A Message From Mother

Found on Facebook today:


Get your MOM the BEST present ever for mother’s day…
steward your soil, nurture nature, compost your waste, remediate local contamination, share with the innocent and the needy, teach virtues, coordinate with your neighbors and local friends and actively prioritize implementing energy systems that are clean, green and sustainable, particularly if they do not amass huge profits for corporations, set up gray water systems and research and begin humanure composting…
we ALL own the current state of our planet…
we ALL need to put in more effort toward resolution and leave behind the childish pathos of blame, hegemony and avarice…
Happy Mother’s Day, MOM…



Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

The Hopi Nation has come forward to ask for prayers for Japan, and for the restoration of balance on the earth.

Their letter can be read in full here. Here are some excerpts:

The Hopi are praying for the people of Japan and for the people around the world as we face crisis in our world out of balance.

We are in a time of great change on Mother Earth and these events have been foretold by our Elders. Through our Prophecies and our Ceremonies the sacred land of this earth is now crying. ..

As Hopi, we ask you to join with us in prayer to balance mother earth and all life. We believe that, through our prayers and that if we pray with good hearts as told by our Elders, we can lessen the impact of these events...

Hopi say that there is a path to follow that allows us to move through this time of change. Walk gently upon our earth with respect for her and all of life. A return of connecting our heart with the heart of the path to the future…


World Religious Leaders: Bold Action Needed On Climate Change

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Since Monday, dozens of religious leaders from diverse faiths have been gathering at the University of Winnipeg at the G8 Religious Leaders Summit. Besides Christian, Jewish, and Islamic leaders, there are also representatives from Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Baha’i, and Shinto traditions as well as Indigenous Spirituality. It is the first time Canada has hosted the Summit which, for the past five years, has been organized to complement the meeting of G8 political leaders. G8 leaders are meeting in Huntsville, Ontario, later this week.

A significant part of each Interfaith Leaders Summit is the writing of a statement, which underscores the nature of the G8 commitments to the Millenium Development Goals and other processes that move toward equality and justic for all children, women and men. The working statement, which is undergoing discussion and will be different at the end of the summit, can be read by clicking on: “A Time For Inspired Leadership and Action“.

I attended the summit yesterday as an observer, and was impressed and encouraged by the sense of importance and urgency that underscored the 1 1/2 hour discussion on climate change. The statement reads, in part:

Climate change has become an urgent and felt manifestation of our collective abuse of the very environment that gives us life. We see the consequences in melting icecaps and rising sea levels, lost habitats for animal and plant species, and erratic weather episodes that threaten the lives of millions of people.

As scientists discover new accelerators of climate change and note the compression of time available to avoid irreparable damage, it is clear that bold action is needed now. We need to move beyond short-term political interests and arguments over who pays. In our indivisible planet we all pay – and future generations will pay dearly – if we continue to delay decisive action now.

Around the table there were calls for courageous and concrete action. Katherine Whitecloud, an aboriginal leader from the Dakota First Nation and a descendant of Chief Sitting Bull, spoke powerful words to the gathered religious leaders. She reminded the room that the rivers are the veins of Mother Earth, and they are now poisoned.

My grandmother said, someday we will eat our children. That time has come. We are foolishly and arrogantly raping Mother Earth so She has nothing left to offer…Mother Earth is crying, attempting to rid herself of all the toxins we have poured into her [author’s note: it has been extremely wet here on the prairies recently]. You cannot wait for your president, or another elected official, to do something about this. You have to decide what YOU are going to do for your children, for your grandchildren.”

Katherine then went on to ask the assembled group about the meaning of sacrifice, because that is what is going to be needed at this point in human history.

“Sacrifice is going without so someone else will live…Now is the time for courageous and concrete action. In your heart, you know what that means.”

Katherine demonstrated the kind of bold and courageous leadership that we needed to steer through this crisis, and make the dramatic changes necessary so that our children aren’t consumed. What is each of us prepared to do?

