Wow, where do I begin? This was my first time attending SACNAS and it was lovely. I’m thankful to Ximena Cid, who invited me to come. She organized a session on Indigenous Physicists. Corey Gray, Ximena, and I all gave talks in this session that centered culture and family stories. Corey was part of the discovery of gravitational waves. His mom actually translated the LIGO gravitational wave announcement into the Siksika language. He shared a video of her reading the announcement. Here’s a photo of Corey, Ximena, and I at the SACNAS Pow Wow.
I told folks who attended our session that I would try to put together a few resources here.
If you’re interested in learning more about my tribe, The Chinook Nation, there’s a few resources you can look at. We have an instagram account, @everydaychinook. There is also a new-ish documentary, Promised Land, that follows our fight and the Duwamish Tribe’s fight for federal recognition. An anthropologist, Jon Daehnke, has had a long-term partnership with our tribe that resulted in a 2017 book called Chinook Resilience: Heritage and Cultural Revitalization on the Columbia River. I mentioned how important canoe culture is to our tribe and many Pacific Northwest Tribes. There’s a whole chapter in the book about that. Chapter 5 is titled, “There's no way to overstate how important Tribal Journeys is": The Return of the Canoes and the Decolonization of Heritage. In 2015, we sent a letter a day to President Obama for 80+ days to argue for our federal recognition. In these 80+letters, we share a lot of our history and culture. For instance, below is an excerpt from one letter about a 1999 canoe naming ceremony I was able to attend. I love the meaning behind Skakwal’s name.
Our tribe has just started a renewed push through the court system for federal recognition. We are hopeful about this, but it is a long process. Other northwest tribes have been showing up outside of the Washington State courthouse, standing in support of our cause. You can read more about that here.
In terms of the work I shared on supportive communities, I encourage you to read the blog post below this one. In that post, I share some of the best resources I’ve written with colleagues on these topics.
I raise my hands to Ximena and SACNAS for their hard work in creating supportive spaces for marginalized folks in physics and science more generally.