This morning I have the opportunity to talk about my experiences with Native peoples. As I was preparing for this, I realized my spiritual environmental journey led me to Indigenous peoples.
Some recent experiences have helped me move along the path of learning more. One was participating on the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March, where about 40 Native and non native people walked together along the path of the Dakota Access Pipeline in central Iowa. We spent eight days walking from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, Iowa, a distance of 94 miles. Being together that long, much of the time walking down deserted Iowa roads was an amazing opportunity for us to get to know each other and share our stories.
This summer I was blessed to help organize some workshops and presentations titled “Toward Right Relationships with Native Peoples”, developed by Paula Palmer and Native leaders. The intention of this project is to teach people the history and present day issues related to things that happened, and continue to happen, between Native people and white people in the United States.
Being a visual person, I began to visualize what these interconnected things looked like to me as shown below. To summarize, I have spent my life trying to convince people we need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. I had hoped to see people stop having personal automobiles, and I did about 40 years ago. I obviously was not successful. It was especially difficult to try to find ways for this to happen in rural communities and towns where no mass transportation was available.
As I try to explain in the diagram above, as I had no success related to cars and fossil fuel, I began to want to learn more from Native people, who have always lived in sacred relationship with Mother Earth and each other.
Now I am working to find ways to bring Native spiritual and environmental ways to the attention of those who want to show how to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and address the spiritual poverty that has also been a part of our culture of materialism and unsustainable economic growth.
Here is a link to the online version of a PowerPoint presentation I plan to use as I talk about this at Des Moines Valley Friends meeting this morning.
Your prayers for this endeavor would be most welcome, thank you.