I love to write.
For as long as I can remember I have used writing as a tool to process and share my thoughts with myself and others. If you were to interact with me, it wouldn't take long for you to notice that I am generally a shy and quiet person. I'm somewhat introverted, I suppose. Yet despite my introverted nature, I have come to find my voice and make my sound through public speaking (weird, yeah I KNOW), the essays that I write, and the songs I write and sing.
Madwewechige is a word in Anishinaabemowin that translates to 'making sound' or to 'make sound'. When reflecting on this word and the meaning it carries, I think about how there are many different interpretations of what 'making sound' looks, feels, or literally 'sounds' like. From what I understand and from within my own context, I interpret making sound as singing or making music. I also see making sound as sounding my voice - whether that be through speaking truthfully, speaking with kindness, or challenging and disrupting 'the status quo'.
Sometimes making sound isn’t serious. Sometimes making sound is laughing, giving someone a compliment, telling someone "I love you" or confiding in someone you trust.
Sometimes in order to make sound we are required to be brave - to be courageous.
As someone who has been dismissed and told that my opinions and thoughts as an indigenous woman didn't matter or were irrelevant, I've come to realize quite the opposite. My thoughts and opinions matter. Our thoughts and opinions matter.
From what I have witnessed and experienced, there are many indigenous people who have been taught to believe that our ways of thinking, knowing and doing are substandard than that of mainstream, Western ways (of course we know, or at least I hope that we know, that this isn't true).
I also think that many of us have forgotten how to speak from a place of love and kindness. Whether it be towards ourselves, our family members, our partners, children, or plant and animal relatives. We commit violence against ourselves and each other daily - it isn't natural or healthy. As indigenous women, the sound we make has sometimes been ignored or has not been taking seriously as much as it should have. The sounds of queer indigenous folks have been ignored, if not completely erased, from the conversation. Indigenous men's experiences have often been the centre of the conversation, and yet there is still a need to properly assess and locate why many indigenous men adopt rigid colonial and/or hyper-masculinities.
Yet today, I am witnessing more of our people acting and speaking from a place of courage. More people are using their voices for the betterment of our societies - whether that be through speaking our languages more often or speaking up against colonialism, racism, sexism or homophobia.
Thus, making sound is not always literal.
I am willing to speak. Most importantly, I am willing to listen.
Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks,