Sherri Mitchell is the Founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous land and water rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. After her previous appearance on episode 68, Sherri returns to the question of “What Could Possibly Go Right?”
What is the proper label for a community of people who share a way of looking at life, a way of understanding who we are, a worldview that encompasses so much? The word “religion” seems like the most appropriate descriptor.
So how can we attend to this great change that is happening among us? How can we make the birth as painless as possible? How can we ensure that the culture that results is truly healthy?
We are living through the dawn of a new phase in human history. We are about to make our relationship with the Earth the most important aspect of our lives.
Appeals to self-interest will not, of themselves, stem the Amazon’s hemorrhage. We must also invoke our love of life and the purpose of service that it points to.
We are called to an evolutionary leap – from divisiveness to connectedness, from separation to co-creation, from enmity and hate (or complacent apathy) to caring, love in action. We are all part of one human race, and the clock is ticking. It is either now or never.
Our philosophy is materialized and represented by the Sisa Ñampi, the Border of Life or Living Path of Flowers. This perimeter of flowering trees is being planted around our territory to represent the fragility of life, the ephemeral limit of existence between life and death.
The word that keeps coming to my mind to describe this evening is ‘fragile’. It captures both the strength and the vulnerability of my situation, of the puffins and of the islands themselves.
Nor is there any need for politics to be something inflicted on us, at great cost to our souls, by tyrannical, abstract systems. Instead it should and could be something we recapture from its lofty conceptual realms, disarm, bring down to earth, and revive — in the process remaking ourselves and our world.
With the announcement that the Dakota Access Pipeline will be re-routed, the water protectors at Standing Rock might have won a battle but they have not yet won the war.
Does the concept of a living planet uplift and inspire you, or is it a disturbing example of woo-woo nonsense that distracts us from practical, science-based policies?
I have heard the thunderclap of a peacock butterfly as it flew past in the garden, and felt the shocking vibration of a hummingbird as it hovered between my eyes on the mountain. I have walked at night through a field of glow-worms, gone swimming in a sea of phosphorescence and wished upon a shooting star. I have seen a lady orchid gleam like a torch in the dark wood in France. I have heard the valleys of Wales sing like a male voice choir. On a snowy day among the hoodoos of Utah I heard a pipe playing far below and did not know whether it was a man down there or Kokopelli, as the sound wove around the red rocks like a snake. I have experienced these things, and felt my heart jump. I have been held too in the spell of theatres and fairytales, and felt the sadness when the show is over and the parade has passed by. I have felt the gloom descend in the small unglamorous rooms of cities, and longed to escape again. Oh, the lights, the lights! I know now which feelings I trust, and those I have let go.