Category: Original Caretakers

What is Ethnoecology?

Ethnoecology is an interdisciplinary field of study that enables a human group with a land-based culture to share how they conceive the ecosystem they inhabit. The root ‘ethno’ points to the native character of the human group; however, ethnoecology is also pertinent to those who are indigenous to a place, meaning those who have been interacting in harmonious and reciprocal ways for decades or generations, such as forest or desert dwellers, or small farmers, herders or fishermen. In all instances, what characterizes the human groups is the way in which they perceive the web of life and conceive their participation in it. They have come to understand, from accumulated experience, that dynamic processes are constantly shaping the way they see and interact with the natural world. The resulting outcome of such interaction is a bioculture, and, even if it retains identifiable and distinguishable features over time, the bioculture is always susceptible to acquiring, modifying or losing some identity traits.

Ethnoecology encourages people from a common bioregion to come together and integrate a descriptive picture’ of how they have been living with the natural world that they call home. There is both a theoretical and a methodological framework that facilitates the integration of such picture. It is a description that includes detailed mappings of skyscapes, landscapes and underworlds—or subsurface territories— where both tangible and intangible aspects are equally relevant. The full picture is achieved by integrating three main dimensions which we call: kosmos, corpus and praxis.

 

 

Figure 1. An example of integration of the kosmos-corpus-praxis of a community presented by Pauli et al. on a worldview review of farmer’s knowledge systems.

Kosmos refers to the belief and value systems that give sense to the mysterious aspects of the world. Belief systems produce societal cohesion, and the human groups that are immersed in the natural world and are connected to its unfolding get to experience biocultural cohesion. Among indigenous peoples who have intentionally remained in the margins of colonizing paradigms, the natural world enables the development of a spiritual reverence to, and respect for, the seen and the unseen. This is easily ascertained by those who, when collaboratively integrating this kind of information, do so from a neutral place in terms of religious dogma. All in all, the kosmos dimension highlights the symbolic and spiritual world of these peoples.

Corpus refers to the knowledge acquired about the natural world by minds that periodically come together and integrate information perceived through the senses and apprehended and assimilated in different ways. In general, indigenous minds have been culturally induced/educated/motivated to discern what information from the natural world is relevant in order to maintain or recover collective harmony—and never to secure immediate individual satisfaction. In favorable conditions, indigenous people become skilled in paying attention to how healthy ecosystemsand all withinact and interact. Whilst keeping track of predictable and cyclic unfoldings, they are also mindful that nature is always experimenting; thus, surprising emergences, creative responses and innovation of complex living systems are carefully observed. Wisdom goes beyond the capacity of the mind to rationally process information at different scales of time and space. It requires a prayerful and meditative way of being in the world and the capacity to connect to dreams and to the realm of the intangible world. The corpus of knowledge and wisdom enables human groups to contribute in a creative way to the overall purpose set by their anteceding generations: one of building endurance and resilience with the ecosystem they inhabit, so to become a single entity which we call a socioecosystem.

Praxis refers to the practical and technological systems that enable the physical, hands-on interaction with both the tangible and intangible aspects of the natural world. There are many skills that people develop in order to grow crops, farm animals, cultivate bees, forage edible plants, fruits, mushrooms and medicinal plants, fish or hunt. These skills go hand in hand with knowledge that has been accumulated, affirmed and complemented for generations. Complementary to skills are the ritual acts that are performed to ensure good communication with the spirit world. Asking for permission to sow seeds, to set up a beehive or to fish, and asking the spirits when and how much can be grown or fished, or when and how much it will rain, is all achieved through rituals; and it is only after listening to the spirits, that the tangible aspect of praxis may be carried out. Technological systems developed in these socioecosystems avoid being invasive or disruptive to natural cyclessmall or largebecause there is an understanding that their thresholds cannot be surpassed. There are all kinds of creation stories, songs, traditional dances, elder-youth dialogues, initiation rites, planting and harvesting feasts and healing practices that keep community members in a harmonious connection with the complex and mysterious living systems. Such is the way in which, in ideal conditions, these societies have put in place an observance system so to prevent human interference with natural processes.

