4 of 12 | Monday is for Religion: The Art of Connecting What’s Not Really Separate
Hi lovely Earthlings!
Yours truly is back with another piece of the Chief’s Lament. This time the wisdom is even deeper. Animals are our siblings, Chief Seattle claims, and when we destroy their habitat, we destroy them, our turn is next. Since these wise words were pronounced a century and a half ago, we’ve explored space, we’ve landed on the Moon. In that search for other planets who might be hospitable to our species, we’ve only found out one thing for sure. If we ever find another astral body willing to have us over, we humans will have to migrate along with all the other species. Why? Because no species can live alone: we’re all connected! “Animals are our bothers” as Chief Seattle puts it. He already knew what took so much effort for us to discover. Oh well . . .
“The Land Is Sacred to Us”
Chief Seattle’s Lament, Cont’d
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.
|Handsome chief, eh?
I am a savage and I do not understand any other way. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.
What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we agree, it will be to secure the reservation you have promised. There, perhaps, we may live out our brief days as we wish. When the last red man has vanished from this earth, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, these shores and forests will still hold the spirits of my people. For they love this earth as the newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So if we sell you our land, love it as we’ve loved it. Care for it as we’ve cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you take it. And with all your strength, with all your mind, with all your heart, preserve it for your children, and love it . . . as God loves us all.
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. Animals are our siblings and respecting the joy of their life, their freedom and self-possession is essential to our happiness as well. We are part of the same life and food chain. We don’t have to be vegetarian. But we owe our siblings a life of joy!
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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