Roger Kuhn on Reclaiming Embodiment Amid Colonialism

Posted by – November 21, 2023
Categories: Indigenous Cultures & Anthropology Interview

Roger Kuhn (Poarch Creek) is the author of Somacultural Liberation, a somatic guide to exploring how our bodies offer portals to personal and collective freedom.

“We have never forgotten who we are. We are still here, and we are thriving.”

How can Indigenous folks reconnect with their bodies and their cultures? What does it mean to reclaim embodiment amid colonialism?

This question of reconnection is multi-layered and multi-faceted. One important issue to remember is that not all Indigenous people have been raised with their culture or amongst their tribal community/communities. Because land is a crucial issue among Indigenous people, it is always important to remember that many Indigenous people have been misplaced from their original homelands due to either forced removal or assimilation programs, both products of the government and colonialism. The idea of reclamation and reconnection is both deeply personal and also collective. Personal because how someone connects to their body is for the individual to choose, whether that be learning specific traditional practices or through more contemporary practices. Collective because as Indigenous people, we understand that we are stronger when we are together.

Is there anything specific that you’d like to share with Indigenous folks, both to those living on and away from their ancestral lands?

Muscogee writer Laura Harjo states every place she goes becomes a Muscogee place. By this she is not laying any claim to the land, rather she is sharing her understanding of what it means to be in relation to the land from a Muscogee perspective. I agree with this idea and find comfort in the land, whether that be my ancestral lands (which are in the southeast United States) or in my current home in Northern California (Pomo territory). My connection to land is rooted in my understanding of what it means to be a Muscogee person.

Is there anything you want settlers on Indigenous land to have top of mind when learning about Native American Heritage Month?

Every Indigenous person that you know is a descendent of a survivor of genocide, every single one. Though we have been reduced to caricatures and stereotypes, we have never forgotten who we are. We are still here, and we are thriving.