Honor the Living – Native American Heritage Day
The 28th day of the eleventh month of the year 2320 – around the world the drums beat and the earth shakes with the rhythm of dancing feet. The original ones, the keepers of sacred cultures, called “the people” in their hundreds of languages, celebrate their success for saving this planet earth and creating a flourishing abundance. Through their efforts, work, ceremonies, prayers, those who had been forgotten, abused, ridiculed were the peoples who held on and led the way to preserve the earth for the survival of humans.
When the electrical grids failed, when the coastal cities flooded, when the nuclear accidents created skeleton landscapes, it was the Hopi in the mesas, the Navajo in the Canyons, and all of the other nations spread in the hills and deserts of what was known as the USA who had food, traditional methods of survival, and spiritual ceremonies for protection. Around the world, the millions of Africans in rural villages, the Indians in South America, the Tibetans and Phillipines in villages were able to survive. So many of these indigenous people were accustomed to making do that when those who had lived in material and technological excess became lost and desperate the keepers of the Sacred Ways showed the world how to live.
Maybe this is a utopian dream or maybe it could be our future. Today is Native American Heritage Day and I believe that this day will grow in significance in the coming centuries. On November 28, 2008, President George W. Bush formally recognized this as a national day to “pay tribute to Native Americans for their many contributions to the United States.” The bill was introduced by Democratic California Congressman Joe Baca, and was supported by the National Indian Gaming Association and 184 federally recognized Native American nations. This day is the culmination of November as Native American Heritage month.
Last week, I had the good fortune to listen to a few speakers during the on-line 2014 Global Indigenous Wisdom Summit. Elders and youth, activists, and educators spoke of their work to preserve traditional sacred ways, values, and life styles of indigenous people around the world. All of the speakers stressed the importance of respecting and protecting our earth and all of its creatures and elements
Two speakers particularly resonated with me. Audri Scott Williams grew up knowing of her Native American and African heritage. She has led walks around the world for peace several times, and was a major force in coordinating the International Meeting of Indigenous elders, Hidden Seeds of Natural Healing & Curing, organized by the Global Indigenous Initiative, in California, this summer. Winona LaDuke , environmental and Native American activist, ended the summit with her advise to follow the green way. I had the good fortune to meet Winona years ago, in Austin, Texas when she spoke at a gathering for Native American women. Her environmental work has been an inspiration and motivation for many for decades.
So, in between shopping, take a little time to visit some of these websites to learn more about the people who were, and remain, the original settlers and residents of this country currently called the United States of America.
Native Languages.org is an on-line resources “dedicated to preserving and promoting American Indian tribal languages, particularly through the use of Internet technology.” It provides hundreds of links to gain in-depth understanding, not only of Native American languages, but also their culture and history.
The Nawt-sa-maat Alliance, protect the sacred.org/ “is an empowered coalition of Coast Salish Indigenous Peoples, environmental, interfaith, and youth activists, and impassioned community members who love the land and waters of the Salish Sea and call it home. The Nawtsamaat Alliance is calling for unprecedented unified action to protect and restore the Salish Sea and the communities surrounding it.”
The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers “represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, and all her inhabitants.” They travel around the world educating, performing ceremonies, and praying to protect the earth and preserve the sacred indigenous ways.