Ancestral Medicine’s Commitment to Transforming Racism

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This is a statement from Daniel Foor (June 2020), the founder of Ancestral Medicine, and it has been reviewed by our four staff members. I make no presumption to speak for all involved with the organization either as ancestral healing practitioners and trainees or as participants in public offerings.

We know that the legacy of harm from police and others to Black and Brown bodies in the United States is not new, and the murder of George Floyd on May 25th and subsequent calls for justice and systemic change warrants an even more explicit affirmation of solidarity and commitment to both anti-racist values and action. These are values we hold as part of an ethic of cultural healing that includes being feminist and LGBTQ-celebrating, class-aware, aligned with decolonization efforts, and critical of U.S. imperialism. Yet at this moment the focus is specifically on anti-Black racism.

Keeping our focus on tangible actions, these are the main ways in which the team and I are seeking to embody anti-racist values. These are shared to be clear where we stand, to encourage tangible action for others, and with the recognition that nothing I or Ancestral Medicine is doing or will do in the future can ever be ‘enough’. Transforming legacies of racism on these lands is the work of generations. This is what we have been doing and will continue to do:

Public Teaching. As the primary teacher with Ancestral Medicine, I commit to continuing to foreground the imperative for racial healing and the role of ancestral healing in this process. Others who have taught and will teach through Ancestral Medicine are also expected to foreground the need for healing justice and to hold a supportive and inclusive ritual space for BIPOC participants and their ancestors. July 8, 2020 Update: This includes having trained BIPOC ritualists who are in our network of practitioner and trainees anchor weekly live calls for all participants in our summer online courses.

Practitioner and Trainee Network. All practitioners of and trainees in ancestral healing (over 70 ritualists at present) are encouraged during the training to engage their own ancestors around race and racial healing. We also host outside teachers on cultural healing, regular internal events, and opportunities for practitioners to engage in ongoing education, including anti-racism resources.

Leadership Training. My colleague Seyta Selter and I have been working for over a year now with DEI consultants to ensure the work of Ancestral Medicine reflects our values. The learning is ongoing and will continue to be anchored by regular professional support.

Accessibility. We have a long-standing policy to keep our offerings, including the practitioner training, highly accessible to people with variable financial means, especially but not only BIPOC. This includes robust scholarship options for online courses, managing a referral program for low-income ancestral healing sessions, and sharing abundant free resources.

Giving. We don’t tend to publicly emphasize this as it would be weirdly performative, but we do regularly make financial contributions to BIPOC organizations and others working on the front lines of cultural change.

We are also open if there are ways that you believe our current offerings in the world could be even more reflective of our commitment to work for an end to racism (systemic, interpersonal, internalized) and to proactively celebrate ancestral diversity. Gratitude to everyone working through all the many forms for long-overdue changes. We’re also in it for the long haul and continue to learn and grow with the times.