Twisting Braids: A Wellness Revolution for Black & Indigenous Healing
(You are on Stolen land, built by Stolen People…)
In the realm of wellness and holistic healing, the pervasive influence of white supremacy remains a bitter pill to swallow. On Turtle Island (Canada/USA), Black and Indigenous communities share deeply interlocking histories characterized by centuries of resistance, resilience, and solidarity against oppressive systems. Their intersectional struggle for Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty has emerged as a radical means to dismantle white supremacy within wellness spaces, particularly in practices like yoga. As scholar and activist Angela Davis poignantly stated, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist; we must be anti-racist.” In this blog post, we will explore why the interlocking process of Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty is not only crucial but revolutionary. We will delve into the historical context of solidarity between these two groups, the calculated divisions that sought to undermine them, and the indomitable spirit of Black and Indigenous women, femmes, 2-spirited, and non-binary individuals, who are at the forefront of this radical journey.
The very foundations of so-called “Canada and the USA” were built on Indigenous lands, a testament to the brutal colonization that began centuries ago. For Black communities, the haunting legacy of enslavement in the USA and Canada and the ongoing fight for civil rights continue to shape their reality. Indigenous communities, too, bear the scars of colonization, including the forced erasure of their culture, land dispossession, and enduring systemic oppression.
The history of solidarity between Black and Indigenous communities is a radical testament to their resilience in the face of adversity. As scholar and activist bell hooks reminds us, “Solidarity is not about giving scraps; it is about sharing, and that means sharing everything.”
1. The Underground Railroad: In the 19th century, Black and Indigenous communities collaborated in a radical act of resistance. As historian Howard Zinn puts it, “Indigenous territories offered refuge and protection for escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad.”