Elements of Matricultures

These eight elemental factors of matricultures are offered tentatively because they are based on literature review that is ongoing; they are subject to change through collaboration with indigenous grandmothers and philosophers as well as other scholars of matricultures. I welcome your feedback on these 8 elements.

  1. Regeneration (element of Fire) refers to the cyclical view of life in which birth, death and regeneration are natural phenomena that connects all beings.  Regeneration describes not only our physical process but also the process of continuous creativity.    Regeneration is illustrated in the Sedna story from Inuit culture.
  2. Birthing (element of Water) refers to the great value placed on The Maternal, in its literal & metaphoric meanings. Mother is elevated for its contribution to culture and continuity.  It includes the role of midwives who facilitate the entry from darkness to light. Birthing is illustrated in the eulogy of Mary John, Stoney Creek midwife and Carrier (Dene) elder.
  3. Relationality (element of Water) with land and all beings involves nondual participation in the world.  Reciprocal relationality with nature maintains balance and harmony.  Relationality, particularly empathy, disrupts necrophilia’s systems of dominance. Relationality is illustrated in the story of the Q’ero culture
  4. Cosmology (element of Air) contributes stability and groundedness by evoking a shared symbology to express the sacredness of the whole.  Cosmology deals with concepts of time, space and place.  A culture’s ethical codes are embedded in its origin stories, performed in ceremonies and represented in signs and symbols. Cosmology is illustrated in my profile of Tamazight culture.
  5. Personhood (element of Fire) refers to the process of becoming.  In this process, identity is formed and rites of passage are ceremonialized. Mothers give us the gift of language so that we can acquire a voice.  In spite of colonization, racism and sexism, which silence voices and impose an identity on the subaltern, indigenous cultures have found ways to keep cultural identity alive.    Personhood is illustrated in the story of the Guna Yala culture.
  6. Diversity (element of Earth) is an indicator of biocultural continuity. It respects and welcomes difference and pluralism. Food sovereignty is reliant on biodiversity and is critical to climate change adaptation. Biocultural diversity values the preservation of languages, because ecological intelligence is embedded in language.  Mothers give us the gift of our native language.   Diversity is illustrated in the story of the Himalayan culture.
  7. Sharing communities (element of Earth) develop practices of caring that help all beings flourish by designing ways to practice a sharing economy, generosity and hospitality, thus disrupting the greed which prevails in the dominant paradigm. Sharing is illustrated in this article on the role of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women. 
  8. Governance systems (element of Air) provide structure for communities through respectful intra-action involving collaboration, mediation, education, change management and facilitating justice. Governance circles radiate justice. Consensus decision-making engages the voices of all beings, including the land and the climate. All genders exercise responsibilities as protectors, defenders and warriors.  Decolonization is a political task shared by settler folks and indigenous folks. Element of AIR. Governance and political agency are illustrated in the action by Haida matriarchal clan leaders to strip two hereditary chiefs of their titles for secretly supporting Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.  http://discoursemedia.org/toward-reconciliation/made-haida-clan-potlatch-historic


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