Dusty Legrande

dust. to: dust.

The knowledge within us. I’m not sure at this point how many times I have restarted and tried to articulate my story and knowledge in a “pretty” way. I am done with that, that is not true to who I am. So here goes a raw non stop dialogue on this beautiful topic of knowledge: 

Knowledge. This colonial society controls so much of what is known to be “knowledge” – this academic definition has never felt right. 

I was raised in a cult like church that controlled every aspect of our lives as if we lived in a biblical era. I would not live within a box anymore. The patriarchy and gross misogyny involved in christian ideologies has had too much influence on our society. I decided as a young adult that I would acquire all and any knowledge that would help me burn this fucking colonial system to the ground. 

As many before me the church stole my youth. It isolated me from my indigenous culture, ceremony, and all the knowledge within. 

I was a teenager without identity floating through a world wondering where I fit. Did I fit? Was there even a crew that thought like me, was there a group who accepted and loved me for the weirdo I was? In university I began to find the stories to connect back to my indigenous roots. I began to learn about great leaders and warriors of my people. I began to see myself in those pages, I began to learn of the trauma, I began to finally feel like I might have a home. This home might have been here the whole time. The knowledge I searched for existed within my weird ideologies. Knowledge pumped in my blood. 

But this home within, it was broken. It was shattered. 

I began to become angry. The fuel to burn down this system was ignited like never before. I read every single piece of history I could. I needed to acquire any and all information required to fully dismantle. All of the pain, all of the disgusting history that is hidden by our education system, all of the racist system present that is built into our everyday life. 

My children would not grow up in a world like this. 

Lola. My first daughter was born. All of the anger, all of the fuel ceased to exist. Now all that flowed was love. 

The need to change everything became present, this was no longer a future goal, I had to change everything now. But first I had to be with this little human now. I had never felt love like this before, I had never known the softness of your own blood sleeping in your arms. 

I had never felt so whole. I had never felt so scared. 

No matter how many books I read, how much I reconnected with my roots – I knew nothing until that moment. I would become this little girls image of man, image of a father, image of an indigenous person. I knew at that moment that the true revolution would only happen within. It didn’t matter how much I could learn in books. If I was not present in these moments I would miss the most important teachings of my life. 

As I watched my partner and baby. I crumbled, I became softer than ever before. The walls I had to create to shelter myself began to fall, I began to see myself. I began to cry like never before, I began to hold myself like never before. I began to learn like never before. The power, strength, and love of a mother was a blessing I had been shown continuously by my mother and now my partner and baby were teaching me once again. 

This baby looked at me with such love. This baby would look at me and I would see the entire universe through her eyes. For the first time in my life I felt how deeply I neglected myself. I had searched for love of self, in knowledge, in others; I had never looked within. 

I thought just maybe I could change this whole world by loving myself. This was the first time in my life I had felt this to be true. My baby taught me that. My partner taught me that. The love between a mother and baby is like nothing I have witnessed before, it is spiritual, it is a connection that we can all learn many things from. 

Wounds that had scarred over began to open up. I had hid so many parts of myself that it was like a rebirth over and over again. I began to hold that little boy. I began to love that little boy who had been lost. I began to love that teenage boy who allowed others to break him and never accept himself. I began to look in the mirror and for the first time cry and hold myself in those moments. 

If that little girl could love me, then I could love me too. 

As I reconnected with my indigenous roots throughout my teenage years I was blessed with amazing mentors who taught me how to foster growth within our youth, through reconnection, community building, and sharing of knowledge. I knew knowledge to be fluid from a young age, something to be shared. These mentors are my heroes. These are the people I was lucky to watch impact our people in so many positive ways. These heroes also showed me how to be fluid. 

As Lola grew my spirit began to rebel from working for this capitalist system. It was time to return to the youth, to follow in the footsteps of my heroes and create space for the generations to come. 

Working alongside indigenous youth, together going through a journey of reconnection. Daily these youth would teach me about the simple things, about the playful things, and about how important it was to foster that youthful spirit. 

Together we would teach others how to dream again. 

