In the Anishinaabeg tradition, the heart is an important repository of knowledge. Actually, in many ways the heart is a stronger and more intuitive repository of knowledge than the mind is. After all, in terms of our intrauterine development, we are a heart first and it is what we hear first.
The heart holds the capacity to challenge how we think and understand time. It is able to collapse time, even intergenerationally passed time, into one single moment. Sometimes when we think back to a past time, we feel the same as we felt back then. In this way the heart evaporates and transcends time. This is the intellectual stamina of heart knowledge we need to respect.
I have encountered people who are spiritually disenfranchised because of the politics of Indigenous identity, the sex-discrimination in the Indian Act, and the residential school system. Many are also experiencing the harm of drug and alcohol addiction in their families, issues of homelessness, the awful matter of missing and murdered Indigenous women, and then there is the contemporary land claims and self-government process ─ a process designed to continue the colonial agenda that sets up Indigenous people to fight for mere crumbs amongst ourselves.
When I listen to Indigenous people talk about the heart knowledge that they hold from their experiences, and reflect about what they are saying, I have come to realize that people have their own relationship with their heart knowledge. I have learned that within a group of people there are different relationships with heart knowledge. While some people rely on the explanation “I walked through the pain”; others say “I put it behind me”; furthermore, other people offer “I walk with my heart knowledge every day”, in this way it remains with them in all they do. This is why I like to encourage people to mindfully reflect on their relationship with their heart knowledge as this will lead the way to mino-pimadiziwin.
Thus far Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development Canada has squandered $750,000 defending their position on the matter of unknown/unstated paternity and the Indian Act that denies children Indian status registration when their father’s signature is not on their birth certificate. This practice/policy applies in situations of sexual violence such as rape, incest, and sexual slavery.
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