|Sweetgrass at Minnesota Goose Garden|
Photo by J. Harrington
If you really want to make a contribution to a sustainable future for all who live in the US, and that's what I believe is at stake in North Dakota, read Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass, Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. In one of the later chapters, she highlights why what we have seen, and seen accomplished, to defeat Keystone, Sandpiper and, we hope, DAPL, is so critically important.
"Despair is paralysis. It robs us of agency. It blinds us to our own power and the power of the earth. Environmental despair is a poison every bit as destructive as the methylated mercury in the bottom of Onondaga Lake. But how can we submit to despair while the land is saying 'Help'? Restoration is a powerful antidote to despair. Restoration offers concrete means by which humans can once again enter into positive, creative relationship with the more-than-human world, meeting responsibilities that are simultaneously material and spiritual. It's not enough to grieve. It's not enough to just stop doing bad things."
|moss on a decaying log|
Photo by J. Harrington
The other book I would add to the list is Kimmerer's Gathering Moss. In it she notes:
"...In indigenous ways of knowing, all beings are recognized as non-human persons, and all have their own names, It is a sign of respect to call a being by its name, and a sign of disrespect to ignore it. Words and names are the ways we humans build relationships, not only with each other, but also with plants."Minnesota is recognizing its need for a new, more vigorous water ethic. We will need to show respect for each other to be successful. The values being shown by Native Americans at Standing Rock, and reflected in the quotes above, should help Minnesotans develop that ethic and others respect the value of a Missouri River without additional contamination from pipelines that shouldn't be built if we hope to have a world in which our descendants can thrive rather than just survive. A similar argument applies to unnecessary and unduly risky copper-sulfate mines proposed for northern Minnesota.
By Joy Harjo
To pray you open your whole selfTo sky, to earth, to sun, to moonTo one whole voice that is you.And know there is moreThat you can’t see, can’t hear;Can’t know except in momentsSteadily growing, and in languagesThat aren’t always sound but otherCircles of motion.Like eagle that Sunday morningOver Salt River. Circled in blue skyIn wind, swept our hearts cleanWith sacred wings.We see you, see ourselves and knowThat we must take the utmost careAnd kindness in all things.Breathe in, knowing we are made ofAll this, and breathe, knowingWe are truly blessed because weWere born, and die soon within aTrue circle of motion,Like eagle rounding out the morningInside us.We pray that it will be doneIn beauty.In beauty.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.