I Am a Future Ancestor

Knowing this changes how I live my life.
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“Digging deep into that trauma is difficult, but my traditional teachings as an Indigenous man tell me there is a larger purpose for my healing.”

Photos by Josué Rivas

My father died when I was 7. He was tall, had a black mustache, and had a camera hanging from his neck. At least that’s how I remember him. To be clear, later when I became an adult, I found out he hadn’t actually died. Just disappeared from our lives. I thought he had died—from alcohol, stuck between his pain and his desire to be a good man. I began a healing process recently to better understand my role as a father of my own son, Tonatiuh. My son’s name means “the one that brings the light, the sun.” Digging deep into that trauma is difficult, but my traditional teachings as an Indigenous man tell me there is a larger purpose for my healing. Because all living and dead things are connected, my healing and being able to live well honors not just my ancestors, but also the future generations. For them, I will be an ancestor to honor. Knowing this changes how I live my life.

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