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Arising near the end of the War of 1812, Manifest Destiny was the belief that God wanted Americans to inhabit the continent, from California to the Eastern Seaboard. This gave the newcomers a self-proclaimed right to remove the people who already lived there at any cost. During this period, Native Americans experienced genocide. Over 3 million people were killed, enslaved, forcefully relocated, tortured and raped. Additionally, Indigenous people experienced biological warfare as many where given blankets diseased with smallpox. This “manifest destiny” as it is called was the beginning of the end for our people’s way of life. We continue to struggle with the continued effects of these acts of colonization now embedded in our systems and our lives⎯impacting our planet, our communities and the future of our children.
Turtle Women Rising invites you to participate in this new manifest dedicated to all women. This document serves as an invitation and statement of intentions as a written truth for all women ready to stand with us as relatives seeking equality of voice, income, respect and living in safety. We Indigenous women from all nations unite to create the vision for women from every homeland. This is an opportunity to speak as one voice, to heal, grow and strengthen our voices as we strive to heal from trauma and pain.
We recognize the continuing acts of harm and injustice, instilled by European settlers of the United States, making aware to all that these acts of violence still impact our lives and is now considered a norm by this society, affecting our sisters as well. By reclaiming the voice, wisdom and strength that lives within each woman’s heart, we strengthen our minds, bodies, spirits and relationships. Healing ourselves provides us with the ability to unite our family, community and be of service to Mother Earth.
Our goal is to build ourselves up so that we may work towards the greater good, leaving Mother Earth better then we found her. Native Americans have been taught that our acts affect the next seven generations that follow. We work to engage in a practice that is free of moral injury, allowing the freedom of the mind to guide us while sharing our expression of truth and power as women. The power of love, compassion and forgiveness is the most powerful energy that exists. Amongst Indigenous people, it is at the core of women’s way of living.
We commit to planting and growing the seeds of power by standing with other women needing our support and sharing with those interested in walking the Red Road. We often retained the voices of our abusers, falsely taking this information as a truth. Thus, the falsehoods became a part of our beliefs about who we are and what we deserve. These thoughts took root, creating deep injury in need of healing. We now seek to find where these wounds live within us and reshape the old rules governed by men’s power over women. Unearthing the source of our opinions and choices tells the story of why we make choices that help or hurt us.
This work is the responsibility of every woman. To heal ourselves, we look at our life lessons with the scrutiny of a mouse and the eye of an eagle. We set forth to speak truth, setting us free from the lies we accepted and take responsibility for our path. We remember the walk of our ancestors who wait patiently in our veins to be healed by us as we heal ourselves. We understand that our healing only strengthens our own voice, heals our ancestors, the Mother and teaches our young women that they matter.
We claim the right to express ourselves, to feel safe, supported, and believed in times of need. For those paralyzed by circumstances, we claim the right to speak up until they find the strength to speak for themselves. We commit to connect, collaborate, and build a vibration of energy to change those things harmful to our lives. We commit to nurture each other and hold our circle free of judgment. We create a space of support, kindness, understanding and allowing the process to move forward at its own pace. We hold a space free from codependency, addictions, and the power of victim-thinking that plagues our lives enough to immobilize our walk and question our future and value. We stand united, growing in numbers to change the face of women’s historical trauma. These abuses are cruel, reinforcing the lineage of a patriarchal system, one designed to weaken the voice of women.
A commitment is held by any woman agreeing to this manifesto to heal our lives, our family, community and the Mother. We commit to teach, guide, learn from and support women who understand the power of a circle’s voice, to jar the very system that continues to enslave our thoughts, close our hearts, question our knowing and drain our spirit. We strive to bring a balance that was once held in many Indigenous communities giving women an equal voice. We claim the voice of truth to expose those who harm women and seek justice for those who disrespectfully invade the space of a women without consent. We proclaim the wellness, strength and wisdom that lives inside each woman and seek to work towards sharing the gifts with we were born. We strive to take the path that best serves our lives. We embrace the circle of women from all walks of life understanding that we are one heartbeat and together everything is possible.
Please consider this Women's Manifest Destiny as a statement for the lives of all women. Share with others if you agree.
With much love and respect,
Turtle Women Rising