People love to be known and understood. When we introduce ourselves to others, what are the informational pieces that we usually share about ourselves? Our name and our occupation are usually the first things we may share given the context. We try to place ourselves the best way we can to be understood and in the short amount of time that we have with the new person, we want to be able to answer the question of “who am I?”

In preparation for crossing cultures, this activity will help us begin to think and to see ourselves in a relational way. Rather than identifying yourself by your occupation or location, this activity will help you write your story in regards to your roots and your experiences. This activity reveals where we are from, what culture(s) we come from and also reveals how we relate to self, others, and God. You have permission to be as artistic as you want in this activity. Then only rule is to make the beginning of every expression “I am from…”

This activity is best experienced as a group activity, with adequate time for sharing. These poems provide an environment to learn about people’s different cultural upbringing and an opportunity to understand people’s story, good and painful. This activity can also be done as a self-reflective piece. How will you tell your story?

Join the opportunity to share your piece with a facebook community. Visit https://www.facebook.com/IAmFrom to enjoy other’s stories and upload your own.

I AM FROM by Renee Begay (Zuni) 

I am from the deep red mesas of the desert
I am from the canvas skies of orange, blue, and red
I am from the smell of clay and juniper after rainstorms
I am from ancient people
I am from the sandhill crane k’o:lotda:kwe and from the eagle kya’kya’li:kwe
I am from people of artists, creating out of turquoise stone, silver, and clay
I am from precious, beautiful people
I am from spiritual, prayerful people who are fighting to keep their traditions alive
I am from the smell of sourdough bread fresh from the outdoor adobe oven
I am from laughter and stories around the feasting table
I am from Zuni
I am from a mother who is still hopeful, searching for unfailing love
I am from a father who just couldn’t stay, but had to see the world
I am from the protection and presence of the One True Creator
I am from a painful life, rescued by Jesus Christ
I am from the image of God
I am from His thoughts, from His plans
I am from a faithful God, whose love never fails
I am from the Revealer of Mysteries
I am from a God who searches the hearts of all
I am from the desire to be a tree deeply rooted to the Living Water
I am from a covenant to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength

I AM FROM by Donnie Begay (Navajo) 

I am from over there (lips point towards home)
I am from the four sacred mountains, Diné bike’yah
I am from Honágháahnii, the one who walks around clan
Kinyaa’áanii, the towering house clan
I am from sagebrush forests and piñon trees
I am from siblings who tease me and keep me humble
I am from parents who rise up before the sun to work
I am from endless days playing basketball on a dirt court
I am from scare waters that like to play in the sand
I am from a rez that feeds on the breathe of the young
I am from the ways of old quickly fading like a sunset
I am from pow-wows, Shasta pop, and Navajo tacos
I am from symphony of thunder in the summer,
and silent melody of snow in the winter
I am from the Church of sacred clowns
I am from the holy ones who have gone before me
I am from a welcoming and accepting family
I am from the web of life Creator is weaving

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