Harken to the Wisdom Ways of Agroecology

January 7, 2020

Harken pay heed to the wisdom ways of agroecology and to our native roots. That’s my advice as climate and geopolitical whirlwinds intensify. Those wisdom ways mark the path to a sane and healthy future for us all.

Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin. Photo by Romola Vasantha Thumbadoo.

Last year the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published a kick-in-the-gut report about the surging wave of extinction upon our local life-support system, Planet Earth.

Their report—based on the work of 450 researchers from around the world and 15,000 scientific and government reports—warned of immediate, grave danger. “The overwhelming evidence…from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture.”

The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating rapidly. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

…The late Algonquin elder Grandfather William Commanda was among the many native elders offering explicit, and enduring guidance on how to reckon with this…

…The rest of this blog post is available at Mother Earth News.

Image by FlashAlexander, Pixabay.


Big Doings at Big Mountain

May 29, 2013
Big Mountain montage by Jetsonorama and the "No Reservations Required" crew.

Big Mountain montage by Jetsonorama & No Reservations Required crew.

For most Americans the Four Corners is just a curiosity on the map where the survey lines that define four states come together and form a classic cross: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. But for many native peoples, Four Corners is a broad and austerely beautiful region bounded by four sacred mountains.* navmap Four Corners is appreciated as an exquisitely sensitive and foundationally important feminine holy place on the land, a place that serves as an earthly anchoring point for the spiritual heart of North America (Turtle Island).

Today, as has been true for over 50 years, Four Corners is under assault. Today also, as has been true for millennia, Four Corners is under the watch of human beings who have accepted their role as protectors of the land and the life that depends upon the land.

Within the Mountain boundaries of the Four Corners lies the sweeping, majestic prominence of Black Mesa in northeast Arizona. Upon the mesa, in simplicity and humility, stands Big Mountain, a geomantic ground zero. As held in traditional knowings, Four Corners in general and Black Mesa and Big Mountain in particular are understood to represent what we might conceive of as a microcosmic holograph of our entire planet — a subtle, supersensible phenomenon of the region possibly grasped only through legend, direct perception, or quantum mechanics.

What happens in the Four Corners does not stay in the Four Corners, but through the web of life and relationship resonates consequences across and within all of the Earth Mother.

coal_plant_on_mesaOver the last decades of our era, traditional native peoples at Black Mesa have lived in resistance. Strip-mines have ripped apart the sacred lands, coal-burning power plants have befouled the desert air to send electricity to the Las Vegas Strip, and elsewhere, and mining corporations have dug up the toxic ‘cledge’ (uranium). According to various Creation stories, native peoples were explicitly warned to leave the cledge unmolested; digging yellowcake up, the traditions related, would cause it to arise in the world as nayee, a monster.

In resistance of this ongoing exploitation, there will be a gathering on Black Mesa the week of June 3-9, 2013. The gathering will include workshops and conversations among the Big Mountain/Black Mesa community and other frontline resistance communities from around North America. They will participate in a native youth caucus, cultural sharing, work parties, an elders’ circle, community meals, and concerts with hip hop artists.

This June gathering is being organized by Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS), an all-volunteer, non-native collective committed to long-term, relationship-based, request-based solidarity with the native communities of Black Mesa.

This is not the first such gathering in support of Black Mesa/Big Mountain and surely will not be the last. Thousands of people have learned of Big Mountain over the last 40 years, and hundreds of gatherings have been held in support. This particular gathering is a “big doing” not so much in the sense of size, but rather in the overall context of extreme planetary imbalance or earth changes, and overall patterns of spiritual awakening.

Sovereignty Summer

The Black Mesa gathering in early June happens toward the beginnings of  Sovereignty Summer, and thus can be appreciated as a node in a network of awakenings now underway onward through 2013. What is “big” in the ultimate realm of possibilities, is the potential for good that may come from Big Mountain, from Ottawa, and from hundreds of other gatherings and non-violent actions across Turtle Island (North America).

nativeart041What unfolds on Black Mesa is part of a social movement, a people-powered uprising for a healthy planet liberated from fossil fuel extraction, exploitative economies, racism, and oppression.

The BMIS collective sets out their ideal by echoing a statement from Honor the Earth: “We believe a sustainable world is predicated on transforming economic, social, and political relationships that have been based on systems of conquest toward systems based on just relationships with each other and with the natural world. We are committed to restoring a paradigm that recognizes our collective humanity and our joint dependence on the Earth.”

General Geomantics

Occupying a spiritual axis for North America, Black Mesa is home to one of the world’s largest and richest coal mines. A site long considered sacred by traditional Hopi and Dine’ (Navajo), the mesa is also home to profitable deposits of gas, petroleum, and uranium.

As understood for millennia, Black Mesa and Big Mountain are inherently, energetically feminine. Yang, masculine digging and drilling for monetary profit and environmental ruin constitute a direct assault on this yin feminine holy center of the land we live on, North America.

In that sense Black Mesa/Big Mountain represent a microcosmic mirror of the deranged yang-masculine dominance, and the ongoing determined debasement of feminine, life-sustaining peoples, persons, substances and ways — as is evidenced all over the planet.