Ethnoecology is based on a post normal science approach. Conventional science requires a subject-object approach to indigenous and small farming communities, whereas post normal science, as proposed by Functowitz and Ravez, dissolves those categories and recognizes expertise in every member of a society, especially in times of crisis. Ethnoecology uses tools from disciplines as varied as cultural geography, new ecology and environmental humanities. All of these share in common a postmodern perspective, challenging to deconstruct conceptsstarting with the human conceptand questioning long-standing statements about the ‘human condition. In the past few decades humanities have thus been addressing the ontological exceptionality of the human, and more particularly, of the Westernized and colonized person. In this regard, the sense of superiority of the Western scientist over nature and over communities linked to nature, is also dissolved, eliminating—or, at least, minimizing—the possibility of reductionism, misinterpretations and the detrimental outcomes.

It is comforting to see the emergence of indigenous thinkers and scientists like Vine Deloria, Leroy Littlebear or Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Oren Lyons, for they offer the foundational basis of native thought to begin dialogue with those who are ready to go beyond the boundaries of anthropocentrism and its paradigms. In these times of civilizational crisis in tandem with planetary crisis, we are offering the ethnoecological framework to enrich such a needed dialogue. This framework has been mainly cultivated by my Mexican mentors Victor Toledo and Narciso Barrera-Bassols, founders of the Thematic Network of Biocultural Heritage, and it has shaped participatory research in land-based communities in many continents in empowering ways. Hopefully it will become adopted by indigenous communities and their younger members. Regardless of whether they are attending or not formal education, they might find benefit in Ethnoecology to communicate, in a holistic way, their way of thinking and living in community with all their relations.

The Center for Earth Ethics Stands with Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Center for Earth Ethics Stands with the Masphee Wampanoag Tribe for the protection of their homelands and all lands, waters and sacred sites of tribal nations and indigenous peoples around the world.  During this time of the Coronavirus the Mashpee have received notice of dissolution of their lands (statement on Mashpee Wampanoag Website) and have since filed a court injunction.

“The Mashpee Wampanoag tribal people have called this land home for over 12,000 years. Their history predates the United States and they were the tribe who welcomed the Pilgrims in the 17th Century. The Tribe fought the U.S. government for recognition for nearly 40 years before finally becoming a federally recognized tribe in 2007. However, they have remained landless.” – From Massachusetts Congressman, Joe Kennedy’s statement of support.

 

***Please watch this important message from Mashpee Chairman, Cedric Cromwell.***

 

The Unitarian Universalist Association has compiled a list of resources for faith communities to learn about the case and take action in solidarity at this critical time.

You can also sign the MOVE ON petition here.

 

Letters can be sent to:

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

CHAIRMAN Sen. John Hoeven – Senator for North Dakota and 

VICE CHAIRMAN Sen. Tom Udall – Senator for New Mexico

838 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-2251

 

U.S. Department of the Interior, the Secretary David Bernhardt and our bureaus:

Mailing Address:
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Phone (with employee directory): (202) 208-3100

 

#StandWithMashpee

Miradas Contemporáneas de los Pueblos Originarios en México: Contemporary views of native peoples in Mexico

Contemporary Views of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico summarizes a broad discussion on the role of native groups in Mexico and the condition of ethnic groups throughout the national territory. For hundreds of years, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples have been excluded from the central development of Mexico, and to a greater or lesser extent, these groups have occupied a residual place in the public policies of the different governments, and have regularly suffered discrimination for part of the rest of the population.

CEE’s Mindai Bastida contributes, authoring the first chapter in the publication, “Los Pueblos Originarios en el Contexto de la Globalización” (The Original People in the Context of Globalization).

PDF Access Page through the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico Portal

Miradas contemporáneas de los pueblos originarios en México

Estrada Rodríguez, José LuisHerrera Tapia, FranciscoBastida Muñoz, Mindahi CrescencioMarcos Martínez, FranciscoArredondo-Ayala, Georgina MaríaFranco Maass, SergioCruz Balderas, YolandaNateras González, Martha ElisaCisneros, José LuisAnguiano Luna, HilarioPillado Albarrán, Karla VioletaRamírez Hernández, Javier JesúsTorres Oregón, FredydAvitia Rodríguez, Jessica AlejandraMontero Gutenberg, GervasioLinas Montiel, GuadalupeMoctezuma Pérez, SergioQuintero Salazar, BacilizaGarduño Mendoza, MarthaSam Bautista, María MagdalenaHernández Rivera, AriadnaMendieta Ramírez, AraceliAlejandro García, Saúl
Fecha: 2019-08-10

Resumen:

Este libro resume una amplia discusión sobre el papel que tienen los grupos originarios en México y la condición de las etnias a lo largo del territorio nacional. Desde hace cientos de años los pueblos indígenas y afrodescendientes han sido excluidos del desarrollo central de México, y en mayor o menor medida, estos grupos han ocupado un lugar residual en las políticas públicas de los diferentes gobiernos, y sufrido de manera regular la discriminación por parte del resto de la población.

Mostrar el registro completo del objeto digital

“Holy Land, Living Water” – Convening Celebrates UN WIHW 2020

Let the Parliament of the World’s Religions take you on a journey through story, videos and photos of an interfaith pilgrimage to remember the Sacredness of Water & the power of connecting with Sacred Sites of every faith.

***

From February 1st through February 7th, on the official observance of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Parliament joined international partners for Holy Land, Living Water. Presented by Unity Earth, the United Religions Initiative (URI), and EcoPeace Middle EastHoly Land, Living Water was a historic week-long pilgrimage across the Holiest Sites of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, along a path through the Jordan River Valley, where water has played a vital role in the sustenance of the region. Its scarcity has become amplified by climate change and population growth. In addition, some of the founding stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are set along the Jordan River banks and the valley contains sites sacred to half of humanity.

This event also commemorated the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week of 2020, with nearly 100 international delegates, among them Parliament Chair Audrey Kitagawa, from a wide array of cultural and faith backgrounds coming together to share spiritual practices, values and visions of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and harmonious world.

Parliament Chair, Audrey Kitagawa, participated in a panel and gave a speech as part of the U-Nite Concert. Enjoy recordings from the gathering below.


Want to learn more about the programming, explore short summaries and enjoy images from each day of the gathering below.

Day 1

Dinner near Dead Sea

The journey began with an inspiring night of sharing, homogenizing, and messages of interfaith cooperation, hope, peace, and unity from the Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, Rev. Deborah Moldow, Chief Phil Lane Jr. and other prominent religious leaders. This welcome dinner, hosted by Executive Director of Unity Earth Ben Bowler, took place by the Dead Sea, famous for its religious significance and numerous mentions in the Bible. It is the lowest and most mineral-rich body of water in the world. The gathering set the stage for a week of visits to the sacred sites of the Holy Land.

Day 2

Mount Nebo

The Parliament Chair and Unity Earth participants visited the sacred site of Mount Nebo, an important place of pilgrimage where Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. The group paid their respects at the commemorated site, the Memorial Church of Moses and the Siyagha (monastery).  They gathered in front of the Brazen Serpent Monument, symbolic of the bronze serpent Moses created in the wilderness and the cross Jesus was crucified. Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam and Rev. Sylvia Sumter offered blessings, prayers, and messages of hope. Banners of peace, unity, and reverence toward water were displayed.

Water Ceremony on the Dead Sea

At sunset, Dr. Mindahi Bastida Muñoz led the group in the Four Directions Water Ceremony by the Dead Sea, a Native American blessing that calls on the Four Directions (East, North, West and South). The ceremony was conducted by First Nations elders who recognize the sacredness of water, the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of protecting our water from pollution.  The ceremony on the Dead Sea was significant because of the reduced water flow.

