Saturday, September 17, 2005


Island Women, remember the day in seventh grade history class when the expatriot teacher gave us a text book that stated that soon after the arrival of Colon in The Bahamas, the Lucayans "became extinct?" I remember. We felt sorry for the extinct Lucayans for a lesson or two. Sometimes we'd feel a little shiver of connection at any brief reference to "them", the poor saps who simply and obediently died out at the behest of King Ferdinand. Then we lived our entire lives ignorant to the fact that the island indians did not "go extinct" at all. They lived on after their governments and temples fell, they were assimilated into the mix, along with the Europpeans and the Africans. They are our ancestors, we are their descendants, WE ARE THE LUCAYANS. I believe that if we did a study and tested the DNA of a cross-section of Bahamians we'd find that the vast majority of us have Amerindian DNA. A university recently conducted a similair investigation in Puerto Rico, and the evidence concluded that about 75 per cent of those tested were found to have Native Blood. We are still here, no history book can tell me otherwise now. Two of my Sacred Grandmothers were hidden from me until yesterday. One is the Lucayan Shaman Priestess, daughter of First Woman, Attabey, who takes the form of the Manittee on certain moons. The other is the Black Madonna of Africa, who is of course Original Mother of all of Human Kind, brought back into my blood by way of a photograph of my Great Grandmother Helen Minns Drudge who was obviously of African descent. Now these Dark Women are returned to me, they are inside me, making a circle with the first of all the Sacred Grandmothers to return to me, the Wild Witch of Ancient Europe, the only Anglo ancestor I will claim, because she and her tribes never waged a war or invaded another country or enslaved or erased another race. The three of them make a circle inside of me, and I am inside the circle they make. I don't need a lab and a DNA test to confirm their presence. They all have always been with me, wanting to empower and comfort me through the terrors of growing up crippled, but they could not. They could not because I did not know they were there, I could not see them. They have been their waiting all these years for the day when I woke up from the death sleep of the handmaids and rejoined them on the Sacred Wheel.Think on how much effort was made to make us forget our ancestries of colour and womanish deities and Earth/and/Sea worshippers. It began with a letter in fiteen hundred and something: Dear King Ferdinand, This is to confirm that the People are extinct, and you now own the land." This was the Evil Spell Spoken to erase us. The spell holds to this day, doing its dangerous work in the books our fourth grader is taught from. He has expressed incredulous amazement to hear that the Native American Indians are not dead either. That they live on today like us, going to work and going to school and going to hell and back like us, today, as we the descendants of the Lucayans also live on. Why is Patriarchy so desperate for us to believe that the Amerindian peoples are all gone or might as well be gone? Obviously there is liberating empowerment in this knowlege. If we knew ourselves, in our true Entirety, we would become compelled to Change Everything. What will happen when we remember who we are? That which needs to happen. A new Spell needs to be spoken, a new letter written, a new proclamation sent to the People of the Bahama Islands: Dear Folks, Remember, We are not dead, We are not gone, We are here, We are here, Let us Remember Ourselves, Let us Return to Ourselves, Amena, Amena, Blessed Be.

1 comment:

Nicolette Bethel said...

No, we are not dead. We are here, we're even visible, in the conch and the basketwork, in the knowing what bush to boil and how to read the water. The Africans and the Europeans didn't bring that knowledge with them. We taught them it.

You go girl.

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