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atatobu isherikeili

new beginnings through old world medicine

I am a bridge builder, I build connections. I live in the in-between.

A common theme keeps coming up – how do we restore memory and reclaim tradition, and deep knowing as paths to both build relationships and advance the work that is needed today? Indigenous and cultural communities have always shared story, life skills, nourishment and on-going practices. But intentional silencing and the exploitation of our traditions and medicines sent many of us underground and disconnected us from each other. Now more than ever, it is essential that we remember who we are and reclaim our connections to each other. One of the ways I see that happening is by striving to undo how we are defined externally and keeping our stories alive, together.

Adela Nieves Martinez is a visual storyteller, traditional community health practitioner, and Carrier of the wisdom of the heart. Her practice explores the intersection of healing and the creation of collective memory. Adela’s work has always sought to build cultural connections, call forward ancestral knowledge, and evolve our collective definitions of health and wholeness.

What we need in these times?”

Selected to be included in The Detroit Narrative Agency’s Radical Remedies Series, this one-minute video documents my community in Southwest Detroit, sharing what we think we need in these times – each other.

The Journey

I closed my eyes and handed over my heart. 

The sun beating on my shoulders as they washed my feet. 

White blanket below me, transfixed by grandfather drum, grandmother sound. 

Life all around me, too scared to look, afraid to remember. 

The scent of eucalyptus and calendula rubbed gently across my back – flowers preserved for releasing the pain of past stories. They whisper, change will save your body. I cover my heart. 

Hands moving, hands pushing, hands tugging at my skin; I lose feeling and scream to recover my soul. 

I’m here, heart hints. 

I’m here, heart yells. 

I’M HERE! heart explodes. 

I knew you’d find me.

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