Dead Sea Convergence

An ecology conference was held by the Dead Sea concerning the Holy Land and the Jordan River. Faith leaders from around the world discussed the intersection of faith, ecology, and the importance of water for supporting human life as well as its spiritual significance. Ben Bowler emceed the event. Yana Abu Taleb, Nada Majdalani, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Professor Kathryn Libal, and His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi gave presentations. Gidon Bromberg moderated a diverse five-person panel of prominent faith leaders to discuss the ecological and spiritual significance of water in general and the Jordan River in particular. The panelists were the Parliament Chair, Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Rabbi Gabriel Hagai, Haji Syed Salman Chishty, and Ven. Dr. Phramaha Boonchuay Doojai.

May Peace Prevail on Earth Flag Ceremony

Various members of the group chanted for peace in a circle as they created a mosaic of flags representing all of the countries in the world.

Day 3

Al-Maghtas Baptism Site at Jordan River

The sacred Al-Maghtas Baptism Site on the Jordan River is considered the third holiest place in Christianity.  It is the official baptism site of Jesus, called Qasr al-Yahud, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. The group gathered in the pavilion near the bank of the river for a prayer for the Jordan River. Religious leaders of different faiths gave their blessing to the River. Faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Indigenous traditions blessed members of the group with the holy waters on the bank of the Jordan River.

Indigenous Timekeeping – A Different Accounting for Leap Year’s February 29th

Figure 1

 

“Thanks, no need for February 29”, says Maya calendar to Gregorian calendar.

Ever since the first friars were describing the clockwork of the Mesoamerican calendar system, there has been a hot dispute about whether a 365-day reckoning system could remain fixed to a single solar date. This is because, as we know, a trained observer of the Sun’s year cycle will notice that the Sun returns to its middle point on the horizon after a number of days that fluctuates between 365, 365, 365 and 366. 

In the Yucatan Peninsula, Franciscan friar Juan Diego de Landa explained that the Maya calendar accounted for 365 k’in and six hours, the same is said in the contemporary Huichapan Codex for the Otomi calendar. However, the abstract thought required to explain how that actually worked seems to have been absent among Western scholars. Did the six hours (or quarter-day) build up for four consecutive years so to produce an extra day? Did the quarter-day play in the timekeeping immediately after the 365 k’in? 

As centuries went by and traditional timekeepers were systematically deprived of maintaining their original timekeeping rituals, it became a convention to say that the Mesoamerican Calendar is imprecise or imperfect. Just as inquisitorial processes accused Maya priests and astronomers of working with evil, their calendar system, a most precious intellectual product, was sentenced to forever lag behind and be useless as an instrument to keep track of seasons and related year-cycle festivities.

After almost two decades of collective research with Otomi, Yucatec, K’iche and Kaqchikel scholars and traditional priests, we have advanced in understanding that the ‘mystery’ of the last quarter-day lies in the role played by the so-called four Year Bearers. They stand in each quadrant of a traditional community and have the key task of counting 365 k’in a quarter of a day later than their neighboring bearer within a four-year cycle. The Year Bearers are reported by friar Landa but are no longer present in Yucatan time keeping. They had specific names and orientations, and people were in charge of activating each Year Bearer from east to north to west to south. In Santiago Atitlan, a traditional Guatemalan community at the feet of two sacred volcanoes by the shore of a lake, it is Maximom who is the keeper of four community wards. His image appears on Figure 1. Every year, he is moved from ward to ward and a new tie is wrapped around his neck to symbolize the completion of a new cycle. 

These practices show the importance of rituals in preserving key aspects of traditional knowledge. As reminiscence of the original ways of keeping the calendar in pace with the Sun cycle, they are key today in helping communities recover its harmonious way of relating with natural cycles.

Today we are closer to the day when Maya timekeepers will say, “Thanks, no need for February 29, our ancestors developed their own way of keeping in pace with the Sun!”

Watch this Video to learn more!

