My Dilbaa Dreams: Saad Part Naakí
To begin, I offer a poem to the language that is yet to be made:
we declare via our tongue (can you hear us?)
we move together with purpose with deliberate speak..deliberate literacies…
this is us…who we are…how we talk…
learn it, respect it, we made it, for us, (for you too,boo)
consider it an epic love pome from us (it took awhile)
we had to turn the hate words into love words: our slow tongue (our love labor)
berdache sodomite faggot
Two Spirit Winkté Nádleeh
reclamation restoration: our language of love
we tell our stories with the tongue we built (can you hear us?)
This post contains some thoughts on tongues (literally), or lingoes, vernaculars, slang, and why we make tongues. And why these tongues create a foundation to our resistance, and reclamation of our rightful place in clan, community, and family. As we build and dream future community we build using words as much as anything else and that’s where I like to play. Words are how we are literally (and metaphorically, etcetera) legible to our community and each other.
The following quote by African American Studies professor L.H. Stallings resonates with me and the work of resisting/reclaiming/manifesting with words:
“The recovery or relearning of African and Indigenous languages cannot erase the harmful ways in which forced language practices shaped how Indigenous and enslaved populations assimilated into gender and sexual practices they did not author or narrate in their own language.” –L.H. Stallings from A Dirty South Manifesto: Sexual Resistance and Imagination in the New South
I would add to this, to be fully liberated, we must also be liberated from the hateful language, the egregious (and lazy) inaccurate labels given to us. Because it is crushing to live under words that are meant to dehumanize us.
Diné teachings say we have the power to make the world around us with our thoughts, imagine what we can do with words.
Language is powerful. Our language is how we become legible and seen. How we choose to speak of our selves and of our future worlds, the present, and our revolutions is our tongue.
With painstaking effort of mind, community, and our tongue. I see how we are doing this with hope for a future where our language is a love language we speak among us, and a language you can use to speak about us.
This is why we build a language that makes sense to us, makes us safe in ways that we need in order to be seen by our family, our clan, our community. This was the spirit behind the creation of the term Two-Spirit, and behind the reclamation of terms like Nádleeh and Dilbaa. The way we speak of ourselves is not a subject of discussion or debate. Come correct, listen, learn, and heal your own communities with manifestos, vernacular tongues, secret tongues, tongues we build together.
L.H. Stallings tells us that language, tongues, our tongue can simultaneously frame our resistance while allowing us to speak or manifest the world we want into existence. Damn. That’s powerful.
Some things to think on until next time…I’m working on a third part to this discussion so stay tuned!
AHÉ’HÉÉ’ for reading and thinking with me!