The second annual Indigenous Tattoo Gathering in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory took place over the May weekend. Artists and orators gathered to share ideas and culturally specific experiences. As well as their efforts to revitalize some of these ancient techniques before they welcomed the general public.
These events are gaining popularity, but so is the evidence supporting the existence of the ancient practice. Therefore, it’s essential to continue to discover/uncover more about the Authentic History of tattooing within our respective nations.
How Traditional is Tattooing?
Tattooing refers to the permanent insertion of pigments under the skin using tools that can puncture the skin. While there is also skin painting or smearing open wounds intentionally with soot or ash for permanent discolouration, Its not the same.
We must remember that mummified remains are scarce in North America, leaving little to the tangible archeological record. However, studies on materials found in locations like Tsiionhiakwatha have yielded identifiable tools consistent with those only used for tattooing.
Archaeologists found the tools at Tsiionhiakwatha in and around a minimal area within the longhouse suggesting the skills were limited to a single practitioner or a small group.
In addition, the Small area where scientists located the tools indicates the importance of the craft itself and the intimate environment within the clan family.
Symbols and patterns have distinguished Onkwehonwe between clan systems, pottery, clothing and even combs. So naturally, it makes sense that Onkwehonwe would use these symbols or designs for specific purposes, including medicinal practices.
Otzi, the 5,300-year-old iceman found at the Italy-Austria border, provided a splendid view of his 61 separate tattoos primarily placed over classic acupuncture points. Along with natural medicines found near his body, It is highly speculative that Otzi belonged to a society with advanced knowledge of Medicine.
A mummy located in Peru had two distinct types of tattooing ink, suggesting two different purposes, one quite possibly being healing and medicinal ink. In addition, Onkwehonwe used face or body painting for ceremonial or camouflage practices, so It was well within the evolutionary abilities of the inhabitants throughout North & South America to use vegetation-based dyes and pigments for therapeutic tattoos.
While revitalization efforts have been taking place, nuances of the practice such as storytelling are just as important as the piece itself. However, the most interesting is the milestones, or the Messaging carried with the ink and tattoo placement.
Tattoos are a language; it’s a way to communicate,
Identity and kinship are a significant part of many Onkwehonwe cultures, and importantly, many symbols belonged to specific clans or lineages within individual nations. This suggests one could be identified solely by their tattoos!
If you missed the Tyendinaga Tattoo Gathering, You could still catch the 1st annual Kanehsatake tattoo gathering in August.
I was here in 1957, age 6 yrs old; my family and I came as orphans. Life in a residential school was cruel and traumatizing.
Where everyone is sitting today, this is the girl’s play area; we were confined to the border of trees. On the other side of those trees was the orchard.
As much as we played every year, you know you could walk around and play and smell those apples, but you were never allowed to go outside of those boundaries. There was no fence that I can remember. Still, I knew enough that if I were to step into that orchard and take one apple, even if it was an apple, a windfall on the ground, you were punished.
I knew that, but there was just this one really tempting time. It was probably in the fall, which I think because when I walked around, I could just smell the apples. It was so sweet, and I love apples, and it was a temptation.
I was by myself and what I did was, there was this big tree over here. I laid down next to this big tree, and I laid down because I didn’t want to get caught. So I peeked around the tree, looking up onto the veranda up here because that’s where the staff would sit to make sure we would behave ourselves and not cross the line and go into the orchard.
And if you did take an apple, you were a thief and a thief; you were punished, even though it was on the ground. When you look back on it, how that can be such a cruel thing to do to children. When they were hungry, there was a lot of hunger here. Kids had to fend for themselves here, and if that meant going to the dump to get food, then whatever. I’ve heard many stories from these guys, especially from the men, about how they went off and got food and How they supplemented their diet.
Still, there was just this overwhelming sense that it was the sweetness that was just so tempting, and so as I was laying behind this big tree over here, I peaked up here. I didn’t see any staff, so what I did was just belly crawl right across. I knew that I could be seen if there was somebody, so I just crawled through the grass and grabbed an apple, crawled back, and ate it behind that tree, and it was the most delicious apple that you could ever eat.
I was coming out and walked up towards the girl’s side, where I would go into the playroom area. Wouldn’t you know that two staff members came down off the veranda, they confronted me, I mean they saw me, I didn’t think they did, I thought I was doing pretty good crawling through grass actually.
You get a few whacks, BIG DEAL. I did not care how much they punished me; to me, the apple was worth it.
I still don’t understand why they would deprive children of apples or any food lying there; it was what is given to us in nature. What is the Harm? What is the harm in feeding children? But I guess what they were doing was supplementing their budget or whatever. Selling the produce that was here from the gardens and apples.