***

Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina is a Scholar in Residence for Union Theological Seminary and Original Caretakers Fellow at the Center for Earth Ethics. She is a member of the Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council in Mexico, and a professor of ethnoecology. Born to Chilean parents of Celtic and Mapuche origins, Patrick Encina received her doctorate in ethnoecology and social sciences from El Colegio Mexiquense, A. C. in 2007; she also holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. She has been a visiting professor in Honduras and Argentina, and held faculty positions at several Mexican universities. Her research focuses on archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy, particularly on ancestral and current ways of measuring and conceiving time and natural cycles in Mesoamerica, especially among Maya, Nahua and Otomian cultures.

Learn more…

Holy Land – Living Water

Middle East (Jordan, Palestine and Israel)

The Holy Land Living Water event, organized by Unity Earth in collaboration with EcoPeace Middle East and in partnership with the United Religions Initiative, has been a historic journey of spirit, music and ecology. The event took place on February 1-7, 2020, and we visited sacred places and shared rituals and ceremonies in Jordan, Israel and Palestine.

This journey and pilgrimage forms part of Unity Earth’s Road to 2020, “a series of worldwide events designed to capture new opportunities for weaving a spirit of unity and peaceful coexistence across the Earth”. The Jordan River Valley, which is of high importance for the Abrahamic Religions, was the main focus of the journey along with visits to related sacred places. In the Middle East, water is critical for survival of many species and people and it has been under dispute for decades.

The Jordan River is a sacred river. Over the past fifty years almost all of the waters have been diverted and the remaining waters have been polluted and commodified, especially in the Lower Jordan. This means the Jordan River Valley has been under desecration and is now facing ecological crisis. This injustice is threatening the people and the environment, and it is a situation that is being addressed in a joint effort to recover peace and dignity in the Holy Land. One of the purposes of this journey has been to bring attention to the importance of cooperation around water management and about the human relationship with water for a higher standard of living in the territory. This could enhance sustainable livelihoods and generate regional political stability.

This event brought ecologists and spiritual leaders from different faith traditions to share about the importance to uphold a common conviction, not just among monotheist Abrahamic faiths. We also spoke about the importance to practice responsible stewardship for the land and specifically for water, because the sacred element of water is at the core of raising awareness about our relationship with nature and ultimately with Mother Earth. There is an urgent need to achieve peace among peoples, but most important is to be at peace with Mother Earth – our common home.

It has also been the intention of this international event to bring public awareness to the work of EcoPeace about the socio-ecological rehabilitation and sustainability of the lower Jordan Valley, shared by Jordan, Palestine and Israel. The event has used a “faith-based approach showcased in EcoPeace’s Regional NGO Master Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Jordan River Valley, as the symbolism of the Jordan River can encourage Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faithful to actively support conservation efforts of this shared natural resource”. This was affirmed during our trip and addressed at the Dead Sea Convergence: Interfaith Ecology Conference held on February 2nd.

In the trip there were more than ninety international delegates and around forty delegates from the region. Among the delegates were representatives of Indigenous Peoples from Mexico (Otomi-Toltec), United States (Dine-Navajo, Lakota), Canada (Anishinaabe), Australia (Aboriginals) and Thailand (Karen).
There were also representatives of different faith traditions, spiritual leaders of Islam, Christians, Jewish, Buddhists among others. The presence of the Green Sheik of the Arab Emirates, the Prince of Ethiopia, an Ambassador to the African Union, reggae and traditional and mystic singers, academics and scientists gave relevance to the pilgrimage.

As a representative of the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics and as a spiritual representative of the Otomi-Toltec Peoples, I joined this international delegation for a historic sacred pilgrimage across the Sacred Sites of Jordan, Israel and Palestine. The Holy Land Living Water journey was dedicated principally to share worldviews, ceremonies and prayers mainly to the Jordan River Holy waters.

This event also took place in the framework of celebrating the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. My participation at this event was to share and conduct the Four Directions Ceremony – Water Ceremony by the Dead Sea with all delegates, especially with the leadership of Indigenous spiritual leaders, to honor the Holy Land, the Dead Sea and the Jordan River.

