As the Indigenous people, we have watched this thing happen on our hemisphere. We have seen what has happened. We have seen the community confused and attacked. We understand that the issue is the land, the issue is the Earth. We cannot change the political system, we cannot change the economic system, we cannot change the social system, until the people control the land, and then we take it out of the hands of that sick minority that chooses to pervert the meaning and the intention of humanityJohn Trudell
Yesterday I wrote about the most significant divide. “In these days of increasing divisions of all kinds, the most significant divide today is between those who love Mother Earth and each other, and those whose values have been twisted to the point that they see everything and everyone as resources to exploit for their own material wealth.”
In the Anishinaabe prophecies this is seen as the time of the Seventh Fire. In this time, it’s said that our Oshki Anishinaabeg, our people, who would be aware, conscious human beings, would look about and have a choice between two paths. On path would be well worn, the other scorched. It would be our choice.
This book is about that choice. In the time we are in, ecosystems are crashing, our people have become sedated and contaminated, many of us, with the accoutrements, and, well, poisons of the Predator Economy, the Wasichu way….Indigenous people have a long history of being oppressed, and sometimes that oppression sticks, and you remain oppressed, and other times it does not. You wake up and shake off the fog, the accoutrements, and you remember who you are and what are your instructions.
As much as Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous peoples wake and take action, or deepen and continue the action of the past five hundred yeas, we find that there are many who have come to live on this land, who understand and feel the same. This, of course, makes sense, because our Mother Earth, this land, Anishinaabe Akiing, the land to which we belong, speaks to us and speaks to those who come to live here. That is, if you are able to listen and hear.Winona LaDuke, Foreward, “Unlikely Alliances. Native Nations and White Communities Join to Defend Rural Lands”, Zoltan Grossman, University of Washington Press
I’ve just begin reading “Unlikely Alliances”. I’m finding it fascinating reading and directly related to my associations with Native Peoples in Indianapolis as we prayed and divested money from banks supporting the Dakota Access Pipeline. And related to further contacts with Native Americans and non-Natives here in Iowa, especially through Bold Iowa, and of course the intense 8 days of the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March.
Being led by the Spirit to opportunities to be with Native Americans has been essential to moving along my lifelong path of environmental work and spiritual growth. Although my spiritual life has always been an important part of my life, having been raised in Quaker communities, my spiritual awareness has been deeply broadened by what I have learned from Native people.
From an early age I was made aware that without justice, there can be no peace. And that traumatic experiences are passed on to future generations. In the United States, we will not have peace until we face the injustices of enslavement, and the land theft and genocide of Native Americans.
It is a great irony that we are realizing we desperately need the wisdom and leadership of Native Americans now to navigate our environmental crises and how we might turn away from catastrophic environmental collapse.
Following are some upcoming events that can help non-Natives learn about Indigenous people.
Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change
The Toward Right Relationship project of the Boulder Friends Meeting (Quakers) offers this workshop in response to calls from Indigenous leaders and the World Council of Churches. The 2-hour exercise traces the historic and ongoing impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery, the 15th-century justification for European subjugation of non-Christian peoples. Our goal is to raise our level of knowledge and concern about these impacts, recognize them in ourselves and our institutions, and explore how we can begin to take actions toward “right relationship.” We provide a Resource Kit with suggestions for continued study, reflection, and action.
In the Doctrine of Discovery, we find the roots of injustice. In the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we find the seeds of change. How can we nurture these seeds to bring forth the fruits of right relationship among all peoples?Thursday, June 6, 2019 6-8 pm West Branch Friends Church 116 N Downey Street, West Branch, Iowa
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 6:30-8:30 pm First Unitarian Church 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines, Iowa
Quaker Indian Boarding Schools; Facing our History and Ourselves
Native American organizations are asking churches to join in a Truth and Reconciliation process to bring about healing for Native American families that continue to suffer the consequences of the Indian boarding schools. With support from Pendle Hill (the Cadbury scholarship), Friends Historical Library (the Moore Fellowship), the Native American Rights Fund, and other Friendly sources, Paula Palmer researched the role that Friends played in implementing the federal government’s policy of forced assimilation of Native children. For a link to her 50minute slide presentation and other resources, please see: http://www.boulderfriendsmeeting.org/ipc-boardingschool-research.July 7, 9-11 am “The Quaker Indian Boarding Schools: Facing our History and Ourselves” at Scattergood Friends School , 2 miles east of West Branch, Iowa
Healing of the Mounds
The Dallas County Conservation Board (DCCB) invites you to a very special day at the Kuehn Conservation Area. On Saturday, June 15 from 2 to 5 pm, we will be hosting, together with the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA), an event titled- “Healing of the Mounds”.
On the river ridge at Kuehn, overlooking the Raccoon River valley, are a series of Native American burial mounds. The presence of these mounds at Kuehn has been instrumental in the origination and evolution of the Prairie Awakening-Prairie Awoke Celebration at Kuehn over the past 20 years. Long before this land was in public ownership and management, the burial mounds were desecrated. A large hole was excavated into the mound, undoubtedly for the purpose of looting this sacred site. Over the past number of years, as the First Nations peoples joined us in the Celebration at Kuehn, they have preformed the needed drumming, song, dance and ceremonies to heal this scar on the landscape. In accord with the spiritual traditions of these Nations, the mounds were healed.
The OSA, however, wishes to continue this healing process, to physically heal the mounds by filling in the excavated scar. The Native community has agreed to participate in this action and will guide us in a ceremony to continue the healing.
In the arena at Kuehn, this program will begin with a presentation by the OSA detailing the archaeological story of the peoples this science terms the Woodland Culture, who were the builders of these burial mounds at Kuehn. This presentation will review what archaeologists have learned of these first peoples of Kuehn, and the history of the Woodland Culture in the Raccoon River valley. Following this presentation, representatives of the Native community, will tell the story of these mounds and their builders, through the eyes of the Native culture. Following these presentations, participants will be invited to join us in the act of physically healing the mounds. For individuals able to engage this act, you are invited to carry soil up from the river bottoms at Kuehn, to the valley ridge, to be placed in the mound’s scar. Transportation to mounds site, and soil, will also be provided to participants unable to summit the valley ridge. Together, with spiritual elders from the Native community, the healing ceremony will take place, erasing the scar on our landscape.