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An Indigenous Heart and a Warrior’s Fire

Indigenous Hearts

It’s become popular in the dominant culture, particularly in recent decades, to insist that love must be something appropriated from yet another tradition: something mistermed “zen,” something “peaceful,” something blandly free of “conflict.”

Our peoples know better than most than when a colonial culture begins talking of peace and avoiding conflict, what it really means is something along the lines of Here, stand still and don’t fight back, while we run over you and steal all that you have and all that you are.

It’s nonsense.

Our peoples know that love — true love, whether romantic love or love for the people — in such a world as we perforce inhabit today is no weak and passive thing. In this world, in our way, love requires us to act: to resist, to defend, to sacrifice if need be, to give not merely of ourselves but our very selves as well, if it should be required of us.

In this world, in our way? Love requires an indigenous heart and a warrior’s fire.

Wings knows this as well as anyone, perhaps better than most. And his final pair of earrings in his recent collection in miniature in the colors of our peoples, a pair completed less than an hour ago, pays tribute to this love strong enough to heed the call to act, to resist, to defend, to sacrifice. From their description in the Earrings Gallery here on the site:

Indigenous Hearts Earrings

In our way, our love for all that is springs straight from our indigenous hearts. Wings honors the unique qualities of our hearts, both literal and metaphorical, with a pair of stunning earrings in the colors of our people: each drop as bold and brave as a warrior’s heart, as red as our collective spirit. They begin with a pair of truly spectacular cabochons of apple coral, the dust of endangered coral beads out to the flame to emerge in a mesmerizing whirl of crimson and amber, copper and bronze. Each stone is set into a scalloped sterling silver bezel atop a backing that extends, at the upper end, into a stylized heart cut freehand to serve as the bail for each pendant. The settings are edged in delicate twisted silver, and via the tiny heart-shaped bails, hang from sterling silver wires. Each earring hangs a full 1.5″ long (excluding wires) by 1-7/16″ across; each cabochon is 1/38″ long by 1.25″ across (dimensions approximate).

Sterling silver; apple coral
$675 + shipping, handling, and insurance

This is the last work (for now, at least) in the series, a collection wrought in the apple coral that is so emblematic of our peoples: Born of the dust and detritus of the endangered and increasingly scarce natural coral that is cut into cabs and beads, it is put to the flame, tempered with heat and melded together to be stronger than before, awash in whorls of blazing color and metallic shimmer. Its very use is conservationist, yet aesthetically a throwback to much more ancient methods of adornment.

These also bear a secondary heart, a tiny freestyle heart cut freehand to emerge organically out of the setting to hold each drop fast to its wire. The effect it produces, however, is of the reverse: a tiny silver heart birthing a larger self, one that grows and expands, suffused with the blood of our peoples, into a brilliant flame-red organ that embodies the strength and courage and love of the ancestors, to be handed down through us to future generations.

Because of their size, these are bold, heavy earrings, designed for those able to bear their weight. But they bear weight of another kind, too: that of history, of ancestry, of clan and community — of an indigenous heart and a warrior’s fire.

~ Aji









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