It was just a cruel time; I just remember how bad the food was, being hungry and just being a little kid, I was strong enough to rebel, and that’s what I did; it was well worth the punishment.
Roberta Hill: Thriver post-Canadian Residential labour camp attendance.
Told on the lawn of The Mohawk Institute where the girl’s playground was on May 24th, 2022
There are only some relationships that fuse perfectly without deliquescing. The mingling of traditional Onkwehonwe cuisine and culture of Art Napolean with Dan Hayes British fare and flair is the foundation of the brilliant television series Moosemeat and Marmalade.
Moosemeat and Marmalade joined Skyler Williams to talk about the current situation and the unrelenting attempts by the developer to criminalize the actual title holders. Highlighting the Failure of Developers to approach the provincial or federal government, who are responsible for the fraudulent land sales.
What Sustains Us
The relationship between Our Sustenance and Our Land is intertwined with the efforts to push back against land sales. The encroachment itself is endangering the ecosystems along the Grand River Watershed, while the current agricultural practices are doing their fair part in the great lakes and their watershed contamination.
Still, It’s not often that a cooking show wants to do a segment at a land reclamation site; all participants acknowledged the concept of landback having everything to do with restoring Onkwehonweneha that undoubtedly requires our land for sustenance.
“I am always impressed with the level of the commitment to maintain; many people show up when the media is there, but who’s there when all of that is gone? It’s those guys.” ~Art Napoleon
In a thick and right proper British accent, Hayes supportively said, “I second what Art says, and it is a big sacrifice.”
On Set Atmosphere
The set was all business, but we know that guests cannot visit our beloved territory without getting pulled into the jokes and tasting our good old-fashioned Sense Of Humour.
Williams, who boasts no claims to his cooking skills but is a natural in front of the camera, said of the experience, “It’s always nice to be around good people doing solid, cool work!”
One crucial yet missing element from the pandemic health teaching was the information on our diets related to our immunity. Although it’s only a part of maintaining optimal health and wellness, It’s Important. As our lives begin to speed up again, now is the time to talk Microgreens.
Microgreens are simply vegetables harvested after growing the seed leaf with one set of true leaves that have developed. The young vegetables pack an incredible nutritional punch as they contain Higher Nutrients than their full-grown counterparts.
We reached out to 613UrbanFarms owner Brandon Bigtree to find out exactly how vital Onkwehonwe gut health is and how adding microgreens can have multisystem benefits.
Bigtree explains that when he considers the benefits of Microgreens, he primarily has positive thoughts about the superfoods. He explains that they are superfoods because of all the compact natural vitamins and nutrients and reduce vegetable consumption fatigue.
In addition to supplying your body with adequate nutrients, the gut-to-good mind connection is well established in scientific circles. Bigtree explains that providing the gut with the optimal amount of vitamins and minerals aids in thinking clearer and assists with overall disposition.
That’s not all; given the prevalence of diabetes within Onkwehonwe communities, it is exciting to know that some microgreens are beneficial in reducing the stress that limits Cellular Glucose Uptake and allowing for optimal cellular absorption.
Scrap the Capsule Convenience
Bigtree is encouraging our community members to forgo the convenience of the capsule vitamins due to the First Pass Metabolism of the liver. He emphasizes providing naturally sourced options instead where there is greater bioavailability of the nutrients.
He suggests starting with the Broccoli Microgreens and slowly adding others to your daily diet. In addition, Brandon provides hands-on consultation to all of our communities with seeds and grow kits packages.
We will be visiting him in Akwesasne soon, so stay tuned!
The grassroots group, “Allies of Onkwehonwe,” collaborates with minds and spirits that seek to raise awareness of environmental and Onkwehonwe issues. The group has members from both Six Nations and surrounding communities.
The event itself raises awareness of the ageing pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge. They have been notorious sources of leaks and significant destructions of the Michigan watershed and giving way to the cause for alarm shown their harmful Track Record.
Line 5 pipeline serves the Canadian markets but takes a shortcut through Michigan. The Canadian multinational company continues to attempt to force their other pipeline, Line 3, through critical drinking water routes.
This isn’t the first time Allies of Onkwehonwe has shown support for MackinawOde. At the same time, they hosted their annual Pipe Out Paddle up Flotilla in the Mackinaw straight; the Allies of Onkwehonwe hosted a similar event along our beloved Grand River with education, speakers, and a silent auction and a donation only lunch.
“This is a great opportunity to solidify a working partnership with other water protectors surrounding the Great Lakes and continue to work in the spirit of the Two Row Wampum. In addition, we hope to gain tremendous first-hand knowledge from these incredible water defenders so that we can support them in their fight against Enbridge and use those lessons to stand against them at home.”
~Allies of Onkwehonwe
Follow their Facebook page @Allies of Onkwehonwe or Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can support this fantastic opportunity.
Is there a point in time when discrimination becomes legal?
The short answer is no, but the extended and more accurate response is, well, that’s where things can become confusing.
Its a phenomenon often found in already marginalized populations where ethnicity and gender play a role in obtaining the sparse services. Changes cause an upset in the balance affecting one part of a marginalized population over another.
When he recently received an eviction notice from Brantford Native Housing, Chris Jonathan found himself in a challenging situation. He reports housing advocates told him that it’s a form of Legal Discrimination.
Jonathan reports that he received an eviction notice with very little time to find adequate housing to meet his needs as a disabled man and his exceptional needs daughter. He adds that the building is being demolished for transitional housing for native women only, leaving him out of being able to return.
Branford Native Housing typically services individuals who require shelter and may not necessarily be able to pay market rent. But unfortunately, it’s a reality for many individuals, especially within marginalized populations.
Even more so now, with skyrocketing prices in Branford for rent and utilities, it leaves many individuals with few options.
The lack of resources provided for Indigenous men isnt specific to Brantford but demonstrates a troubling trend.
After successfully gaining custody of their children, its daunting to know that many communities lack the resources specifically for Onkwehonwe single fathers.
Child Abuse is a genuine issue, and the horrors of some cases are real. However, this Story is about how professionals can manipulate those same systems to cause harm to racialized marginalized communities.
The practice of racial profiling resulting in a misdiagnosis of Child Abuse has had long-term consequences for Onkwehonwe across the Nation.
The manipulation of existing harmful stereotypes like drug or alcohol abuse within indigenous communities resulted in allegations of failed prenatal drug screening tests for one member of our community, who we will refer to as Jennifer.
The allegations proved unfounded through the complaining physician’s prenatal drug screening reports. But unfortunately, the physician’s words carried more weight than the actual results despite cautionary events.
A Pre-existing context.
Jennifer’s most reliable medical history includes an aunt who experienced a high-risk pregnancy that resulted in maternal mortality. The reporting physician in Jennifer’s case coincidently was the most responsible physician in her aunt’s case.
She specifically requested to avoid having him part of her care team based on this previous history. However, he was the only Obgyn available when she delivered her daughter. The delivery was awkward, but there were no complaints, so when she was pregnant with her youngest child, she wasn’t as apprehensive as previously.
The doctor allegedly mentioned tubal ligation; despite the unsolicited advice, a physical exam was the last straw. Jennifer alleges that the doctor harmed her during a prenatal physical examination and this physician ignored her distress.
Her nightmare started here.
Why so late?
Two months later, During an emergency room visit to assess a potential metabolic event, The infant was apprehended by the Children’s Aid Society for reported maternal drug use. Still, CAS should have been contacted immediately and not two months later.
The time it took to respond to the report is questionable, yet it is still the duty to report immediately, especially by medical practitioners. Still, despite the allegations being false, Jennifer faced the stigma and labels, and CAS was just getting started.
Disclaimer: Many valid interventions result in appropriate protective services involvement. This Story isn’t one of them.
A Six Nations mother is warning other parents after a terrifying incident unfolded over the weekend on the territory.
A 17-year-old male from Brantford attended her home while she was out and began to threaten her daughter with a knife; if she didn’t consent to date him. When the other children heard the commotion and went to check on their sibling, the man threatened to slit their throats.
“He let them know that he has killed someone with a baseball bat and had the guy’s ID on him, which he showed them!”
While the mother was contacting the police to report the incident, The police pulled into her laneway in response to a report that they had received regarding this 17-year-old exhibiting concerning behaviour aimed towards her daughter.
He mentioned that he had a “friend on the rez” before fleeing the scene. Although an investigation is now underway, given the nature of the threats; she wants to make sure the community is aware of the potential danger.
While there were no physical injuries, these traumatic events can have devastating consequences on mental health.
Just last week, an event occurred when a community member reported a vicious assault against another young lady within our community and informed via social media of the perpetrator’s presence.
The question here is: How can we stop the Violence Against our Girls?
If you or someone you know requires non-emergency vitcim services please consider the following resources
Mental Health Services 519-445-2143 1745 Chiefswood Road, Ohsweken Six Nations Crisis Line 1-866-445-2204 4:30 pm Monday to Friday 24 hrs Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services 519-445-4324 1781 Chiefswood Road Ohsweken New Directions Group Addiction Counseling 519-445-2947 1769 Chiefswood Road, Ohsweken