Do you identify as “Indigenous” and are struggling to connect to your Indigenous culture? Maybe you live away from your tribal nation, or community?
If this sounds like you or if you’re feeling at all disconnected from your Indigeous heritage, and want to know how you can connect or re-connect with your Indigenous self, then this is for YOU!
Sometimes, you can receive negative backlash from relatives, friends, when you are physically removed or living away from your homelands.
I experienced this personally when I moved away from my First Nation to attend university.
There are a variety of reasons why Indigenous live away from their tribal nation or community, in fact 60% of Indigneous people live in urban areas, not in the rural areas that most native territories reside in.
So you might find yourself in one of two scenarios, either:
- you’ve always lived off native lands, and are trying to connect with your Indigenous self.
- You moved away from home community or First Nation, and you’ve lost touch and want to re-connect with your cultural heritage.
Before we talk get into this though, I want you to feel ok about where you are right now, and understand that its ok to want to stay connected, and even by IDENTIFYING that you are feeling something lacking and want more, that shows strength and courage - so pat on the back for you my friend.
So let’s say you find yourself in scenario #1 and you’ve never lived on homelands, native lands, First Nation Indigenous territorial grounds as they’re referred to post colonization.
You are NOT alone, in fact - you are in the MAJORITY of Indigenous People in today’s day and age who aren’t residing on Tribal communities, and this video is 100% made for you to help you out with either starting to or maintaining connection to your indigenous roots even if you’ve never lived on First Nation reserve.
Now, scenario #2 if you grew up on the rez and moved away - don’t feel shamed or bad about being off territory. You aren’t any less indigenous for living off or away from your tribal people.
Despite our best intentions, moving away is often perceived by Indigenous relatives as a negative choice. This judgment or criticism can make people feel even more isolated than they already do just from leaving home!
When deciding to move away from your reserve, it’s important to remember your “why.” Whatever reason YOU chose to leave is valid. Don’t let others’ criticism get to you.
Please keep in mind that moving away from your reserve does not make you any less Indigenous.
One of the best ways to overcome feelings of loneliness, isolation, or disconnect from your Indigenous roots is to try to BECOME OR connected as much as possible.
Now how do you do that? Well.. we’ve put together 5 ways you can stay or gain connected to your Indigenous roots while living off of your Indigenous or tribal territory.
Let's get into these 5 ways to get connected or connected to your indigenous culture even if you’re away from indigenous territory.
#1 Practice Smudging from Home
Smudging is not only an important Indigenous practice that can make you feel more connected to Indigenous teachings, but it’s ALSO a great way to keep yourself grounded and calm.
Smudging is one of the best ways to focus, relieve anxiety, and attract positive energy. Whatever journey you are on is the right one for YOU and smudging can help you feel reaffirmed in your decision to move away.
Additionally, by smudging you will be participating in something that has been practiced by Indigenous peoples for generations -- so what better way to stay connected to your roots?
#2 Continue to Support Businesses from your Reserve
If you’re feeling disconnected from your reserve, don’t forget that you can continue to engage with your community there. Just because you are living apart does not mean that your relationship with people still living there has to end.
You can continue to support your Indigenous community by purchasing as much as you can from local businesses: art, smudging materials, pottery… and anything else you might need.
Even if you can’t physically visit to shop, so many people have online businesses now that it should be easy to find your favorite artists and entrepreneurs online so that you can continue to give them your business.
This can help you stay connected to your community AND help SUPPORT the community.
#3 Find an Urban Indigenous Support Centre
In some places, there are centres that offer emotional support, financial support, smudging materials, and more to help Indigenous people living off reserve feel like they are part of a community and have access to the resources they need.
For example, there’s a centre in Peterborough called Nogojiwanong Friendship Center that offers community-based programs and services to Indigenous people.
You can often find these kinds of support centres and resources on college and university campuses, as well.
There’s no shame in asking for help. Seeking resources in your community can help you fight isolation and stay connected to your roots by engaging with other community members like you.
#5 Take Indigenous Courses
The final way you might try staying connected to your Indigenous roots from afar is to take Indigenous courses -- either in person or online.
If you take an in person course, it might connect you with people in your nearby community who share the same values and beliefs as you -- AND struggle with the same things you do.
The same is true of an online course, where you can forge connections with people all over the world!
Not only will you be meeting new, like-minded people, but you’ll also be able to engage with familiar and new topics centered around Indigenous teachings and beliefs, which can help you feel more connected.
If you’re not sure where to get started, check out one of the many courses we offer right here at Tribal Trade Co!
For example, our Smudge Circle course offers a comprehensive guide to Indigenous teachings and belief systems that will help you establish habits in your daily routine and guide you on your own personal journey.
Incorporating Indigenous teachings into your daily routine is one of the best ways to stay connected. We are what we practice, so the more you mix Indigenous teachings into your daily life, the more secure you will feel in your Indigenous identity!