By Natasha Tamate Weiss
I Want You to Love Me to the Bones, my great aunt sings in the haunted-barn-turned-karaoke-lounge on our ancestral land in Fukushima, a region of Japan once known for the abundance of its soils and rivers, now recognized for the trauma of nuclear disaster. My aunt’s song guides me toward the center of my work, which seeks to restore ancestral memory of loving and tending to the earth not because of what she can do for us, but because she is. And because she is us. Love Me to the Bones, the earth sings in the language of abundantly ripening persimmons in a landscape deemed ruined and disposable. Love Me to the Bones, sing the ancestors buried in that earth, extensions of my own body reminding me that I can never walk away from that land. Love Me to the Bones is what I hear when I listen closely to the chorus of feminine beings in my lineage, who were not loved enough for the simple fact of their breath, their laughter, their pleasure. A crisis like the 2011 nuclear disaster is a moment in which imbalance reveals itself—an opportunity to attend to the silenced, shadowy, and feminine intelligences of feeling and intuition. Here, I listen, and they guide us back/forward/inward, toward wholeness.
The work I present here is a working sample of a hybrid documentary by the same name, to be completed in 2020.
natamawe follows the feeling of heaven and advocates for a different sense of time. their films are homes where the life they love is cultivated--a life in which every being lives in their wholeness, and from that wholeness is able to recognize and honor the sovereign beauty of the lives around them. as a cohort member of the Detroit Narrative Agency, natamawe produced Sidelots, a short film about a black Detroit family that experiences the land around their home as a portal through which to reclaim freedom and ancestral consciousness. natamawe was raised up on Ohlone lands (the Bay), raised again on Anishinaabe lands (Detroit), and is now growing on Tongva lands (LA). descended from Romanian/Lithuanian Jewish communities and Japanese agricultural communities along the Abukuma River in Fukushima, they also learn from Ainu people, who carry knowledge of how to live in a balanced way on Ainu Mosir, or Hokkaido. natamawe lives their creative practice through poetry, singing and songwriting, taiko drumming, contemporary dance and kundalini yoga, reiki and ear acudetox therapy, cooking, playing, farming and loving. their poetry and fiction can be found in Glimmer Train Magazine and AK Press’ Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief.