Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great post on Linda Hogan's talk at Stanford by Barb and Oscar re privileging the indigenous in the modern world. So much to say about this theme but not now. But notice the serendipity of this Hogan event with our very own Grace Nono events in the Bay Area --she who brings the sacred chants of our indigenous babaylans to us (in the diaspora) with permission from her teachers. The chants carry with them a sacred world view in much the same way that Hogan's works bring this world back to us for re-claiming and re-membering.

When Grace asked me to "moderate" her performance at Kularts (and in Vallejo this weekend), I knew what she meant: to create a context, a tone of reverence, a sacred container for these chants, to bracket this space for several hours and invite the spirits to be with us. Indeed that is what happened. The initial silence afterwards was holy and then one by one, and timidly at first, the audience spoke:

I've been feeling so lost and I came here tonite to feel my community. Thank you for being here.

I sometimes attend Orthodox liturgy and tonite this feels like liturgy to me...it is beautiful and holy.

I am not Filipino and I don't understand the language of the chants, but my body responded to these chants.

And then someone offered a dance; another - a challenging question: what is our community's relationship to the native peoples of this land?

Another: how do we begin to reclaim our indigeneity given the thick layer of our colonized/modernized consciousness and history? and so on...

To all these questions, Grace gently offered: there is a way. but when it comes whispering to you, you must obey.

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