By: Joannie Romero
Before we become absorbed in the consumerism of the month of February and Valentine’s day, we must take a moment to reflect on love, kinship, and strength. Our connections to people through blood ties or clanship are the result of highly complex traditional knowledge systems, dating back to time immemorial. These belief systems on our relations are something that cannot be captured by definition or through conventional mainstream American norms on how family structures are composed.
The truth of the matter is that so much strength resides in traditional Indigenous knowledge and connections to all our relations. In Pueblo society, we gain new relatives, not only through baptism or marriage but also through ceremony, birth, as well as loss. These traditional teachings tell us that there is an interconnectedness of the sharing of our core values and through the coming together in times of need. It is about the journey. Take, for example, ceremony. Ceremony is not just being a participant, or gaining notoriety, it is about being completely engaged through the mind, body, and soul. It is an honoring of precious connections and an exercise of core values through sharing about the web of life.
We aren’t the owners of knowledge, we’re caretakers of it and our responsibility to our relations is to embrace one another. Our ancestors fought to protect our lands and way of life. We must be mindful of how we treat one another through honoring one another. Furthermore, the way in which we honor and treat ourselves sets the standards for how we honor and treat others. So, in observance of love-declaring holidays, let us reclaim this as an opportunity to celebrate our relations, through love and strength and through the hope that our cultures, languages, and teachings about core values are continuously nurtured and perpetuated during our time on this path called life.