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Decolonizing the Conditional

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

by MAURA THE DANCER


I’m on a journey of liberation and decolonization. I hope as many of us as possible can make this journey and I will help in whatever way my gifts allow. I am reclaiming my body and spirit in all wholeness from patriarchal, colonial-style, false humility, from the repressed puritan rhetoric which is actually shame. Shame of dance, free movement, sex, relaxation, nakedness, masturbation, touching, and flesh—All things that are free, accessible and built into our bodies as gifts from Spirit. Along with our lives, nations, languages, life-ways and identities, the system has also attempted to annihilate our pleasure and the freedom of our bodies. As an Indigenous woman and as a professional dancer, I am reclaiming my sexual power and my sensual body. I am reclaiming the expression of what was always ours.

One of my Mattamuskeet elder cousins sometimes says “When the Europeans came we were topless. We just wore a little skirt and had our breasts out in the open air, just like the men. We didn’t see any shame in it, and we also had to nurse babies. Well, when they got here and those men saw us...they must have been driven out of their mind!” Her eyes twinkle and she laughs. Though she practices some traditional ways, she is a “good Christian”. But luckily no amount of Jesus was able to take away her appreciation of the bodily freedom we once had on this land.


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