Recovering the female altar: Te awa atua the wise-blood of the womb


When women bleed we retreat into ceremony, coming into union with our matrilineal lines. Our blood assures the continuation of our Tribal Nations. Our blood is a ritual of purification and renewal. Through the blood we shed the trauma of our colonial histories and activate our ancient relationships with female deities of the earth, water, winds, fire and sky. In this presentation I explore the movement amongst Māori and other Native women to reclaim and reactivate our own ritual ontologies related to te awa atua – menstrual blood – and its significance within Indigenous decolonisation and sovereignty movements.