We visited the most sacred places where we honored the sacred sites. During our journey we went to Al Maghtas Baptism Site, Abu-Obeida Mosque, Mount of Temptation, Church of Nativity Bethlehem, the old city of Jerusalem, Sea of Galilee, and carried out a special ceremony for Peace and Healing at Megiddo (Armageddon), led by Indigenous Spiritual Elders. At the end of the journey there was the U-NITE Harmony Week Concert and the visit to the Bahá’i Gardens in Haifa in order to close the trip and celebrate Unity.

Final Thoughts
I have been participating with Unity Earth in previous similar events in Australia, Ethiopia, the US and Canada. In all the events I have been representing my ancestral Indigenous spirituality. My work has been to share ancestral wisdom of Indigenous Peoples and to share values through indigenous ceremonies and also through speeches. This has also helped to support the work that we do at Center for Earth Ethics, called Healing and Balancing Mother Earth and Protecting Sacred Sites, which we carry out worldwide thanks to the support of Forum 21, The Fountain, and other private contributions.

In our view, the Jordan River is a biocultural sacred river that is meaningful to the region and the world, and healing and balance is needed. We want to continue to raise awareness about this situation and join efforts with the Regional NGO EcoPeace and other local initiatives.

A message from the Dead Sea
I arrived at Amman, Jordan, together with my friends, reggae singers Pato Banton and Antoinette Rootsdawtah. It was late when we got to the hotel by the shores of the Dead Sea, it was already around 2 am of February 2nd , and I went to sleep soon after, but it was just for less than an hour because a strong energy woke me up. When it was at 3 am when I began to hear a deep wailing. I didn’t get scared, but it was a hurtful cry. The crying lasted for at least ten minutes. I began to pray and concentrate so I could know where this crying was coming from. After some minutes I realized that everything was in complete silence, so I could distinguish the direction of the howling. It took me some time to understand that it was a feminine wailing and that it was coming from the heart of the Dead Sea. Then, I understood that it was the crying of Mother Earth, it was the crying of the Holy Waters that are suffering and are asking for help.

EcoPeace’s River Out of Eden Inter-faith Tool Kit

Read and Sign the Covenant for the Jordan River

Holy Land Video & Photos

Living Water Festival in Megiddo Brings Spiritual Leaders Together

We want to take you now to NorthernIsrael to the historic site of Megiddo where a peaceproject called LIVING WATERS brought togetherspiritual and political leaders. Among them, the grandsonof Ethiopia’s Emperor. Our correspondent Emily Francestells us more.

Posted by Holy Land Uncovered – i24NEWS on Sunday, February 23, 2020

 

Water Ceremony at the Dead Sea – CEE’s Mindahi Bastida (right)

 

Women in prayer over the water led by Diné elder Pat McCabe

 

Delegates visiting Abu-Obeida Mosque

Parenting in the Time of Climate Change Part II: Geraldine Patrick at the BPL

Concerned About Parenting? Try Humbling Yourself And Paying Attention

Last month, about fifty parents gathered at Brooklyn Public Library thanks to a series that they put together with 350 Brooklyn called Climate Wednesdays

At the talk our moderator Tom Roderick asked people to share their feelings. Anger, anxiety, fear, incertitude, overwhelming thoughts, self-blame or guilt, unrest, despair… all were expressed, in words or in body language –even in weeping faces. We, the speakers who had been featured on the events page as ‘experts’ presented ourselves as non-experts, but as proactive parents trying to figure out how to stand in a world so fragile. 

