Dominique Daye Hunter
Wä’kasï’k. Gutskai. Nïska’. Girl. Boy. Child. Within the child is the root of us all. They are the seeds and essence of all our ancestors. A culmination of a thousand generations. In one tiny body, with spirits as large as life. Nïska’ are life. They are our future. They both learn and teach us so many things. They teach us about laughter, curiosity, creativity, and love. They also show us the terrifying and beautiful reality of what it is like for your heart to walk around outside your body. When babies are in their na’s, mother’s, womb they float still surrounded and enveloped by the spirit world. Their presence allows their mother for ten moons to be half in the spirit and half in this world.
Children were created to heal. Children help us understand ourselves. If we allow them to, they help us to be our best selves. They are motivators and agitators. They cultivate understanding and destroy stereotypes and assumptions. They make huge messes, and they make everything fit together just right. They are chaos and the greatest joy. They are fire and rain. They are us. Perfectly imperfect.
Nïska’ are born knowing they are not “good” or “bad,” they either choose good or bad. This is how they learn. For, Indian people, for Indigenous people, the adults’ role, whether parents, grandparent, auntie, cousin, and all community members, is to guide children. To lead by example. Children learn how to treat others the way we treat each other. And we can learn from them as well. Adults also guide children. They teach them and show them that and how their behavior affects others.
They say to live honestly, live from your heart. From your inner child. I think this is why children enjoy being around me, and I them. My mom always chuckles and says “Kids follow you around like little ducklings.” It saddens me to know that there are so many people who abuse children now-a-days. I too was abused and neglected as a child. I see myself as a protector and guide of children. Of themselves and their spirits. I feel that I am able to be truly happy because I did not let go of my inner child, though some days are grayer than others. But hená, my mom always taught me, “If there were never any gray days, how would we appreciate the sunshine?” So let’s appreciate, care for, and protect the Sunshines in our lives. The Seedlings. After all, we all need the earth, the rain, the storms and the sun to grow.
Dominique (Saponi/African/Irish/Polish descent) is the co-founder of Indigenous Womxn In Solidarity Empowered and Rising and owner of Est. Time Immemorial Clothing.
Dominique is also a poet/spoken word artist, short story writer, and aspiring recreational therapist. She is currently working on her B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership Management with an emphasis in American Indian Studies, and lives in Phoenix, AZ.