My feet, wrapped in auntie’s sealskin boots. They are planted on Sacred Buffalo Guardian Mountain. I wrap three 18-yard strands of neon orange flagging tape around a spruce tree. I couple the synthetic strands and prepare three threads to braid. Each thread represents a Mi’kmaw word for Creator and the energies of creation: kisu’lkw, tekweyu’lkw, jikeyulkw.
I turn my back to the tree and face the mountain, untangling yards of petroleum-based material twisted in juniper bushes and around my ankles. The weather is cold, I nestle my body to the ground for warmth. My hands crack, plastic slices my skin. My hands do not leave the braid––the umbilical cord connecting me to Wsitqamu’k.
Light in the sky shifts. I untangle, I braid, and I pray.
Braiding is a sacred act. Women taught me to braid.