Relationship and Reciprocity in a Time of Great Confusion

Jun 17, 2021 | 2020 Summer - Connections

By Iris Carufel

Community has always been important to me; to be in relation with one another has been important since time immemorial.

Today, the whole world is sick, but perhaps she has always been sick. It’s so easy to forget our survival is rooted in reciprocity and respect for life. Whether human or not, no life is worth more than another. Change is inevitable, but community sustains me.

Sometimes I reflect on the life I have lived so far and how many amazing people surrounded me throughout every season. From grade school friends to some of the best colleagues, I have always been supported and encouraged by my circle. Social media has further extended our circle of friends. I think of my social media siblings that encourage me with body positivity and a healthy, growing mindset. My favorite pages challenge colonial structures and the effect they have had on all of us. I am further encouraged to look deep into myself and see how my choices impact my neighbor. We are all here, living in relation to one another, and we need to take care of ourselves and each other.

Amidst the great sadness that has covered the world today, there has been a resurgence in caring for one another. I see the way the communities most at risk are fundraising to give to other communities most at risk. Friends are working in hotspots and ensuring care is given. In community there is strength. In community there is healing. In community there is life. Community is necessary and is crucial to our survival, especially now. I am encouraged to do better and send love where I can. And I know well that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. I am not grieving alone. I am always in relation: to you, to the earth, and to myself.

The sun sets on all of us; give back if you can.

Be well, my relatives.


I give you my love and you give me love back.
You need a smile today?
Here, have mine.
I breathe out what she needs
And my tree gives back to me
We are tied together
Sustained relationships

Iris Carufel is Ojibwe, Santee Dakota, and HoChunk which centers her identity as “Indigiqueer”—or in other words, bi+. She aspires to be a well-known writer and friend to all.

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