Tansi, Hello! First off, I want to say thank you, hiy hiy, for all the support in my first ever blog post titled “Reclaiming Our Roots”. If you haven’t read it yet you can hop over to read it here. It has given me the inspiration to continue to use my voice. My name is Shayla Stonechild, I am a TV Host, Wellness Advocate, Founder of the “Matriarch Movement” and an activist for spiritual revolution. I am from Muscowpetung, First Nations, Treaty 4 territory – however, I currently reside on the unceded Coast Salish territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people (Vancouver, BC). I invite you to take a moment – and acknowledge the traditional territory of where you currently reside AND are from. You can find out which traditional territory you are on here.
We talk about food sovereignty, land sovereignty but it all starts with our own energetic sovereignty. We cannot liberate one another until we first liberate ourselves. Reclaiming your roots requires reclaiming your own energetic sovereignty. Who are you when no one is looking? How do you feel when you are no longer re-living the past or worrying about the future? When your mind is no longer preoccupied by thoughts, but instead you come into the awareness behind your thoughts. The space in between past and future – the present.
Reclaiming your roots requires uncovering the history and role that your ancestors have played within this cycle of life. Ask yourself the ways in which you may have benefited from the system? Ask yourself the ways in which you may have benefited just by the color of your skin? The past is a building block for the future, if you do not acknowledge the foundation – your future will be built on sand. Reflect and explore what the words “white privilege”, “white supremacy”, “racism” and “genocide” feel towards you? Does it stop at your own emotions? Emotion is information. It gives us a sign that if something does not feel aligned – we have more work to do.
If you’re living from a state of privilege – how can you amplify BIPOC voices and make sure that they have a seat at the table? I invite you to hire a diversity and inclusion consultant that is from the BIPOC community within your business and/or organization. We need the voices that have been oppressed for years to finally be heard – the voices that have gone through the lived experience. Progress won’t happen unless we actively come together to dismantle the systems of oppression. It’s taken years to get here, it will take years to move forward to make systematic change. However, we need to not look at this movement as a fad, but a stepping stone into creating a holistic, sustainable future for all. We need to not only talk about it – but have the actions to back it up within our networks, workplaces, policies and government – and we need to keep repeating those actions. On a daily basis.
The way you dismantle it may be different than someone else’s – however, if it’s coming from a place of authenticity, a will and a drive to create a more equitable future for all, you will know it within your heart. You won’t need the validation of being labelled as an ‘ally’. If it’s coming from a place of performative activism, it won’t be authentic and the results will be short lived. If it’s coming from a place of compassion and understanding you will feel it energetically. Remember, compassion can also be an act of resistance. If you are in a state of privilege, I invite you to listen. Listen to the BIPOC voices that have been silenced. Put your ego aside and find the need to not always have to be ‘right’. Amplify BIPOC voices through your platforms, your networks and donate to organizations that are doing the good work. If you’re a POC I invite you to rest, reflect – and then if it feels aligned – find the ways you can support in creating a more sustainable future for us.
It starts with your own liberation and then the collective’s. Each of you has a role to play, each of you has a voice – the way you choose to use it may look different but if it’s coming for a place of authenticity it will always be heard, seen and valued. You have the ability to affect at least one person – whether that be from a state of privilege or oppression. Start today. Even if it feels uncomfortable – that’s how we expand first within ourselves, then within our support system, then within the community and then globally. You have the ability to affect just one person, to cast a stone and create a ripple effect throughout humanity. Start now.
If you are wondering how you can start your own work I have put together some helpful resources for you below!
Personal Work You Can Do
1. Identity and learn the territory you’re on and the proper language to pronounce it.
2. Link to find out which traditional territory you are on here.
3. Self identify your own lineage and where your grandparents came from, their parents, etc. Acknowledge the lineage of your own ancestry.
4. If you’re holding an event, invite (and pay) a knowledge keeper and/or elder and respect the protocols of working with one another. Be open to facilitating in a new format.
Anti-Racism Training, Online Workshops and Seminars from BIPOC
I’ve recently partnered with “The Boys Club Fitness” to offer anti-racism and inclusivity training and workshops within the fitness/wellness industry.
Supports the creation of diverse visual representation, starting conversations, bringing awareness to existing spaces, and creates spaces. We are a platform for marginalized folx to share their experiences, needs and concerns. To be heard, seen and supported. There is still work to be done within the mainstream fitness and wellness industry. There is a lack of diversity, awareness, visibility and conversation surrounding marginalized folx needs, concerns and experiences.
Our services and supports seek to serve people who face disproportionate barriers in all walks of life by uplifting their visions, voices and contract services; and by building the capacity of non-profit, private and public organizations to engage with diverse people in meaningful and appropriate ways.
Invest in Consulting Services from BIPOC
Hire a diversity and inclusion consultant that is a person of colour. Also, don’t hire them just because you were told to – actually listen and be open to doing the work within your company and shifting the current narrative. Realize that the learning process will involve uncomfortability and you won’t always get things ‘right’ – however, that’s how we expand. So that we don’t have to keep re-wounding one another. Be open to taking accountability, listening, learning and unlearning.
All the things we do is in service of our mission – to catalyze social change to transform colonial narratives & impacts led by Indigenous ways of being.
believes in utilizing principles of indigenous design methodologies to combine qualitative and quantitative data with oral history and indigenous law to develop meaningful action plans to further reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada and internationally.
Listen to BIPOC Voices
Watch “Decolonization is For Everyone” Ted Talk by Nikki Sanchez
“Me and White Supremacy” By Layla F Saad
“A Mind Spread Out On the Ground” by Alicia Elliot
“How to Be An Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendo
Some of the other areas you can start to work on is by decolonizing your Instagram feed, your podcast playlist, and purchasing from authentic Indigenous brands!