It’s an honor to wear this Dukwebah shirt designed by Cleo Keahna and made by Native Works artists. Dukwebah, the moon, the transformer is a story from the Cosalish people, and as I live on occupied Duwamish Land, I feel humbled to wear a visual representation of powerful medicine. As a Queer Indigenous woman I struggle to be seen every day in a society silencing my existence.
Wearing Indigenous designed clothes and Regalia is like wearing armor. It makes me feel protected and safe, like I am honoring my ancestors and fighting colonialism at the same time. One of the many things I love about this shirt is the story Cleo tells about Dukwebah, the inner transformation that can only begin with dreams, the power of changing oneself and in doing so inspiring peace and harmony, transforming war into medicine. The cedar hat I wear is a traditional Haida rain hat which we adorn with abalone to represent the harmony of the Land and Ocean. Ermine is one of my clan crests and so I am showing the world who I come from when I wear it.
Haida society is matriarchal and I love the Byellowtail & Wakeah Jhane Unity Ledger skirt which was made in honor of Matriarchs. The skirt celebrates the Seventh Generation, and the mentality that each action we take will affect our grandchildren seven generations forward. After many battles, led mostly by Haida Matriarchs, fighting the over-forestation of our Cedar trees, the Haida Nation are the only government that have come up with a 1,000 year plan to save our sacred cedar trees to insure regrowth and revitalization. With an epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, I hope that every government begins to take action to protect our women with the same tenacity and long term planning that Haidas protect our Cedar Trees with, so that we may always grow towards the sky together.
Indigenous stories are ones of thriving despite constant genocide, we heal ourselves, we protect our medicine, and celebrate our culture each day in order to make a better world for our grandchildren even seven generations to come. There is power in wearing Native made clothes, there is strength in celebrating the beauty of being Indigenous each day, and there is healing in remembering to honor the land we walk on.
The magic of wearing Indigenous Made clothing and jewelry is that you are able to carry with you our stories, our lessons and remember our voices in your own healing, regardless of if you are Indigenous or not. When you buy from Native Works you are also supporting the fight to end Native Homelessness in Seattle (a place where Native people are seven times more likely than any other race to be homeless). So buy Native Made, not Native Inspired, and whenever possible help amplify Indigenous voices and visibility.
Samantha K'_alaag'aa Jaat Biasca
Kaigani Haida, Tlingit, Iñupiaq
Information & Referral Specialist at Chief Seattle Club