Mother Earth / 2008

Blog Entry Mother Earth 2008 by Ann for everyone
Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject:


“Mother Earth 2008
For more than half a century, American Indian elders have called attention to humankind’s impacts upon our Mother Earth. Elders of many Native cultures …AppreciationEverything in the world needs to know that it is appreciated.

It is true that plant beings are nourished by soil and air, but it is known too that their health and well being is encouraged by our words. Thus, do the Natural People speak to the plants, encouraging them to carry on in their plant ways, and for this reason, our grandparents walked among the Corn Sisters and talked to them, encouraging them to grow. It is a way that our spirits encourage the spirits of other beings of this World. Everything in the world is encouraged in this way.

The Natural World People say that this is the first duty of the People, that they show an appreciation and a high regard for one another. We can see that it is the natural way, just as the first thing people do upon meeting is to greet one another with a wish of good health. This is the way of a Natural People, in the greeting of other human beings, and it is their way to extend these greetings to the other beings of this world also.

The Real People come together to express an appreciation for the beings of the Universe, such as the feathered beings and the grass beings, and in this way they are participating in one aspect of the Life-Supportive process. And it is said that there are those who do not participate in this process, who do not have an appreciation of the other spirit beings of the world, who are not Natural People.

The Natural People are those who participate in the natural processes and the natural processes are nurturing ones. It is the way of a Natural People to nurture the Life-Supportive Processes of the World through the process of appreciation and greetings and thanksgiving.

—John Mohawk, All Children of Mother Earth, 1976

Call to Consciousness on Climate Change

For more than half a century, American Indian elders have called attention to humankind’s impacts upon our Mother Earth. Elders of many Native cultures subscribe to the concept that our decisions today must take into consideration their effects upon future generations. The climate change dilemma represents an important challenge to the global community to incorporate into its practices and policies not only the prevailing evidence offered by science, but also wisdom and knowledge regarding the interrelatedness of all life on Earth.

American Indians are among the most ardent observers of the natural world. From the Inuit of the Arctic region, to the Hopi and Navajo of the American Southwest, to the Mapuche of southern Chile, there is growing Native testimony about the effects of climate change.

Across North America, tribes are responding to climate change with initiatives of their own, particularly programs that reduce communities’ carbon footprints by switching to alternative energy systems. From the Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop held in 1998 to the Tribal Lands Climate Conference in 2006 and ongoing initiatives today, tribal leaders and organizations have been working actively to develop responses and solutions to impending climate change.

In the quest to understand the impacts of human activity, scientists are increasingly teaming up with Native sources of cultural and empirical knowledge of environment and habitat. While scientific study often takes many years to analyze and decipher, Native peoples’ ongoing, long-established observation of natural patterns and changes are of high value for their continuity and currency. Now these voices are joining with those of non-Native scientists, policy makers, and business leaders.

The museum is working to concentrate attention on this subject in national American cultural and scientific life, to raise awareness that actions taken today will shape the course of the future. Climate change is an issue not only of science and policy, but of culture and worldview. We aim to encourage unity of thought and consciousness bridging Native elders, climate scientists, federal government representatives, private-sector interests, and tribes with global warming initiatives.

Preserving the health of the Mother Earth is our generation’s gravest responsibility. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, as an institution of living cultures, is committed to elevating human understanding about global climate change through education, cultural performances, and civic engagement programs. We are delighted to continue our Mother Earth—Indian Summer Showcase this year with programs that feature the ancient messages of living American Indian cultures, overviews of the state of the science, and reports on important responses to climate change by Native communities. It is time to regain that integrated understanding of the world that for millennia has characterized Native traditions.”

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