The deepest lesson of all for me in the banner picture of the day before yesterday is this: The banner image was identified this way: “Indigenous Surge: Indian dancers led the way for 10,000 marchers protesting the graves of children found at Canadian residential schools.  Toronto, 6/6/2021”. 

“Indigenous Surge: Indigenous dancers led the way for 10,000 marchers protesting the children’s graves at Canadian residential schools. Toronto, 6/6/2021. Photo by Michael Swan on Flickr.

That the indigenous peoples, often brutalized, their land stolen, treaties broken, their culture and religion ransacked, their children kidnapped and taken away to white schools, did not yield to death.  If anything, they have risen from the dead.  Look at the determined faces—and colors and actions—of these people at prayer: They aren’t disappearing or going anywhere.  They are thanking the Creator still in wonderful and creative and earth-honoring ways.  They incarnate hope in the midst of suffering, life over death.

Isn’t that a wonderful preparation for days of Ramadan, Passover, Easter?

Isn’t that powerful medicine in a time of War and the atrocities of war?

OBLIVION- Choreographed by Maati Kheprimeni | A Black Lives Matter Protest and Dance Tribute. Video by Maati K.

And medicine in a time of Black Lives Matter when efforts at genocide-by-slavery are remembered in order to move beyond? 

I began my Foreword to Donna Schindler’s important book on Flying Horse: Stories of Healing the Soul Wound this way.  

Donna Schindler, in this book, cites a favorite quote of hers that goes like this: ‘No sorrow is too great to endure if a story can be told about it.’…The author says the learning must begin with telling the truth, with telling stories.

“We Are One” A cooperative production by Native-created and led initiative IllumiNative, dedicated to ensure accurate and authentic portrayals of Native communities in pop culture and media. Video by Taboo.

While I was reading this book, I learned that the black liberation theologian James Cone passed away.  This book of stories, this book of testimonies begging for healing, is a witness to what James Cone called the “original sin” of America—namely the racism and genocide which caused the pain and suffering that still echoes in our souls.  White souls and red souls, black souls and brown souls, and all who inhabit this land bear witness to the bloodshed of both the indigenous peoples and the enslaved African peoples.  We all drink it and live with it daily.  What can we do?

Adapted from Matthew Fox, “Foreword,” in D. Schindler, MD, Flying Horse: Stories of Healing the Soul Wound, p. ix.

Also see Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Signers’ hands bless “Uluru: a Call from the Heart,” a 2017 statement by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders calling for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution of Australia. Photo from, the website documenting the initiative. For recent news, click HERE.

Queries for Contemplation

Have you undergone rituals or ceremonies that bring back wholeness and dignity to yourself or others?  Do we underestimate the power of ritual?

Recommended Reading

Flying Horse: Stories of Healing the Soul Wound
By Donna Schindler, MD; Foreword by Matthew Fox

A white psychiatrist shares the truths she has learned about historical trauma in this book which has been called ‘prophetic’ by Reverend Matthew Fox. Starting with her childhood in South Texas and Bermuda, she takes us on a journey during which she had to confront her own racial biases and denial of the truth in order to work as a cross-cultural psychiatrist with a Maori mental health team in New Zealand, the Navajo Nation and California Native Americans.

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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6 thoughts on “The Indigenous Surge”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you ask the following questions in our Queries for Contemplation: “Have you undergone rituals or ceremonies that bring back wholeness and dignity to yourself or others? I have undergone rituals with Starhawk and also with Z. Budapest, I was at the ceremony where Sr. Jose Hobday was pelted with flowers, and I took a class with Luisah Teish where we acted out “The Art of Ancestral Drama.”
    “Do we underestimate the power of ritual?” Yes we do, for rituals are important in marking the changes of our lives. Rites of passage to mark the transition times in our life, and ritual to punctuate our lives in times of need and in responding to God–the Great Spirit.
    Donna Schindler, the author of FLYING HORSE, says “the learning must begin with telling the truth, with telling stories.” I, as you, Matthew agree with this statement. I have a scientist friend who says that anecdotal evidence means nothing, but he clearly is not relating to or seeing the value of these stories ! Sometimes a story is all that we have to go by, that why the Bible is filled with stories !