The native elders and the traditional families of Black Mesa appreciate coal as a substance that serves as the liver of the Sacred Female Mountain. When coal is taken from the ground, it no longer can absorb and neutralize impurities in the air and water, the arising thoughts and feelings that circulate in the atmosphere of our planet home.

Even in the face of genocide and ongoing persecution, native peoples have faithfully perpetuated ceremonies intended to give back appreciation and the primal energies of thought, feeling, song and dance to help maintain the balance of natural forces of sunlight, rain and winds, and further to reaffirm respect for all life and trust in the Great Spirit. This is how they express it. This is what they do. This is the nature of the call they are sounding, the support they seek.

Igniting a Spiritual Fire

Sovereignty Summer is a term that originated in Canada, arising through the indigenous movement Idle No More.  The movement demands sustainable development as well restoration of integrity to sworn treaties. “We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities,” the movement reasons, “and (we) have a vision and plan of how to build them. Please join us in creating this vision.”

idleIdle No More has ignited a spiritual fire in the hearts of thousands of human beings to address a range of core matters, including the fundamental issue of protecting the earth that sustains us so life may endure and we may all go forward. They intend to keep striking sparks.

The human beings who sparked Idle No More have networked with Defenders of the Land to make a declaration: “We are in a critical time,” they write, “where lives, lands, waters and Creation are at-risk and they must be protected.” They call the attention of people to the potential of Sovereignty Summer. Meanwhile, in Alberta earlier this month, many native peoples gathered to create and then to sign a historic document, the Turtle Lodge Treaty. Of this treaty we are likely to hear more in the years to come.

Big Medicine is afoot. There is a spiritual energy stirring and a larger awakening is on the horizon as we transition to Sovereignty Summer. The gathering at Big Mountain is one facet or node of this ongoing awakening.

The gathering space at Black Mesa is already full this year. Organizers cannot accommodate anyone else coming. But there are other ways to support the effort to maintain Big Mountain, Black Mesa and the Four Corners, and to support the whole of the earth in a sacred manner. That is the idea animating Sovereignty Summer: to come together not in one particular place, but to establish a spiritually respectful stance where you are called upon the land.

* The four sacred mountains: Mount Blanca in Colorado, Mount Taylor in New Mexico, San Francisco Peaks in Arizona, and Mount Hesperus in Utah.

rsz_blan


A Basic Call to Consciousness: Resounding in Year 34

October 7, 2011

Last week Doug George-Kanentiio sent me notice about the recent establishment of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge in New York State, in partnership with Syracuse University. The Institute has just been gifted a historically and spiritually vivid parcel of land for its headquarters. Thus has come about an opportunity for profoundly important old roots to settle back into the land, and to send out new branches.

Doug and his wife Joanne Shenandoah — both serving on the board for The Hiawatha Institute —  have with others long held the vision for such an institution, something that may develop to become an Indigenous University anchored on North America, open to students from all cultures and all parts of the world.

“Our way is to make it possible that people come to a meeting of the good mind,” Doug told me two years ago. “To get there, you need to sit in respect with one another. You have to invite people from all walks of life and viewpoints to share information, and you have to listen to one another.”

In learning about the establishment of the Hiawatha Institute and its mission, I was reminded of a seminal tract of reading that arose from the same native North American wisdom streams some 34 years ago this month: Basic Call to Consciousness. That’s the title of a succinct book that conveys core expressions of the oldest, deepest traditions of North America, and places them with resonant validity in the context of our raucous era.

Basic Call to Consciousness — The Haudenosaunee Address to the Western World — was initially articulated to an array of NGOs at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, October 1977, and then later published in book form by Akwesasne Notes. The work is a classic of informed and elevated political and spiritual philosophy that is acutely relevant now, and that will likely remain relevant for centuries on into the future. The Hiawatha Institute will help make that possible, striving to listen consciously to the call of the land and then to respond from the good mind.

To honor the contribution of Basic Call to world thought, and to resound its notes in this 34th year, here are some selected passages:

“For centuries we have known that each individual’s action creates conditions and situations that affect the world. For centuries we have been careful to avoid any action unless it carried a long-range prospect of promoting harmony and peace in the world. In that context, with our brothers and sisters of the Western Hemisphere, we have journeyed here (UN) to discuss these important matters with the other members of the Family of Man.”

“The way of life known as Western Civilization is on a death path…Our essential message to the world is a basic call to consciousness. The destruction of native cultures and people is the same process which has destroyed and is destroying life on this planet…

“…The principles of righteousness demand that all thoughts of prejudice, privilege or superiority be swept away and that recognition be given to the reality that Creation is intended for the benefit of all equally — even the birds and the animals, the trees and insects, as well as the human beings…”

“We are living in a period of time in which we expect to see great changes in the economy of the colonizers…We will soon see the end of an economy based on the supply of cheap oil, natural gas, and other resources, and that will greatly change the face of the world…”

“…The people who are living on this planet need to break with the narrow concept of human liberation, and begin to see liberation as something which needs to be extended to the whole of the Natural World. What is needed is the liberation of all the things that support Life — the air, the waters, the trees — all the things which support the sacred web of Life…”

You can read the text of Basic Call to Consciousness online here, or purchase a bound copy of the book through the Open Library hub.


%d bloggers like this: