Iris Cliff responds to A Love to Feel by Marina Perez (2022)

Indigenous Love

What is Indigenous Love?

We understand love as a concept. For a long time, we might have felt love was something out there meant for someone else. Pop songs, greeting cards, and romcoms didn’t reflect a clear image of Indigenous Love. Instead, a desire sparked. We long to see ourselves. A digital reflection. A reflection all around us: screens, books, statues, art, music, food, and in nature. Where in the world are we?

It’s true. A socially accepted and accessible reflection of ourselves can guide us. Plant seeds. Help us blossom. Show us we are lovable.

Even though society denies us and mocks us - we are healing and reconnecting with the fragments of our Indigenous culture. For the first time, we have a future that we are choosing for ourselves. Not a fantasy of what we were before, but honoring and accepting who we are today and working towards a collective something that we love.

Love can encourage our personal growth. Love can help us understand each other. Love can give us something to hold onto. Love is a belief we need to define, shape, and feel for ourselves. Love is worth sharing.

The first time I felt love was when the rain kissed me. I tried to hold on to love that day. I went inside and collected all the pots and bowls I could find. I set them out on the porch while my mother hummed and sewed in the kitchen. I watched the bowls fill with love. My tiny honey brown hands scooped love gently, and I bathed myself that day all in love.

I felt love again and again when I looked up into the sky. An endless light show full of warmth.

I found love on paper. A more controlled love. Something more permanent. Shareable!

Love comes naturally with nature. People are more complicated and disconnected due to genocide, assimilation, historic trauma, and oppression. Love with people is complicated, but not impossible.

Give yourself permission to define, shape, and feel love for yourself. Remember you are lovable, things are possible, and small changes add up.

— Iris Cliff

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