Each day my daughter would echo these, as she began to walk, talk, she began to teach us even more. She was connected to the spirit world – her world was pure, beautiful, ancestral, and fluid. 

She taught me how to dance again. How to just sing as if no one is around. How to embrace all your imperfections because no matter how much I didn’t love myself, she did. 

As I began to hold myself again. As I finally started to feel what self-love was I could play like I did as a kid. I could dream like I did as a kid. I was boundless. 

Nayana. My second daughter. Maskwa baby arrived. 

My second little teacher. She brought with her the ferocity of the great warriors. I began to explore further and in new ways what it meant to love from the depth of my heart. This softness had never been present like it was with the little elders leading the way. The art began to flow from within me. 

Stories and teachings I had longed for began to flow. Teachings began to show up in dreams, instinctually, and fluid like never before. Ideas of shifting the world through art, sharing about the deep pieces of love and fluidity that existed in my relationship with my daughters. 

This return to self and surrendering to the present had opened portals to the ancestors like i had never felt before. I was once again with those who had passed on as they visited to check on us. The ancestors watch as we reclaim and heal. 

They are so proud of us. 

The knowledge of culture and spiritual teachings I had longed for began to find me as I began to find myself. As I began to remove ego from all parts of my life, I began to open my spirit to returning home. The competitive nature within me began to fade as it had no place. 

We do not need to compete when we are moving in harmony with the world around us. 

These gifts. My little girls. The ancestors. The medicines. This was true knowledge. 

I had to share. 

I had been surrounded by many gatekeepers along my journey who had kept many of us out of the circle. Many of these men who had adopted the safety of the patriarchal views and were acting as the modern day indian agents disconnecting the people from the knowledge. 

The knowledge that flowed. The knowledge that knew no bounds. This knowledge was fluid, it was meant to flow, to be accessible, and it was meant to foster our healing. 

Remi. My third baby. The gentle energy that she brought with her is a gift we are still receiving daily. 

I had been holding my art close. I had been scared to share this new fluidity I had been taught, I had been scared to reclaim publicly for shame of how it would be received. But I had to share, I knew I must. I remember all those years I searched in silence hoping to find the stories, hoping to return home. I would share. I would allow my platforms to reach all the little indigenous homies who looked just like me. 

I began surrendering my art to be fluid. To flow when the time was right and to never question the feeling in my gut. To move when the ancestors guided. I began to listen, fully, for the first time. That feeling in my gut began to guide my movements, it began to tell me when to speak. The words would flow, I would forget what was being said even though it was coming off my lips. I began to realize the power within the fluidity of knowledge, the surrender, and the pureness that comes in those moments. 

A vessel. As my daughters had shown me time after time. Surrender to the present and allow the beauty in each moment to be highlighted. 

A healing journey of self-love that had brought me home. 

Home, within. 

In all ways as I move going forward I want to learn, to grow, and to be fluid. I want to share every piece of knowledge that I am lucky to receive, I am honoured to be able to share it with the next generations. I believe our knowledge of self is what can bring us home. No matter how disconnected, no matter how worthless we feel. The ancestors are waiting for us to be brave enough to love ourselves in spite of all the pain. 

To all my little homies. I love you. You are worth every single dream you have. You are worth love. 

When we are radical enough to love ourselves, we heal the deepest parts, we heal for us, we heal for the many generations before us. We are the future. The future is the greatness that 

flows within your blood. Look in the mirror today (and everyday) and no matter how hard, whisper the words to yourself, “I love you”.

Owner/Creative director for Mobilize ᐊᐧᐢᑲᐁᐧᐃᐧᐣ

Mobilize is storytelling through streetwear. Art to empower, educate, create identity, and to evolve perspective. I tell this story simply from my own perspective and pass teachings and knowledge through the clothing I create. I have always believed that clothing is much more; clothing is meant to be your voice when you feel silenced, to be an item that brings self-worth, and to act as an extension of your own story. As a father and a community member who has worked alongside our youth for most of my life, I feel a responsibility to create change for the generations to come.