What I had jotted down a few days before the talk had been this: children are essentially Wisdom bringers, Truth tellers, Keepers of the word and Messengers of original principles of life. Such is the impression I have of children, and I referred to those aspects indirectly, using some brief anecdotes. What might catch the eye is that I consider they are ‘keepers of the word’. Yes: when they are very small they quickly acquire a concept of what keeping the word means; and they hold high hopes when a sacred pact is set with their adult party for the first time. I’m talking of an agreement such as, if I do my chores on time, you’ll take me to play in the park, or, you’ll get me a teddy bear if I give my best at school. But when the adult breaks the pact –even if out of mere distraction or obliviousness— we may have lost the precious opportunity to raise a child that trusts the word –and world– of adults. If parents/tutors carry on disregarding or disrespecting what keeping the word means, socializing stages and emotional intelligence may be severely affected. It may then become very difficult for the child to advance some initiative within the family, the school or broader community spheres. Whatever we as adults do to repair that condition of mistrust, we must openly show that we believe in the words and intentions of our child, leaving room for them to come up with creative ideas and supporting them all the way. Urgency is such that we can only humble ourselves, recognize our mistake and offer to keep the word of commitment so to co-participate in creating harmonious and sustainable livelihoods. 

In this humbling process, we adults need to pay attention to many of our own actions, for, aren’t we trying to model a way of life that makes sense to our children and motivates them to stand up? So here go some introspective questions that I didn’t get to share with the parents that day, but that might help us to pay attention on a daily basis:

Are we living each day in gratefulness for who brought us to the world, starting with the first of mothers, Mother Earth?

Are we honoring each of the four elements of life on every occasion?

Are we giving life back to the plants and animals whose lives we take?

Are we showing what a responsible consumer cares for in all scales of time and space? 

Are we considering all externalities involved in what we produce or consume?

Are we growing at least some of our own food, however small or large it may be in proportion to our needs? Are we respecting seasonal cycles and preferring local produce so to reduce footprints?

Are we showing that we care for human communities of all sociocultural conditions that live within and are related to ecological communities under some current or future level of threat, and in so doing, are we listening to those we offer to support and work with? 

As we wake up every morning, let us go over these and similar questions, and also schedule time to continue sharing what it means to be parenting in these very sensitive times, when building endurance and resilience with wisdom and love is crucial. Thank you Amy Adelman and Tom Roderick for the opportunity to share with all parents and especially with Liat and Nikki.

 

Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina is an Original Caretakers Fellow for the Center for Earth Ethics and a Scholar in Residence at Union Theological Seminary.

Indigenous leaders mobilize in Paris to recognize the rights of “Mother Earth”

biodiversity

Invited by the Amazon Planet Association, Amazonian, Mexican, and Maasai spiritual leaders, people who have been protecting biodiversity for thousands of years, come together to convince world leaders and civil society to treat “Mother Earth” as a rights-bearing entity.

 

Our Earth has a fever, we are worried, we need to unify our energies to save life “.  In a wool vest, with beautiful deep thought and a dense voice, the leader Mindahi Bastida, Otomi Officer of the people of Mexico, powerfully explained, Wednesday, October 23 for mayor of the VI th district of Paris, the immense task which in the eyes indigenous peoples – 370 million people spread over more than 70 countries on five continents – must bring together the inhabitants of this planet ” with whom we travel in the cosmos “.

 

Which ones? Take all necessary measures to respect the sanctity of water, earth, fire and the life cycle. And break with anthropocentrism. ” If the territories of our peoples conceal 80% of the world’s biodiversity, added this doctor in rural development, it is because we have been working for thousands of years to preserve our sacred places.” At his side, the Amazon Ninawa Chief of the Huni Kui people (Brazil), wide headdress of long multicolored feathers, added: ” Can you live without breathing, without drinking? Without food? We are 100% dependent on Mother Nature to survive “. The energetic Maasai Magdalene Kaitei, in a green dress, completed: “In my country, Kenya, home to many wildlife and forests, the spirit of destruction deprives our pastoral farmers of the river water they need to survive . ”

 

These representatives of the “peoples-roots” were united in 2015 in Paris during the COP 21, in constitutive assembly – the alliance of the “Guardians of Mother Nature” – to weigh on the leaders of the world, the United Nations and the civil society, so that they treat “Mother Earth” as an entity with fundamental rights. And with this awareness, abandon the legal systems, inherited in their territories of the time of the colonies, who treat it only as a resource.

