Reconnecting the Body: More Indigenous Diasporic Unity

Special thanks Cedric Muhammad and the staff of Black Electorate.com for posting this article. More efforts and activity in the struggle to unift the population of the ORIGINAL NATION here in the wilderness of North America.

The Gathering of Nations Festival

By Yo'Nas Da Lonewolf-Muhammad

Mitake Oyasin-We are all related

Greetings Relatives,
In the words of my Uncle Chief Ernie Longwalker, "Let the ceremonies begin!" The 24th Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow and Festival was held April 26-28 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Last year was my first year, and I was amazed and joyful to be around so much culture, especially seeing over 100,000 Indigenous Brothers and Sisters at one gathering. So, this year, I could not experience this event alone. With the assistance of Native American rap artist Litefoot and Navajo Nation’s Ervin Keeswood, we made sure that the presence of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and the Millions More Movement (MMM) was there. I was a part of a delegation that consisted of Minister Ishmael Muhammad, the National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan; Nation of Islam Chief-of-Staff Leonard F. Muhammad, NOI Southwest Regional Representative Minister Robert Muhammad, as well as several Brothers from the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.).

I was very nervous, because I wanted to make sure Min. Ishmael was comfortable and that all the logistics were in place for him to speak during the 2nd Grand Entry on Saturday-the largest kickoff for the weekend’s numerous festivities.

When they arrived, you should have seen the look on everyone’s face. From our delegation and from the participants in the pow wow. I know our delegation must have been thinking, "Wow, look at how many Natives are here, at one place. Look at all the regalia, jewelry, food, etc." and I know the Natives must have been thinking, "Wow, look at how many Black Brothers are here, and they are dressed in suits and bowties," (smile). A few Natives came up to us and wanted to know who we were. Believe me; I just was in amazement at the relationship bonding that was happening.

The night before, Sis. Bahati of Albuquerque, Bro. Leonard and I went to the Miss Indian World Pageant. This pageant is for young Native women to present their traditions from storytelling, dance, song, and various ways of life from their tribe. One participant, Tai Simpson, who is half-Nez Pierce and a former Miss Black Idaho, won the 1st Runner Up position and for Best Public Speaking. Most of the girls represented their own tribe as well as another tribe, and it was a beautiful experience to see so much pride in the richness of being Indigenous. The criteria to participate is that a woman must be between the ages of 18-25, have no children, have tribal membership and be very well educated in the traditions of their tribe.

During the 2nd Grand Entry, the music stopped, the lights were cut off, and then the spotlight hit Min. Ishmael, who addressed over 100,000 people in attendance, plus all of the dancers in the middle of the arena. He did an excellent job and in response to every word he spoke, the people cheered and made "war calls," etc. Upon leaving the arena, numerous people came up to Min. Ishmael in order to take pictures and embrace him with love. It was a historic event for a Black organization to be invited to the Gathering of Nations, which is organized by its founders, Derek, Dr. Lita and Melanie Mathews. It is a family business, and family united we felt.

Before we left, I wanted to show our delegation where Native music is going, by watching rap artist Litefoot perform. An actor in Indian in the Cupboard, Mortal Kombat and numerous other films, Litefoot has also recorded over 10 albums. Last year, he completed a tour called, "Reach the Rez," where he visited over 211 Native communities promoting non-violence, empowerment, justice and unity through his words and music.

Litefoot and I have been close friends for over 10 years; my mother, Wauneta, use to work with him on various events she use to have, and to see him and his family come together and work on the empowerment for Native youth is wonderful. He is the first Native rapper to be signed to a major label-Roc-A-Fella-with his label Red Vinyl Records.

Min. Robert bought his mix tape and the whole time, Litefoot was performing, he was yelling, "Teach, Brother, teach!!" So, you can only imagine the positivity in his music. By the grace of God, we will have Litefoot on an upcoming webcast.

The Gathering of Nations was a delightful and enjoyable event. We must come to events like this to show that Indigenous people and Black people are One Family. We deal with the same enemy and the same struggle. Even though Native and Black people come in various shades and colors, we are one. The Indigenous Nations Alliance-Millions More Movement is moving forward and not looking back.

Mitake Oyasin-All My Relations

(YoNasDa LoneWolf McCall-Muhammad is the National Director for the Indigenous Nations Alliance-Millions More Movement and is now working to develop chapters throughout the country. If you would like to assist in this Movement, please email yonasda@gmail.com.)

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