “the new child” in a spiritual or meta-physical way. In a biological way, this prophecy is also seen as bringing together both sides of the brain; being able to use both sides together, in balance, so there can be a deeper awareness and understanding of everything around us. It is also seen as the relationship between our physical bodies and the natural elements; which surround us. We’re currently living a reality where the story has become that many of us have disconnected our relationship between our physical body and the elements around us. This prophecy signifies the reconnection of that relationship; which will then create a balance in reciprocity and a sense of reciprocity.
When we migrate, we bring things. We bring our genetic energy, we bring information, we bring awareness…etc. Our role, as biological creatures, has been to pollinate; we are constantly pollinating. That is to say, bringing things from one place to another.
Most important all, migration is happening because people are in search of a better story; a better narrative to live by. However, the story that has been repeating is not the life that was meant for us. The better story is the story that we are going to forge for ourselves when we choose to break that repetition and do something new; something different that is based on what has been taught or told from our ancestors and our old stories. “
In closing, I think that it is very special in this time and history to look beyond borders, beyond political factions, beyond racial divisions and look at the human being. We need to find the good in each other and raise each other up. When we decide to help our relatives, it’s far more powerful than being against colonial structures. There is great medicine in uniting.