2 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate
Hi again lovely Earthlings!
Have you been thinking about religion? Religion has a bad name today. It’s the excuse for wars. But has it always been so? The Civil Rights movement was inspired by religion. And it was a social space where people of different races met, worked together, fell in love. What other antidote is there to racism than the commingling of all shades so that difference does not matter?
More to the point, in the supposed land of religious freedom, those with belief systems that sacralized nature were not considered religious at all. They were considered “heathens,” something in between a savage and an atheist. Their belief system was against nature and had to be extirpated at the cost of eliminating its people as well. So the genocide of Native American civilizations had to be almost successful before progressive monotheists became respectful of their belief systems, and sometimes fell in love with them.
|Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens
But who was savage? Who betrayed nature and got a license to kill her? The earth remembers, Seattle says. Animals, plants, rocks, are our family. The lament resonates with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens’s ecosexual weddings, designed to marry the natural elements and make them part of the fold.
Listen to Chief Seattle as he predicts what will happen:
“The Land Is Sacred to Us”
Chief Seattle’s Lament, Cont’d
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man—all belong to the same family.
So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.
|A young Seattle
The red man has always retreated before the advancing white man, as the mist of the mountain runs before the morning sun. But the ashes of our fathers are sacred. Their graves are holy ground, and so these hills, these trees, this portion of the earth is consecrated to us. We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers’ graves behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children. He does not care. His fathers’ graves and his children’s birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.
Did you notice the wisdom of these words? The Washington Chief assumes Chief Seattle thinks he owns the land. Chief Seattle knows better. And he is honest. Nobody really owns any land. The earth own itself. It is sovereign. Chief Seattle knows his people are losing. But what’s the point of winning when the price is our hostess? Today’s winners are tomorrow’s losers in a zero sum game. And today we know the deserts our devouring appetites cause to grow.
Stay tuned for the next step. We will post every Monday at noon.
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Come back! And stay tuned for more wonders.
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
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