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The Indigenous Stranger

written by: Mounia Mnouer


When you want to breathe, but can’t find your breath
When you want to smile, but can’t find your muscle strength
A heavy weight that prevents you from seeing straight.

You try looking for ways to lift the weight.
Wait! Do I need to debate?

Am I sad because I am far from my African land?
So far, the emotions are hard to comprehend?
So far, I am locked in a stranger’s jar,
in the world of the diaspora,
where we need to debate who we are

I am stuck in this constant fear,
that my Indigenous identity would disappear

I am stuck in a constant fear
that my inner spirit I will not hear
that my soil would not recognize my trace,
that my ancestors would look at me and say:
Who is this visitor with a suitcase?

Mounia Mnouer

Mounia Mnouer

Mounia Mnouer is a senior lecturer of Arabic in the department of Global Languages and Cultures at Northern Arizona University. She is originally from Morocco. Both her parents and their families are Indigenous people of Morocco, Imazighen. Mounia grew up in Meknes, Morocco and she identifies as Indigenous North African. She graduated with an English degree in Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco. She was active in human rights’ matters, as she worked with the Moroccan Organization of Human Rights during her college time in Morocco. After obtaining her Bachelors, she went to the United States to pursue her Masters degree in TESL. She finished her PhD in Education at Northern Arizona University in 2018. Her dissertation focus was on the embodied narratives of study abroad and intercultural understanding. She works on autoethnographies that pertain to Amazigh identities in the diaspora, issues of decolonizing the Arabic classroom and engaging in social justice education.
Mounia Mnouer

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