“We Can Change. We Have The Will, The Power and The Spirit”

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Right now at The Forks, a place where people have been gathering since time before memory, things are happening that hold out hope for the rest of the world. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) chose this spot, where the Red and the Assiniboine Rivers meet in the prairie city of Winnipeg, to hold its first of seven National Events over the next five years. For four days this week, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit survivors of Indian Residential Schools and their families, as well as former school employees, are gathering to share their experiences with the TRC. Other Canadians are welcome as well, as the mandate of the Commission includes telling Canadians about the history of the Indian Residential Schools and the impacts it has had on Aboriginal children who were sent to the schools by the Canadian government.  Commissioner Mary Wilson says:

We can all learn from the lessons of the past, and walk toward respectful relations for the future… for the child taken, and the parent left behind.”

Wednesday night my partner and I were in the crowd of 18,000 as Buffy Sainte Marie and Blue Rodeo played an outdoor concert. The highlight for me was when Aboriginal leader and former MLA Elijah Harper addressed the crowd after a performance of “Fools Like You”, a song Blue Rodeo wrote about Mr. Harper and the Meech Lake Accord, when he stood up for his people and single-handedly blocked a vote in the Manitoba Legislature that would have bypassed public consultation on a major constitutional change  (click here for more info on this chapter of Canadian political history). Mr. Harper, a survivor of residential school himself, spoke of reconciliation, saying “We’re on a journey of hope and healing…Forgiveness is the most important thing.”

I spent more time at the Forks on Thursday morning, and was privileged to watch the Pipe Ceremony and Four Direction Drum calling.  I then spent time in the “Learning Tent” where Chief Robert Joseph, a hereditary chief of the Gwa wa enuk First Nation in British Columbia, led a healing circle. He shared his story of healing after spending 10 years at St. Michael’s Indian Residential School at Alert Bay on the central coast of British Colombia as a boy. Chief Joseph emphasized the spiritual nature of the healing that is needed, and invited everyone to become ambassadors of this reconciliation process:

It begins and ends with you, with individuals. We can change. We have the will, the power, and the spirit. We can leave here with new hope and a new vision of wellness for all people. We dare to look at a different future, a different kind of relationship. We can make every place sacred on this Turtle Island.

I have come away from this time at the TRC events humbled by the graciousness of the Aboriginal people and their leaders, and filled with hope that this continent’s First Peoples will lead the way to healing our relationships with each other and with the earth. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is traveling the country for the next five years with its message of healing and forgiveness. Five years is about the time we have to dramatically change our relationship to the earth, before we have irreparably damaged our Mother.  We are doomed if we can’t change our Western/European mindset, that of the colonizer and dominator, which has got us into this sorry state of affairs. It’s this kind of thinking that says making money is more important than being good stewards of the earth. If we can adopt a more indigenous way of looking at the world which recognizes that we are part of the interconnected web of life, and all life is sacred, then there is hope. This view of the world is what I saw in action this week at the Forks. In spite of their lands and way of life being taken, in spite of their children being stolen and abused, the Original Peoples of this country are still willing to extend a hand to their colonizers and abusers and walk together towards a different future. I am humbled and awed. Meegwich, from the bottom of my heart.

Former St. Micheals Residential School Alert Bay. Photo - Iwona Kellie

More links:

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

“Fools Like You” lyrics by Blue Rodeo

Photos of Buffy Sainte Marie/Blue Rodeo Concert at the Forks on ChrisD.ca

Residential Schools: The Red Lake Story

Residential Memories Unleash Tears of Anger and Forgiveness. ChristianWeek.org

A Good Friday Meditation

Good Friday is the day set aside in the Christian calendar to meditate on the death of Jesus on the cross. Millenia later, we are crucifying Mother Earth with our toxins, our garbage, our greed.

“The Earth can heal herself; we just have to stop making her sick!”

Wallace Black Elk, Lakota Elder