Queer brown song, dance & mourning between Turtle Island and Luzon
“Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.”
-Malcolm X, 1963
When I was in Luzon this past year, burning sambong allowed me to connect & celebrate the two sacred lands that have given me life. Sambong is a philippine plant medicine, a cousin of Turtle Island sage.
*Turtle island is the name given by several Indigenous cultures to what Europeans have called “North America” since colonization.
Burning sambong became a ritual that reminded me of my braided creation story, raised by a Turtle Island aunt and Philippine mother that have both given me life. Amongst many other medicinal plant beings that connect Turtle Island to the Philippines, partly as a result of Spanish colonial trade relations, are tobacco and corn, both of which hold their places in the stories of my elders’ childhoods.
The more i reflect on my relationship to these two lands, the more i come to relate to Turtle Island as an aunt who was forced to take me in under conditions of violence & force, and yet still has loved and given so much life to me, and the Philippines as the mother whose many children have left her because colonial pillage has fragmented, objectified, and violated her in ways that make it hard for her take care of many of us.
After spending committed time in solitude with mother earth in my ancestral lands for several months this past year, I came back to Turtle Island with a deeper sense of reverence for this Aunt who has taken so much care of me and enabled my life under conditions of settler colonial violence.
. . . .
You can read the rest here