April 24, 2010
As I think of it in relation to Earth Day, I am moved to post a link to Day 15 of the epic, non-fiction saga, Odyssey of the 8th Fire.
Odyssey of the 8th Fire is a an online journal I created in 2006 to tell the true story of a prayer walk for the Earth that lasted for eight months as a band of pilgrims walked from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, listening all the way to the call of the land, as well as to the people, plants, and animals who live with the land.
On Day 15 of this historic journey, the band of walkers arrived at United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City. While at the UN they remembered the explicit messages of the traditional elders of Turtle Island (North America), as they fulfilled one of the core traditions of the land they have responsibility to caretake. Because the elders words remain relevant and worthy of careful consideration, I am posting a link to that one, small but significant part of the great, long saga of a pilgrimage across our land.
Traditional elders of the Four Directions meet with UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali in his office at the conclusion of the Cry of the Earth. Photo by Wanelle Fitch, 1993.
Note: My friend Cindy Pickard has produced a positive, empowering film that explores these themes through other media: The 8th Fire.
April 14, 2010
A crucial food safety bill is expected to hit the U.S. Senate floor sometime during the week of April 19-23. The House bill and the current Senate version of the bill generally agree on closing some important loopholes to ensure food safety. However, the versions of the bill moving toward enactment are still a serious threat for small, sustainable farms, because they impose costs that are financially feasible on a mass, industrial scale, but back breaking on the small, sustainable scale.
Senator Jon Tester (D – Montana) is an organic farmer himself, so he understands the potential impact of this bill. He’s proposed an amendment that would put in place some much needed fixes. His proposed amendment to S. 510 would exempt small-scale farmers and food processors from the most burdensome regulations — elements of the bill that could stomp the growing momentum of the clean farm and food movement.
This is perhaps the last chance to change the bill since it has already passed the House. What looms is a vote before the full Senate, and then it will only get one last vote in each chamber of Congress before it goes to President Obama for his signature and becomes the law of the land.
Thus, there are only a few days left to convince each Senator to support the Tester amendment. Given that, the social action agency CREDO has set up a free fax action alert. It’s an autofax. You just enter your info on the web and click. Fast, easy, free.
Even if you’ve already called or emailed, please consider using CREDO’s action alert now to send a fax and register your opinion with your Senator. Every action makes a difference.
April 1, 2010
Later this month in Santa Fe, New Mexico, my friend Cindy Pickard will premiere her new film, Manitou Api – Where the Sun Rises.
Manitou Api is an Anishinabe native way of saying “where Creator sits.” The words designate one the most sacred places on the land for aboriginal people in North America. It is a point of connection, a key to healing. The new film is woven through with the elemental teachings of our land, and the associated mysteries.
You can learn more about the film on the Manitou Api home page. Be sure the sound is turned up on your computer, so you can hear a native echo of the call of the land arranged by the legendary Tom Bee.
Two years ago Cindy premiered her film ‘The 8th Fire’ in Santa Fe to a packed house out at the Institute for American Indian Arts. For the occasion she brought in Dave Courchene, Jr., Larry Dossey, and the Black Eagle drum group from Jemez Pueblo. This premiere of Manitou Api should be equally memorable.
“These 7 laws — love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and truth — were symbolized and represented by animals, which reflected our connection to nature and our connection to the land. The spirituality of our people is deeply rooted and connected to the land. You cannot live on this land honoring all that there is on the land unless you understand these 7 laws. If we do not understand these 7 laws that we are inspired to live by, then there is a good chance that we will not respect the land and that we will disconnect ourselves from what comes from the land. But if we live by these 7 laws, that is when we will have a truly happy and peaceful life, in harmony with all of nature and each other as the human family.”
– Dave Courchene, Jr.