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    Thank you Matthew, or inviting us into a deeper experience of this potent image conveying the spirit of the people in dance.
    Deep appreciation and gratitude to you Phila for your dedication to offering day after day incredibly relevant, music, videos and images to bring Matthew’s teachings alive for us as only art can. In our conversations you have shared how you receive Matthew’s teachings, personally integrate them and then begin your own Art as Meditation process of sourcing image, sound and movement to illuminate.

    In answer to your query Matthew, I have received the gifts and wisdom over the years from many indigenous teachers whose lineage, ceremony and rituals have not been broken. I was blessed to spend a week in service to The Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers assisting in ceremonies.
    I carry my own Celtic grandmothers’ wisdom in my heart to share with my grandchildren.

    I have trained with Laura Shannon, internationally known retriever and preserver of traditional women’s dances as tools for healing and transformation. Matthew, Laura follows your Daily Meditations and has included a link in her news email today sharing your teachings with our worldwide Sacred/Circle Dance community.

    This weekend I am honored to be in a LOMILOMI WORKSHOP receiving the wisdom of Kahuna and international teacher Harry Uhane Jim, author of Wise Secrets of Aloha: Learn and Live the Sacred Art of Lomilomi
    In this workshop we are entering into the realm of Lomilomi, the traditional Hawaiian Approach to bodywork. Lomilomi holds the premise that body, mind and spirit (trinity) participate in its evolution – healing. The work creates a temple…a sacred space… a connecting space… A safe space place for the body’s consciousness (the emotional body). Lomilomi grants portal to this Process. We are empowered by and centered on authenticity, creating the momentum of ease and grace to navigate healing.
    And we are practicing Ho’oponopono, the ancient tradition of creating balance and harmony in the relationship among your three selves—the union of the evolving selves of your past, present and future–your Identity. Holding the beginning of you and the infinite of you at the same time—the whole of you. While forgiving and reconciliation is a set of skills from ho’oponopono, the vast and timeless expression is to remain in alignment with the agreement humanity committed to at the beginning of time.
    “At that crack of the first dawn in this new universe of Male and Female–spark and space, Ku and Hina—we stood before the creators of this new infinite, and proclaimed “I am IN.” We had all come from other universes for the opportunity of being in a universe where discovery rules and “what if?” motivates. We became a fabric of light, each of us holding a thread of intention and together weaving the story of love prevailing all trauma. We accepted responsibility for our unique capacity to transmute negative energy into positive energy, and we committed to forever learning how to co-create manifesting love from nothingness and space.”
    Ellen Kennedy

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Ellen, It is so good to hear from you and get a glimpse of where you have been and where you are on your spiritual path at this time. May God bless you, Aloha…

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    Matthew, another profound meditation on our past and present history of oppression of Indigenous and Black Peoples (peoples of all colors)… The Eternal Love, Wisdom, Truth, Justice,
    Healing, Strength, Creativity, Beauty, Joy, Oneness… of God’s Spirit is still Alive within and among us, even through the suffering of our ancestors and present sisters and brothers, and gracing us with Faith, Hope, and Divine Love in the ongoing co-Creation/Evolution of our eternal souls with-in the Cosmos….

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    As a resident of the state of Florida, I am in the midst of what Matthew is describing as backlash, with the most repressive series of bills from last year and this year, which are designed to muzzle teachers against discussing race or LGBQT+ issues on pain of being sued, to limit voting, to damage the environment even further despite the dying off of manatees, to banning certain books, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum. Some of the most excessive bills were deliberately crafted for shock value and national and even international attention–strictly for political gain. This is part of the dark wave.

    Ironically, the indigenous people known as the Seminoles are currently quite wealthy from gaming (at least some of them are). Historically, they were never really conquered in the three Seminole wars, but they were certainly treated as badly as other indigenous groups. There is no plan to make the Florida State University remove their name from its sports teams because it is a proud brand for them and for their namesakes.

    Ritual is absolutely essential. Look at the rituals just involved with sports–tailgate parties, dressing a certain way, face painting, chanting. If only we could turn this need for ritual to more productive ways to work for peace and justice. The local football stadium, which is being refurbished with taxpayer money not the Boosters’ money, by the way, is like a huge cathedral where devoted worship occurs each game day. I have often thought that even a tenth of the money that goes into the place would alleviate a lot of the social problems such as truly massive homelessness, affordable housing, crime, etc., in this capital city of the state of Florida.

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