Nampeyo, photographed by Edward Curtis (left) and by John Graybill for The Descendants Project (right)
Descendants photo © Curtis Legacy Foundation 2022
Recently, we had a chance to spend time with CLF descendant participant Grandmother Mona Polacca, Hopi-Tewa, near Sedona, Arizona where she led a Circle of Sacred Sisterhood.
Throughout her life, Mona has shown reverence for her family, her Indigenous ancestry, the Indigenous population, the human population, her role as a social worker, and her current passion–protecting the environment that we all collectively share–earth, water, and air.
We are grateful for her wisdom shared in the passage below:
“One message I'd like to share about Native Americans is our relationship with home. Indigenous people are the people who have never left the place of their origins. We can go to a place and say: that's where my ancestors are or that's where we say we come from. That's where I can go and I can see the sacred waters that are in our oral history. That is the sacred mountain where I know the sacred medicine that we use grows. That is the place where my family tree is, right there on the earth. I can see it.
So, that is of value to us. When we speak on behalf of the land and the water and the air, that's where we come from. And that is our foundation that we must remain connected to ... We haven't left; we're not leaving. And we believe in this responsibility: to pass on our home to our future generations that are yet to come, the ones we will not see. That's what our ancestors did for us. And so, it's incumbent upon us to continue that. And sharing these words with you is to hopefully awaken that concept and to acknowledge your own ancestry and your own generations that are yet to come, the ones you will not see.”