“Keeping Home Close On Indigenous People’s Day” by Arianna Nason

Arianna Nason is an Anishinaabe citizen of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and is the Tribal Organizer for the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. In her blog below, she shares how she recognizes Indigenous People’s Day as a celebration of home, community, and a brighter future ahead.

Home. Home has a different meaning to different people. Some people find a location home, others find in in a structure, many find it in people. On this day, it is important to recognize that it is Indigenous People’s Day, and we must honor that we are on land that always has and will always be home to Indigenous people.

IMG_1839I find home in water. I find home in community. I find home in the woods that raised me, and every day I work to ensure that my community and I will be able to call this home for generations to come. The work we do can be overwhelming, but I find strength and peace knowing that we have existed here for over 500 generations – before first contact with a man falsely credited for “discovering” America – and we will continue to claim this land as our home.

As I was writing this blog today, I thought about the different routes I could take. I thought about giving a history of Indigenous people in Minnesota, and considered laying out various treaties and laws that attempted to redefine borders and a sense of home for Indigenous people. Instead, I want to celebrate. We are a people that have celebrated through over 500 years of resistance and millennia on millennia of existence.

I imagine the life my ancestors had. During this season, they would be finishing up collecting wild rice and IMG_1987preparing it for eating and storage, days spent on the lakes in our long canoes, sharing time by the fire while the rice goes through the wood parching process. We would be moving through this life and this process in a ceremonial way, as we did many things in such a way. The fact that these traditions around house and home are still strong, generations upon generations later, speaks largely to how deep our roots in this land go.

So today, I will celebrate. I will be in community at the Minneapolis American Indian Center for their celebrations and round dance. I will make a large meal of traditional foods at home for me and my chosen family. I will cozy up in my wool blanket that was gifted to me by my mother when I graduated from college, a proud accomplishment that shouldn’t feel as unachievable as it does. I will laugh. I will find joy in the beautiful multitudes of my community. I will continue to envision and live towards another path of brilliant thriving in our world.

*First photo – This is an area that always felt like it held me. If I needed a space to get some perspective on be world, I would head to Enger Tower and hike around.

*Second photo – This is my Nokomis, my grandmother. She provides to this day many homes for many people in a multitude of ways.  I celebrate today for her. Happy Indigenous People’s Day, Gram.