Saturday, August 29, 2009
An excerpt from ALL OUR RELATIONS, NATIVE STRUGGLES FOR LAND AND LIFE. LaDuke, Winona, South End Press, Cambridge, Mass.; Honor the Earth, Minneapolis, Minn., ISBN 0-89608-599-6, $16. Page 197.
"Somewhere between the teachings of western science and those of the Native community there is some agreement on the state of the world. Ecosystems are collapsing, species are going extinct, the polar icecaps are melting, and nuclear bombings and accidents have contaminated the land.
According to Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, 50,000 species are lost every year. Three-quarters of the world's species of birds are declining, and one-quarter of all mammalian species are endangered. Tropical rainforests, freshwater lakes, and coral reefs are at immediate risk, and global warming and climate change will accelerate the rate of biological decline dramatically.
The writing is on the wall, in bold letters. There is no easy answer, and even scientists themselves seem to recognize the necessity of finding new strategies and understandings. In an unusual gathering in late 1998, for instance, NASA scientist met with Indigenous elders to discuss global warming an to hear the elders' suggestions on possible solutions. The response the scientists received may have been only part of what they had hoped for. As one observer summarized, the elders pretty much responded, 'You did it, you fix it.'
In the final analysis, we humans can say whatever we would like -- rationalize, revise statistical observations, extend deadlines, and make accommodations for a perceived 'common good.' But 'natural law,' as one Yakama fisherman and former director of the Columbia Intertribal Fishing Commission Ted Strong explains, 'is a hard and strict taskmaster.' Dump dioxin into the river, and you will inevitably eat or drink it."
by Eric Hjerstedt Sharp
The Tall Timber Telegraph
LA POINTE, Wis. _ "Madeline Island holds a special spiritual significance," said LaDuke at Tom's Burned Down Cafe Thursday night.
Originally called Mooningwanekaaning ("The Home of the Golden Breasted Woodpecker") Madeline Island is the traditional spiritual center of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) people. LaDuke chose Tom's Burned Down Cafe in the town of La Pointe as the venue for her 50th birthday bash and the annual benefit for Honor the Earth, a native-directed and controlled organization of which LaDuke is the executive director. Honor the Earth's mission is "to create awareness and support for indigenous environmental issues and leverage needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable indigenous communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, media and indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the earth and be a voice for those who are not heard," according to the organization's mission statement.
LaDuke and the staff of Honor the Earth urged participants to be aware of local food communities and to follow sustainable paths to help the earth heal after centuries of neglect and resource depletion.
Native rocker Keith Secola on guitar and others joined the celebration at Tom's Burned Down Cafe for an evening of music and dance. Secola was joined by Chequamegon Bay-area musicians including Laughing Fox (Michael "Scooter" Charette, flute), Marky Rossow (Marky Mark sax, banjo and drums) and others at the event.
Photos by Chad Lampson, The Tall Timber Telegraph photographer and technical editor
FLUTIST LAUGHING FOX from Red Cliff, Wis. constructs his own flutes. A poet and artist, he has taught people of all ages.