In an effort to promote the many phenomenal women in the American Indian/Afro-Indigenous communities and in celebration of Native American/American Indian Heritage Month, ThisWomansWords is featuring Indigenous and/or Afro-Indigenous women and Indigenous women-owned businesses on the ThisWomansWords website for the month of November.
Dominique Daye Hunter
(IG: @ddayehunter, IG: @ddayehunterdesigns, www.ddayehunter.com)
Dominique Daye Hunter is an Afro-Indigenous storyteller, author, BIWOC advocate, and multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in poetry and streetwear fashion. The CEO of D. Daye Hunter Designs LLC, her written work and visual art explores the complex connections between history, intergenerational trauma, and healing in Black and Indigenous communities. She uses storytelling to create safe, healing spaces for women, children, neurodivergent folks, and those who are differently abled. Dominique specializes in helping others tell their stories through graphic design, scribe work, and professional writing services. Dominique identifies as Black, Saponi, Nansemond, Irish, and Polish.
What do you want Indigenous people to understand most about Indigenous and/or Afro-Indigenous women?
Existing as an Afro-Indigenous woman in a world that puts white settler colonialism on a pedestal is a daily act of resistance. My ancestors were the victims of cultural and actual genocide. Their identities were stripped. If they openly identified as Afro-Indigenous, they would be forced west of the Mississippi River or executed. Their lands were stolen by white settlers who became their landlords and could remove them from their homes at any time.
These policies of systemic racism served to silence and attempted to erase our cultures. Much was lost in the fire of colonization. Yet, we are still here. We are remembering our identities and reconnecting to our kin. I ask my ancestors what they need to tell the world, the truths that have been silenced for too long. I'm relearning our culture and language and integrating these with ancestral inspirations to write poetry that heals and reclaims. I share these stories in words and through fashion that teach our young ones and shout to the world "We are still here and we shall remain forever more."
Calvetta Watlington is a native of Alamance County, North Carolina. Calvetta received her bachelor's in social work from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has dedicated her career to providing a safe space for victims of interpersonal violence to share and begin healing from their trauma. The work has been challenging yet fulfilling. Calvetta has transitioned into providing services to organizations and individuals who want assistance in grant writing and community need based program expansion. She is a strong advocate for community connection and involvement with the goal of creating an inclusive and diverse environment. Calvetta identifies as Afro-Indigenous and is a citizen of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation.
What do you want non-Indigenous people to understand most about Indigenous and/or Afro-Indigenous communities?
Indigenous and/or Afro-Indigenous communities are diverse and dynamic. Whatever you think of when you hear the words "Indigenous" or "Afro-Indigenous," throw it away. We are much more than most people could ever dream. We are the only group of people who have to "prove" who we are.
(IG: @BlackIndiansNC, FB: @BlackIndiansNC)
Kimberly Knight is the Founder of the North Carolina-based non-profit organization, Black Indians NC. The organization aims to provide educational resources and awareness about people of Black and Indigenous ancestry historically and present day from North Carolina. Since becoming a nonprofit organization, Black Indians NC has provided cleaning supplies to local tribal communities in Eastern North Carolina, hosted a virtual powwow, awarded two $1,000 academic scholarships to local college students, and hosted 13 virtual "Conversation Circles" on social media. As an individual and organization, the work continues to support and bring awareness about Black and Indigenous communities across North Carolina.
How is your existence & your work/business an act of Indigenous Resistance?
The existence of Black Indians NC speaks to the importance of how educational barriers about relations between Black and Indigenous people have impacted those relationships to this day. The organization seeks to educate people about how these two marginalized groups of people did foster relations to support, impact, advocate, cohabitate, cultivate families, and march for rights together.