Guest Blog: Native Womens Wilderness

December 11, 2017

 

One week ago, many of us who value public lands were devastated when we learned that Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Nat’l Monuments would be shrunk and stripped of its protections. Many of you have heard myself, @Im_NicoleMarie speak of these places. But today, I feel that it is important we hear from someone else. A native woman. A woman who this land means a lot to. I think that it is important at @womenwhohike to amplify the voices of other women. So, I hope you all take a few minutes to read about Jaylyn, @NativeWomensWilderness and what these lands mean to her and her heritage. 

“You could say I'm a kid straight from the ‘rez’, I grew up on the Navajo Reservation. I was adopted at a young age by the most incredible woman, a woman who taught me how to love and explore the land. The land was our playground, the sticks were your swords, the canyons were your maze, and the cliffs were your wonder.

I was always taught I could do anything I wanted and what I really wanted was to climb mountains. But I had no one to look up to, so I grew up with the idea that only white women could climb mountains. But then I began to scale the cliffs in my back yard. I then became a guide and then a mountain bike race coordinator. And then I became the brown woman who climbed mountains. 

Native Womens Wilderness was created out of the frustration of the lack of women of color and us native women being represented within the outdoor industry. My desire for @nativewomenswilderness is to be a platform for our voices, to show our love and passion for the Wild and to support to one another.

Currently at @nativewomenswilderness, we have started a movement called, ‘Whose Land Are We Exploring On?’ Right now it is an important and crucial time for us to ask and explore this question. Did you know that Bears Ears is a sacred site to five major tribes, all of which have had ancestral ties to the land for thousands of years. Still to this day, one of these tribes makes an annual pilgrimage to pick berries that only grow within the monument, for sacred traditions. For me, Bears Ears brings about nonverbal feelings for me. How do you explain the feeling you have with the land of your ancestors, that DEEP feeling? This past week has been devastating for me. I also feel in some ways feel traumatized. We live in 2017 and yet our lands and rights are still being taken away from us? This is our land, and another note to historical trauma and colonization, once again our land is being segregated and split up.

Through our movement at @nativewomenswilderness we are exploring what these lands mean to us. The land that we all love. Please join us while we share with you the ancestral history behind the lands you explore."

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