While the world celebrates Earth Day, I realize the value and importance of this day. Whether to ease the conscious or to appease the world, on this day, human beings around the world are sharing in the acknowledgment. The tremendous responsibility in protecting Mother Earth is one conscious Indigenous people are very aware of. The factual knowledge and truth about this subject is something Indigenous people have known since time immemorial and are born into as a life way. However, with the interruption of our life ways with colonialism, we have people who have lost their memory and are asleep. It’s time to wake up all our people and see Mother Earth also needs us.
As a responsibility, protecting and caring for Mother Earth entails fighting big oil development which results in pollutants contaminating fresh water ecosystems and the animals that are a part of that environment. But also, practicing our cultural ways such as gathering. As an Indigenous woman, I am reminded of a story my grandmother once told me about taking anything from Mother Earth. For example, our sacred medicines, or taking the life of an animal, there is a balance. We give offerings before we do these acts of faith and belief for a reason, to maintain the balance of nature who sustains us as Indigenous people. At the young tender age of 19, I had no conception of what my granny was sharing yet deep inside I also knew she prepared me for this time and for that I am grateful.
Which brings me to my next subject hunting and gathering. Over the winter, I took up archery and have been reading up on this subject to calibrate. In the process, I began watching the Outdoor Sportsman channel and have found some of the non-Indigenous practices of hunting disturbing. As I critique their practices, it is their lack of balance and sacredness behind taking the life of an animal and even their practices of sportsman hunting that have me thinking all the more reason why I champion the Indigenous ways of life.
Sacredness, whether it is in the gathering practices, hunting, fishing, and sustainable living, is a teaching that we as Indigenous people are very aware of in our epistemologies. The fact that we live according to the laws of what we are taught and instructed regarding maintaining balance with Mother Nature is why we fight to protect the lands of our ancestors.
We don’t celebrate “earth day” once a year, we acknowledge, celebrate, and honor Mother Earth everyday at sunrise and sunset in prayer. We also celebrate Mother Earth in our ceremonies when we dance and sing for our spring, summer, and fall harvests of roots and berries, our fish runs, our hunting, but most of all, as Indigenous people, we honor the sheer existence of our life ways because it is directly linked to homelands. For these reasons and others, we fight to protect our Mother Earth.
As I enclose, I would like to include, everything is connected. The human race has done more than enough damage to ecosystems where our relatives of the animal world have suffered. Protecting Mother Earth also means the protection of the very animals that are also our weyekin (spirit helpers). Time to stand up and fight the good fight, our ancestors did, why aren’t we?