“I will tell you something about stories…They aren’t just entertainment. Don’t be fooled. They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death.”
- Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. It is a day when the Northern Hemisphere has the fewest hours of sunlight and the Southern Hemisphere has the most. This remarkable event marks the point at which the sunlight begins to increase and warmth begins to reach the Earth.
This change is celebrated with ceremony and storytelling because it represents a time of hope, renewal, and rebirth.
During this difficult time when the world has been afflicted by illness and loss, many Native American communities and families will strive to find ways to honor the winter solstice safely. We've put together a list of activities that we hope will inspire you.
1. Reflect on the past year.
Go to a place that is sacred to you and take some time to reflect on this past year. What did you learn? What do you want to change or have happen in 2022?
2. Remember loved ones lost.
The number of people who died as a result of Covid-19 is more than just a statistic. They represent the loss of relatives and friends who have made contributions to our lives and communities. In your own way, celebrate the lives of those we have lost this year.
3. Share about the things you are grateful for on social media.
Gratitude is good medicine. Being thankful has been associated with lowering stress levels, increasing mental strength, and improving relationships. Everyday for a week, share about one thing you are grateful for on your social media. Tag your friends and challenge them to do the same.
4. Learn about an ancestor.
Connect with your family this season by uncovering stories of the past. One day this week take a genealogical journey to illuminate your family history. This can also help you as you set goals for the new year by shedding light on who you are and how you fit into history.
5. Express your love for others.
There are many ways you can tell people you care about them. Write a letter to a friend who lives far away, drop off a small gift to a neighbor, or simply send a text message to a family member letting them know you are thinking of them.
6. Practice self-care.
If you haven't already, create a self-care routine. Eat healthy, get good sleep, get rid of clutter, see friends, find ways to relax, and do at least one thing you love everyday.
Let's come together this #wintersolstice to raise scholarship funds for the next generation of students. By making a donation to American Indian Services, you can help Native Americans create brighter futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.