Naahi∤ii is K’é. In Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
by Jaclyn Roessel
Grownup Navajo is a community founded upon Diné teachings and philosophies. We believe in the inherent wisdom of our ancestors’ and beliefs given to us by the Diyin Diné’é. Foundational to these is the concept of K’é. An ideology, philosophy which translates into “kinship”.
K’é is a practice of how we relate to each other through our clan system. A practice which embraces each other as Bilá ashląądíí – “five-fingered people”. It is in this spirit of interconnectedness to others that Grownup Navajo vehemently condemns the police violence and murder of our Black relatives. We mourn the loss of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. We ache alongside Black/African-American/African folx protesting in cities across this country.
K’é is Black. K’é is African-American, African, Afro-Indigenous, Black-Indigenous. And “k’é does not discriminate*.”
As Black scholar Ibram X. Kendi shares, “No one becomes “not racist,” despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be “antiracist” on a daily basis, to continually rededicating ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage.”
As Diné we believe we walk a Corn Pollen Path. A path that aligns us with our highest purpose, challenging us to walk in faith and action of our Diné teachings. I believe this path is one that is also anti-racist. This path demands from us to act in K’e’, radical love and defense of our relatives who face oppression and racialized violence.
As we move forward, Grownup Navajo also commits to uplifting the humanity of our Black/Diné relatives and other Black-Indigenous/Afro-Indigenous community members. We have allowed anti-blackness to live in our Native communities far too long.
One of the ways we begin this work is to connect and amplify language that is more inclusive and respectful when we talk about our Black/Diné kin. Friend of Grownup Navajo, Radmilla Cody has been a proponent of using the term: Naahi∤ii. In reaching out to Radmilla for this post, she shared the following. Naahi∤ii was passed down to her by a Diné practitioner when she inquired about a more positive, respectful and empowering term to identify those who she is born for, the African Americans. The following is the description as shared by her:
Na(a) – those who have come across.
Hi∤ – dark, calm, have overcome, preserved and we have come to like
ii – oneness.
Systemic racism is an intersecting threat to our society. It impacts Black, Brown, Indigenous, Immigrant and other Communities of Color, folx with differing abilities, sexualities and genders. While each of these experiences bring pain and trauma – we feel it is vital as allies to call out the injustices impacting our Black relatives. We believe BLACK LIVES MATTER. We have faith that when Liberation comes for our Naahi∤ii kin, it will come for us all, too.
* Quote by Radmilla Cody
A small offering of resources to help us on our anti-racist journeys forward:
Ways You Can Support Minneapolis Folx:
Ways to support Black folx:
- Amplify Black voices – read, share and support blogs, videos, op-eds.
- Purchase from Black-owned business.
- Locate and donate to a bail out fund for protestors arrested in the latest demonstrations.
- Pay for the Black culture you consume – I recently became a patron of the Nap Ministry. Ask your fave writers/musicians how you can support their work and also, take it upon yourself to investigate how to support.
- Follow alongside the Movement for Black Lives week of actions.
- I also want to lift up donating to the K’é Infoshop. It is a space Radmilla co-founded and they have lots of education programs. Currently, they are providing mutual aid to Diné navigating COVID.
- Educate yourself…see below!
To encourage the journey of learning and growing on this anti-racist, here are a list of resources:
Learn more about the roots of policing and its connection to slavery here:
Learn why folx are protesting during the pandemic. Read this:
We want to lift up the many Black women who often go unnamed as victims of racialized violence committed by police. #sayhername:
You can take action for Breonna Taylor:
For White allies:
A reading list for White people: https://www.charisbooksandmore.com/understanding-and-dismantling-racism-booklist-white-readers
If you are wondering how to bring this consciousness to work. Here is a helpful article to start from Career Contessa: https://www.careercontessa.com/advice/facing-discrimination-at-work/
Racism is a public health crisis – here are some wellness tools to help too.
Mental Health Month Resources from SHINE
Racial Healing Handbook
Lastly – the work of being anti-racism means doing a lot of learning. You will likely make mistakes – here is a great video about the power of making a meaningful apology:
Special interest links to resource guides:
Statement from Museums & Race with action steps for Museums: https://museumsandrace.org/2020/06/01/museums-race-statement-of-solidarity/
Changing Womxn Collective Resource Guide: