Posted by on Mar 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Deconstructing the Indigenous Ego… (With a smile)

By: Colby Tootoosis

Deconstructing identity has always been highlighted when contemplating processes of decolonization.  Everything from revitalizing languages, to determining which word is appropriate when describing nations, has been argued.  In fact, the renowned website Last Real Indians most likely has triggered the critical minds of many.  “I’m not Indian because I’m not from India,” is often the classic response when Indian is used as a description of the indigenous people of the Americas.  This argument is irrelevant– especially when the spirit of our own tongue is awakened.  (I’ve been to India and have an east Indian family who have adopted me… Indian way, and I have a deep respect for their homeland.)  Decolonization is vital for the liberation of nations.  If decolonization is a goal, what does the end result look like? What’s beyond it? What’s on the other side of decolonization and do all nations envision the same thing?  What if our nations were already liberated, already free and already sovereign?  Clear perception is important regardless of our international outcomes.

Indigenous consciousness is unbound and limitless.  What has been averting the evolution of Indigenous nations has not entirely been the process of ‘colonization’– rather, the collapsing of Indigenous consciousness into the ego.  The ego of a human being can be described as the false identity and limited perception of the self.  It creates the illusion of disconnection.  The fallacy has been “we need to establish our identity.”  Indigenous consciousness has always known its identity.  Its identity is truth, the infinite potential.  Indigenous ego is an identity that attempts to prove to itself that it is worthy in a colonial world.

The sovereignty of the nation is reflected in the sovereignty of the individual.  The reality is, whether people are aware of it or not, Indian nations through out the “Americas” are autonomous in all levels.  We are our own nations, we are our own people.  We fight for this truth and many have died for this truth.  Sadly, many non-Indigenous people and governments fail to believe this truth.  What is most sinister is some our own people have given up on this reality, and have conformed to the concepts of western ideologies and values.  The question is, what manifests these opposing circumferences into our existence?  The worst thing that can happen to an oppressed nation is that nation becoming comfortable with oppression and accepting it as normality; a symptom of such dysfunction is the people conforming to the system of the oppressor.  To transmute this cycle, we need to be open and willing let go of any limiting perceptions that may be blocking our potential.

What if the concept of decolonization is nothing more than an idea that veils the truth of indigenous existence?  Indigenous evolution has been limited by unsupporting beliefs and perceptions.  The laws of our inherit rights live within us and alongside the divine sovereignty that exists in every breath.  Never in all of our history have the qualities of Creator that rest within us been in such high demand.  To awaken this sovereignty that is dormant, our Nations need healing.  Not because we are imperfect or damaged, but because there is an invitation to evolve and grow.  The idea of decolonization has somewhat created a pattern of behavior that includes blaming colonization, and has manifested lifestyles of victimization.  Evolution is about awakening the truth of what has always existed in who we are in consciousness as Indigenous people.  To open up to this experience involves deconstructing the patterns of identifying ourselves as what happened to us.  We have hung onto our stories of trauma, and have begun to rest on the laurels of our accomplishments.  As a result, internal conflict becomes manifest within our families, communities, and within ourselves.  The Indigenous ego caters to itself.

When story and ego leads, a collapsing of indigenous euphoria into the illusion of separatism occurs and dilutes authentic sovereignty.  As ego latches onto stories of trauma, we victimize ourselves and give away our divine right to sovereignty.  How can I be free and independent if I am a victim?  The invitation is to forgive and let go of our traumatic stories with the intention of revealing the highest quality of human being.  When we rest on the laurels of our accomplishments, limiting forms of pride and identity are generated.  The stoic Indian image and attitude becomes a thick cocoon of limitation and comfort.  How can I focus on the truth of potential in this moment if I continue to hang on to what I’ve accomplished in the past?  Hanging onto past accomplishments takes away the epic qualities of potential in the current moment.  We are not our stories whether they are traumatic or triumphant or both.  The misidentification with story contributes to the identity of the indigenous ego and feeds the misleading games of decolonization.

Proving the concept of “identity” to external entities is nothing more then a confirmation of the Indigenous Ego.  Standing in the truth of Indigenous existence has nothing to do with identity– rather, the direct experience of being; hence, why many Indigenous languages are verb based.  Language is not identity.  Rather it is an expression of Indigenous truth rooted in consciousness and every word is a seed to that consciousness.  In this reality, what is revealed is the notion of nothing to defend.  Rather, a simple state of being in the heart of existence.

