I was almost gonna say, "Keeping it real ..." ... but that seems hokey, as ... I'm not Black; that's not my natural vernacular; this is.
And if I weren't me, the only logical thing is to ask, who would I have been, if I hadn't been adopted ?
Who knows really, but statistics would indicate likely dead, drugged-out, or somewhere in the streets.
It's been interesting to interact with my biological family; they are campesino campesinos ... sustenance farming and a little bit to sell; it's not an easy life. And grandma is still hard at work doing the damn things.
Maybe that's where I would have been sent ?
The next question being, who would I have been if it weren't for colonization; because regardless of what my blood-quantum might ever read, my facial structure, and complexion, have most everyone I meet immediately thinking that I'm indigenous.
When I visited Cali, and my host and I went out for beers – she looked at me, startled because, she said. "[I] just looked so Colombian" ... no I don't remember her exact words; though I heard them again a few years later, when attending a futbol match in Medellin with another friend.
Someone passed a joint to me, spoke quickly in Spanish, and I didn't respond immediately. It was then explained that my friend and I weren't fluent in Spanish. To which the guy looked at me and said ... "You look so Colombian."
And for Colombians to say that ... what does that mean ?!
Back to the Land
The land is where it all begins, and where it all ends.
Just as one's relationship with whomever your chosen creator is, our relationship with the land is also a personal relationship ... though, as humans, we are united by the land.
And for me ... the first step was listening, and learning that there were many others who identified as indigenous, but knew not more than they'd been sold about the myriad of cultures and ways of life that existed before colonization.
I did not want to be like that ... I needed to know, from who did these features descend?
And so I learned names, and I have attempted sounds and words ...
Eventually, having moved down to be nearer to the land; Facebook has been a way to connect with people and communities.
Through this portal I saw a post, mentioning an indigenous woman; and I reached out to her. She connected me with two other individuals. And so I've started following a path.
But ever must I remember my privilege, and be first ready to serve.
While some my construe this to be a bitter joke, I rather find to be a poetically illustrative description of what Latinidad can be at it's best; and unified pride in caring for the land.
Caring for the People
One is absolutely correct to set boundaries; one should never allow themselves to be taken advantage of ... and yet to hoard that which we've been given is another sin.
Sure, package a little away for a rainy day ... but ... well, let's move beyond that ...
I was recently connected with a woman doing this work ... my team and I will do all we can to spread their request, and help them raise the funds necessary to provide better schooling for their community.
And with the community whose names and sounds I've attempted; this past weekend a class began, to learn of the culture and language. Later this weekend, or perhaps when you read this it will have already passed; I will attempt to meet individually personally, through a public event.
But I come ready to serve; and without expectations.
Which is where the rubber hits the road ...
Let's say I somehow survived ... who would I have become ?