I first heard the teaching of the Kaswentha (Two Row Wampum Belt) at a longhouse reading of The Great Law of Peace by renowned elder Jake Thomas when I was 13 years old. Even then, I found great comfort in this teaching, as I was learning how to navigate life in two worlds. My mere presence at that reading was a teaching and only a taste of what lay ahead for me.
What is the Tow Row Wampum Belt? (from akwesasne.ca)
“The Haudenosaunee are comprised of six nations of people who practice very sophisticated yet simple diplomatic principles in their dealings with other Nations. Those principles are conveyed and reiterated through Wampum Belts.
The Kaswentha (The Two Row) is a sacred Wampum Belt that is the basis of agreements between Haudenosaunee nations and other nations of people. It is regarded as an important covenant agreement that sets the framework for future agreement.
The Haudenosaunee believed that it was essential that the newcomers learn the principles required to bold a relationship with them, based on peace, friendship and mutual respect.
The first newcomers and all those afterward were introduced to the Kaswentha or Two Row Wampum Belt which embodied the principals of Peace, Friendship and Mutual Respect. These principles formed the basis of the numerous treaties and agreements between Haudenosaunee and non-Haudenosaunee nations…”
What does it mean? (from akwesasne.ca)
“The background of white Beads was meant to symbolize the purity of the agreement and some say that is represents the ‘River of Life’.
The two separate rows of Purple beads, were made to symbolize and encompass the spirits of Haudenosaunee and non-Haudenosaunee people, past, present and future.
Some say that the two rows of purple beads represent two separate vessels traveling parallel to each other down the ‘River of Life’.
The Haudenosaunee are in their canoes. This symbolizes their culture, laws, traditions, customs and life-ways. The non Haudenosaunee are said to be in their ship, which symbolizes everything that they carry in their culture, laws, traditions, customs and life ways.
Between the two rows of Purple beads, are three rows of white beads. These were made to stand for the Friendship, Peace and Respect between the two nations. As much as the three rows keep the two nations separate, it also binds them together.
Neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other, or interfere or impede the travel of the other…The Kaswentha or Two Row Wampum is a treaty of respect for the dignity and integrity of the other nation.
Now, many years later, it has become my life’s work – to move, speak and create unity in two worldviews, as a universal bridge and conduit. A practice and livelihood of peace, compassion and action.
Last weekend, I led 85 amazingly diverse women in a full moon ceremony with lunar eclipse. We were surrounded by mother earth’s tree and water medicine, on the lands of Algonquin Anishnaabe.
That night, I received a clear, vibrant and loving blessing on my global journey. My intention was pure and from my heart – that the women who surrounded me have the opportunity to learn and be moved from a place of love. I received in return, the same learning and moving love. In this spirit of sacred exchange I will continue to fill open hearts, minds and bodies with universal love, support and peace.
You see, it’s taken me time to arrive safely in this freedom. I’ve had to release, transform and heal many wounds on a cellular level. From both my genetic and lived experiences brought by residential schools, racism, cultural oppression and colonial education.
Many dreams, visions, people, spirit guides, ceremonies and medicines have assisted me in this evolution of my being.
It’s not just indigenous people of the globe that are healing from these types of wounds. All of walks of mother earth’s children are seeking to heal and find harmony.
Many more are embracing the ancient while moving forward in the new paradigm, living with fervor once released.
It’s our time now to learn and evolve in love and partnership. To learn how to act, witness and hold space. In unity, with respect and reverence to the ancient and to the survivors, the ones who have persevered through peril to protect what we share and have access to now – the elders, wisdom & language keepers, ceremony carriers, messengers, dreamers, warriors, medicine people and artists.
Its time to open my lodge doors to the world – to you! With ecstatic joy and pleasure, living my purpose!
In My Canoe: I’m sharing wellness, healing and empowerment in indigenous communities through the joy of movement, language, culture and the arts. Creating partnerships. Planting seeds in communities, inspiring youth. Bringing the wisdom and relevance of the old ways into the modern urban village. Innovating financial structures for sovereignty in the delivery of this work through social enterprise.
In My Tall Ship: I am a beacon of integrity, insight and universal spirit in the great waters of indigenous awareness and respect. To inspire and provide support to a sustainable, equitable and wise new world landing for the new paradigm of life and business. I guide the navigation of contemporary indigenous worldview, history and ancient wisdom. In the tides of illusion and confusion. I am a safe calm in the waters for insight, reflection and growth.