Building community: Group holds virtual events in honor of Black History Month

Community Reports

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – An organization in Santa Fe has lined up speakers, activists and artists for its series in celebration of Black History Month. IndigenousWays has been hosting a virtual lecture series called Wisdom Circle since the beginning of the pandemic.

Co-founder and Artistic Director Tash Terry said Wisdom Circle was a response to the question, how do they as an organization stay connected to the community? “Our vision is to reach out to Indigenous and LGBTQIA2+ communities through outreach, and of course we focus on music, the arts, utilizing Indigenous wisdom that creates and enhances survival and sustainability,” Terry said.

Co-Founder and Executive Director Elena Higgins said their mission for the past eight years has been on building community by way of bringing Indigenous artists to Santa Fe to perform. “We’ve been working with the community, producing events together, showcasing the community and also bringing in other fellows that we know through our networks,” Higgins said.

When COVID-19 hit last year, the founders said they knew the need for community grew greater. “We started our virtual events like Wisdom Circle and brought in elders, spiritual advisors, and our theme for last year was Rising in Resilience. For 2021, our theme is Thriving in Purpose,” Higgins said.

Terry serves as the moderator for these events, asking questions to that week’s guest. Then after the guest is done speaking, they have some time for audience members to communicate with the guest. “We really believe that the creative process that we’re born with is something that really needs to be tapped into for times of strife, times of coronavirus, isolation, we’re all quarantined on some level. That need for community is much greater now because of it,” Terry said.

One of the scheduled speakers is Tauz TamuPovi, who works as a community healthcare worker in Española, near her home in the San Ildefonso Pueblo. TamuPovi is of Indigenous and African descent and works in Somatic Archaeology, which helps individuals unlock stories of personal and generational trauma from their bodies, allowing room for reconciliation and healing.

TamuPovi said some of what she’ll discuss is leading the group through meditation and certain methods of taking care of mental health, especially for people of color. “People of color have been dealing with the issues they’ve been dealing with for years and years, and it’s not a shock to us that these things have existed,” TamuPovi said.

She hopes to create a safe space for people of color to find healing. “More people are validating our reality than ever before, and so I think with all that happening and in a pandemic, it’s important to not feel so isolated,” TamuPovi said.

Other speakers include writer E Nina Jay, deaf teacher and activist Eve Wiggins, singer-songwriter Gina Breedlove and educator Dr. Zelema Harris. For more information, visit their website at indigenousways.org.

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