Posted by: Aandeiyeen | May 26, 2009

Introduction and interconnections

Aandeiyeen yoo xát duwasáákw.
Dleit kaa kunax Jennifer yoo xat duwasaakw.
Chaak naax xát sitee.
Teikweidi aya xát.
Luknaxadi yadi aya xat.
Wooshkeetaan duchxan aya xat.
Norwegian duchxan aya xat.
Yaakwdaat kwáan áyá xát.
Xoots hit aya xat.

My name is Aandeiyeen.
My American name is Jennifer.
I am of the Eagle moiety.
I am from the Brown Bear Clan.
I am the daughter of the Coho Salmon Clan.
I am the grand daughter of the Shark Clan.
I am the grand daughter of the Norwegians (Bergen).
I am from Yakutat.
I am from the Brown Bear House.

When Tlingits introduce ourselves in our language, we include who we are related to and where we are from so the audience will know where they are in relation to the speaker. It was this acknowledgement of interconnections that (traditionally) made us ecologists. The understanding that our natural environment define us as a people and that we are connected to everyone and everything made us environmentalists way before it was trendy.

I’ve always struggled with introductions that are not long-winded whenever I travel in the Lower 48 or within non-Native communities. So much of our identity has to do with the (geographic, cultural and social) environment that we grew up in. It is impossible to grasp an abstract sense of who “Jenn” is because in the web of life and the ripple effect of our actions, we cannot be abstracted from anything else in existence. This calls for a need to acknowledge my family and community that has woven values and quirks alike into the fabric of my being.

I must alert folks with a disclaimer: I am an atheist- but I consider myself an affable one. I appreciate the beauty and teachings that religious teachings can bring. I retired my overwhelmingly nihilistic views from my angst-filled teenage years and evolved into a light-hearted atheist (with a slight crush on Buddhism) that enjoys the silver-lining in everyday life.

Here’s this affable atheist’s view on reincarnation and interconnections:
Is our existence really nothing but the fusion and splitting of atoms?? Do you ever wonder- maybe the atoms that created us were once atoms that were in Jesus Christ, Hilter, Charles Darwin, etc? (you and I could be a partial reincarnation of Jesus!). I was laying in bed the other night, feeling a bit disconnected from the world as I reminisced and wanted to be with friends whom I created these memories with. I watch memories play out in my mind and speculated in awe, wondering if all these happenings really occurred in my life. The feeling of solitude was intense when I realized my closest friends live miles away from me. A gentle rain began to tap against the window and suddenly a cheesy song came to mind (“Kiss the Rain”) which offered some comfort. We’re all under the same sky, dwell on the same planet, composed of the same ingredients. It’s curious how different we turn out to be, but no matter. Somehow, someway, we are connected to every soul that exists, has existed, or will exist. We’re all very well integrated into a large, timeless entity.

Not far away from you resides the writer of these words you read on your screen. As impersonal as the cyberworld may seem, be assured this is blog is crafted by a person, composed of flesh and blood and aspirations that you will find common ground with. Collaborate and communicate with me and perhaps we can reach some common goals.

I feel like a droplet amongst billions of other droplets that in collaboration create something amazing- flawed, but absolutely amazing.

I love you, my ocean of humanity.



  1. From among the ‘droplets’ in the humanity: You’re “Loved”!

    • Gunalcheesh! Same to you, Larry.

  2. Grasping the depth of my lineage and ties to this continent is mind boggling enough w/o thinking about religion. My mom’s cousin was telling us how he descended into the depths of Taos Pueblo and touched the enormous tree trunks holding it up, buried in a foundation of boulders carted from god knows where. He said they were slick from the touch of thousands of hands over centuries. He smelled an ancient spring, fresh and cool. I try to imagine my ancestors building that home for us in an age long past

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