 

This Thursday afternoon, they will discuss their initiatives of reforestation, their battles to make their territories sanctuary. With the hope of provoking a sacred union around forests around the world. If their word moves so much their audiences, which many environmental activists of the ANV-COP 21, of Extinction Rebellion which recently occupied the place of the Châtelet and will proceed Friday to a new blocking to support them, it is because they emphasize how much the ecological crisis is also a spiritual crisis that forces us to reflect on the why of our presence on earth. ” Humans have come to take care of life, why have we forgotten the law of origin, how have we come to endanger life?“, calls Mindahi Bastida, for whom, if our institutions do not fulfill this mission, they must disappear.” Everything is transformed “.

 

>> The events take place at the 6th arrondissement of Paris, this Thursday, October 24 from 13:30 to 19 hours. And Sunday, October 27, at Espace Niemeyer, 2 place Colonel Fabien.

 

Sanctuarizing Forests: report

Originally Published by Normandy Chair for Peace

Event organised by Emilie Gaillard, General Coordinator of the Normandy Chair for Peace (Normandy region, CNRS, University of Caen in Normandy), in collaboration with Nadia Tahir (ERLIS, University of Caen in Normandy) and Vassili Rivron (CERREV, University of Caen in Normandy).

Its objective was to address the following points:

  • the Amazon rainforest as subject of deforestation
  • the world view of indigenous peoples: what link with the forest?
  • what impact on the anthropological approach to the relationship with nature?
  • which legal perspectives are open?

Programme:

Workshop with indigenous leaders from the Alliance of Guardians of Mother Nature

  • Magdalene Setia Kaitei, from the Maasaï people (Kenya), Executive Director of Emayian Integrated Development Organization.
  • Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz, Director of the Original Caretakers Program held by the Center for Earth Ethics,  General Coordinator of Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council (Mexico), guardian of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi people.
  • Ivanice Pires Tanone, cacique of the indigenous Kariri-Xocó people, one of the rare indigenous women leaders in Brazil.

Screening of the movie « TERRA LIBRE » – Debate with indigenous leaders / Guardians of Mother Nature

« TERRA LIBRE » – A film by Gert-Peter Bruch (125 min. Atmosphere Festival Audience Award). The screening, organized in collaboration with the Lux cinema, was followed by a debate with Gert Peter Bruch and two of the three indigenous leaders: Magdalene Setia K. and Mindahi Bastida. A call to the awakening of consciences, with the guardians of the world living for guides.

In the presence of Gert-Peter Bruch, founder of Planet Amazon. The event was presented by Vassili Rivron (anthropologist, specialist from Brazil, CERREV, University of Caen in Normandy) and Nadia Tahir (Lecturer in Hispanic-American Studies, ERLIS, University of Caen in Normandy).

To initiate the workshop, Mindahi Bastida explained how nowadays sacred lands in central Mexico have been demystified. Lands and territories that indigenous peoples maintain in a collective way to preserve life, are now in danger. From the indigenous perspective, land, water, and air are considered sacred elements and not resources. Therefore, they advocate for the legal recognition of their work protecting the Earth, by asking democratic governments, such as the French Republic, to sign the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention nº169, as a way of international support. In addition, he opens the reflection about how in the middle of this climate crisis, indigenous peoples cannot do this work only by themselves, and how important it is to raise awareness about this global problems that affect us all. He quoted: “What world are we leaving to the future generations? And, what generations are we leaving to the world?”

Read on…

Indigenous Science of Time

In this video, Jennifer Wemigwans, professor at University of Toronto, and author of A Digital Bundle, Protecting and Promoting Indigenous Knowledge Online, explains Geraldine Ann Patrick’s approach to Maya conception of time and how, contrary to what Maya scholars have said for the past five hundred years, Mesoamerican calendars did have a way to account for the extra quarter day every year which in Western astronomy leads to the leap day. This video provides an excellent visual support to explain how the four extra quarter days are included in the sequence of four years.  Geraldine is a Center for Earth Ethics Original Caretakers Initiative Fellow and a Union Theological Seminary Scholar in Residence. Please watch and share!