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As indigenous people we have been taught to hold on to our values, learn our culture and practice the traditions our people have instilled in us, yet we are still quietly holding on to the heavy loads of struggle and grief that our ancestors didn’t tell us about; constantly bogging us down on our journeys. Meanwhile, we are forced to comply in a world where we are constantly competing for a space, a seat or acknowledgement.

In response, we eventually become overloaded and lose our place along the way. In those times of defeat we have to become OK with taking a step back, to get a better grasp for the “now” before we can become rooted in the future.


I am refined by the strokes of my mother’s nurturing ways and my father’s evolutionary survival skills. 

Within the realms of my daily walk, I have endured the paths of resistance my blood predecessors navigated. 

The will to progress forward is born from the mustard seed of faith in which my grandmothers have carried.

I am slowly becoming rooted, firmly in the ground.

I am held, by the binding love of the one I made and carried by the ones who love me back. 

Somedays, I am lacking courage or lacking fight, my roots become damaged. 

But, the love that is shielding me begins to heal me, and naturally new growth appears.

I am slowly becoming rooted, firmly in the ground.

I am awakened by the unsettling noise amplifying in my backyard, the intensity is overpowering. 

Unclear of the infinity but hopeful for the next, there is no time to falter, the time is now.

To become deeply rooted, firmly in the ground.


Photographers: Kaley McNeill and Yasmine Dial.

Ciera Locklear of Pembroke, NC is a Human Services Practitioner with the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Co-owner of Credentials Social Club.


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