In speaking about reunification, one of the greater blessings we have as Indigenous people is the opportunity to speak, write and confirm our oral histories using the knowledge handed down from generation to generation. Our knowledge and mobility allow Indigenous people the opportunity to get together to speak to our current affairs, growth, historical development, and birth and death of loved ones. The impact of our similarities across Indigenous nations and people has always emphasized our relationship among each other; “all my relations” is a term used to include all spiritual beings.
Many examples of reunification, restoration and affirmation were seen during the No DAPL consciousness, including other sacred sites protection advocacy. These efforts go beyond political unity to a place or group or territory because it includes the entire environment and the spirit of all that is living in that place. When Indigenous people come together to pray for the well being of the land and people you will not find division because awareness/consciousness cannot be divided.
The coming together as people is like a coming home, a place where your voice, presence and contributions are not only excepted but are publicly appreciated. It goes beyond countries, states or territories because it is for the whole world to see. Indeed, a reunification on Indigenous terms, is about becoming a single unit and/or one for the benefit of all life.
As you may or may not know, many Indigenous people work toward unification on a daily basis as they address the environmental conflicts and the healing that needs to be acknowledged if we are to survive with the limited resources available for the future. Many efforts are personal and are done individually, some are done in groups and some nation by nation and some, although rare, are done on a larger regional, national or global scope. For example, in Bemidji we will have our first reunification for healing acknowledgement this spring. Nationally many unification efforts are completed on the environmental site that needs protection and then there is the World Peace and Prayer Day that is completed each year. A big focus of these efforts is directed toward people who have been harmed by colonization, isolation and from misgivings by others.
It is the hope that we will see Indigenous people coming together more frequently to outwardly display their support for a better day, tomorrow and future. Reunification is a positive reminder of what Indigenous people already know, the importance of each and everyone of us and how we make the world in which we live complete.
Delgado, (2019), Traditional Enemy Theory: Historically, in the United States, the government has strategically used many colonizing divide and conquer tactics to keep two or more Indigenous nations at odds with each other. Those tactics include written histories, fabricated oral accounts of the same events, treaties, land boundaries, environmental injustices, ignorance and traditional enemy theories among Indigenous Nations insinuating that many Nations are still not at peace with the other. This [false history is the foundation behind the] lack of solidarity that prevents the nations from dispelling the inaccuracies that have corrupted many nations to nation relationships.
Vivian Delgado is a professor of Native American studies at Bemidji State University.