The sovereignty of our nations cannot be granted by anything outside ourselves.  It is storyless, unbound, and it has always been available to us.  Once realized it can be expressed from the individual level to the political nationhood level– both levels of sovereignty go hand in hand.  If I am to open into my divine right to be sovereign, I have to be willing to take 100% responsibility of myself.  That includes the thoughts and emotions I experience along with my choices.  With this awareness as a driving force, I can tackle the cycles and patterns in my life that are withholding me from realizing purpose and authenticity.

Living Consciously Indigenous

The indigenous ego will not go away and it’s not about making our egos an evil aspect of our existence, or to evoke self-pity or anger towards others and ourselves.  The intention is to create some awareness on specific behaviors that limit the full truth of nationhood from being realized.  Here are some suggestions, options, and questions to assist in opening perceptions to live consciously with the Indigenous ego; particularly in service to strengthen indigenous nationhood and awaken our rightful place within our sovereignty.

~ Always remember your nation/life/family is on the path to liberation whether there is awareness about it or not.  It’s inevitable.  It will happen either through choice or death.  Everyone can contribute to strengthening nationhood regardless of history and lifestyle.

~ Realize Indigenous consciousness is beyond being a survivor, a victim, its beyond indigenous, it’s pure consciousness.  It is unlabeled and fresh in every moment.  The consciousness of your nations 10,000 years ago is no different then the consciousness of your nation today.  What if you perceived your people as such regardless of family, clan, history, and current lifestyle?

~ Nations need authentic connections between loves ones.  There’s no point in holding friends and family to their mistakes.  Always allow room for growth and change.  How can authentic communication and connection occur if we continue to perceive loved ones as our labels and judgments?

~ Realize that authentic love and belonging will be not be achieved by anything outside yourself.  Never let the quality of your external world determine the quality of your internal world.  Forgiveness and letting go strengthens and protects the sacredness of Indigenous leadership.  Anyone who questions forgiveness avoids it, or even argues against it has never experienced the liberation and empowerment it offers.  We don’t forgive to strengthen the enemy, or to empower others.  We forgive so we can reawaken our life force.

~ Live Indigenously; i.e., attempting to live in “two worlds,” will only compliment the ego.  Why would you want a “western ego” next to your “Indigenous ego?”  It’s not about killing the indigenous ego, it’s about living consciously and being aware of its existence.  The only people in the world who live in multiple worlds are those with mental disorders.  Keep it real.  Live Indigenously.

~ What if what native scholars have academically configured in terms of indigenous identity is no different then a manufactured identity?  If people only conform to what intellectuals have conjured up in midst of post-colonial chaos, it leaves little room for self-realization.  Question every idea of identity until there is nothing left and nothing remains- only consciousness.  Pure consciousness is the universal dance with itself; but even the idea of that can all but be entertaining with the truth.

~ Letting go of beliefs is allowing direct experience.  The moment one proclaims expertise in any doctrine shuts down the potential in existence.  The most limiting belief that is infecting our nations is the belief of, “I don’t have any issues, or I’ve done all my healing work and I am finished my healing journey.”  Everyone has issues.  Wellness, healing, and evolving, as a human being, is an on-going process.  The moments when I feel I don’t need to work on myself are usually the moments when I really do need to work on myself.

Ego creates the illusion of disconnection.  It is insidious.  It’s sneaky as it squirms into every crevice to hide its existence.  If there is passion to serve and be part of the liberation of indigenous people, I must be aware of how ego has manifested within indigenous perceptions.  Consciousness and the ego are not the same.  People live their whole lives not realizing their relationship with consciousness, while being a slave to their own ego and feeding into the illusion of misidentification.  An indigenous ego is a defense mechanism that has been manifested as a counter-attack toward colonial oppression.  The misconstruction has been in attempting to prove evidence of identity to external entities to strengthen sovereign nationhood.  Indigenous consciousness has always known its identity.  Its identity is truth and infinite potential. It is the unknown stillness that exists in the presence of nothing.  Consciousness is unbound, free and unlimited.  We are indigenous.  We are consciousness, and we are sovereign.  With this awareness it’s not important on who’s leading within our nations– but what is leading.