November 12, 2021


It's time to rematriate! I was so excited when our featured artist, Autumn Dawn Gomez, created a t-shirt design for us that focused on the concept of rematriation. 

(PS: Typing rematriate is hella hard because autocorrect keeps wanting to change it to repatriate! Dirty bugger…)

First, a definition: “Rematriation is a powerful word that Indigenous women of Turtle Island use to describe how they are restoring balance to the means ‘Returning the Sacred to the Mother."

The Indigenous concept of rematriation champions a return to our origins, to life and co-creation, and a focus on Mother Earth with the reclaiming of all kinds of things, such as ancestral remains, yes, but also spirituality, cultural practices, knowledge, resources, and seeds.

Seeds, medicinal plants, and traditional foods are central components of this movement. The reclamation of seeds, and everything associated with it, such as planting, sowing, harvesting, consuming, sharing, is critical to health and wellbeing of not only ourselves, our bodies, but also our communities and future. I love the quote, "The seeds are coming home to us." I think this statement is beautiful.

I don't consider myself an outdoorsy earthy tree-hugging person - but I love gardening and digging in the dirt, and planting seeds. I think I hold stereotypes about 'earthy' people, and I'm like, yeaaaa that's not meBut it is me. My yard, my garden - these places are my sanctuary. I'm barefoot when I'm home doing yardwork, tending, watering, weeding. I can sit for hours plucking weeds and checking out all the plants as they grow. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, kale, carrots, cilantro, celery, radishes, spinach, snap peas, rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries.. It's amazing!  We pick and eat all summer, and in the fall we freeze and preserve and continue fill up on delicious things we planted from tiny seeds months ago. Tiny seeds!

And there are so many awesomely cool people throughout Turtle Island who are actively returning traditional heirloom seeds to their homes and bringing important foods back to their communities. Again, wow.

This design by community based artist Autumn Dawn Gomez (Comanche / Taos Pueblo) is inspired by a photo taken by Carrie Wood, as she was laying harvested Cota plants out to dry. The tall, delicate, yellow flowering plant was grown from seed at Full Circle Farm, an urban farm project shared by 3 Sisters Collective. It will be used for tea, known as Cota Tea, ch’il awééhi, Greenthread, or simply Indian Tea. It can be mixed into a refreshing cold option, or a warm healing tea. It is a staple to tribes across the Southwest, and it keeps the body in balance with anti-inflammatory properties. (PS: Click here to read a cool NPR story about this tea >> "For Navajos, Desert 'Tea' Fosters Kinship With Heritage And Nature" or click here to watch a video >> Making Navajo Tea.)

Autumn Dawn's design honors the perseverance of food and plant medicine knowledge as we move into this new era of rematriation.

Three Sisters Collective is a Pueblo / Indigenous women-centered grassroots organization based in Santa Fe, NM. They explain, "Through art, education, and various projects, our work promotes positive representations of this area’s first people and re-centers the Pueblo / Indigenous presence. Santa Fe, or O’Ga Pogeh Owingeh (White Shell Watering Place), is and always will be Tewa land."

For another great resource to learn more about the power of seeds, check out the Native Seed Pod, which is a podcast that explores and celebrates Native foodways, ancestral seeds, and the Traditional Ecological Knowledge needed to renew the health of the Earth and all our relations. "From planting songs to cultural foodscapes, we highlight the importance of protecting and restoring agrobiodiversity and food sovereignty to sustain resilient communities."

If you'd like to support and purchase Autumn Dawn's tee, you can do so at this link, or view our other featured artist tees at this link.