Monday, August 12, 2013

Sharon Day: Can an Indigenous Worldview of Respect, Love and Kindness Create a Revolution?

August 9, 2013.
I have protested, walked picket lines, and was arrested. These confrontation tactics seem no longer effective and may in fact, hinder progress for change.
My culture teaches that as an Ojibwe I have an inherent obligation to not only protect myself, my family, and my tribe but ultimately all humanity, including the environment that sustains us. We are spirit beings who came into this world to live the human experience. That spirit is love and it resides in our hearts.

My own struggle began early as I found a place of equality among my family, friends, and community because I was born lesbian and enjoy my life as a two spirit person. The Creator has smiled on me by giving me the opportunity to help others struggling with the still prevalent homophobic and sexist attitudes; not to mention that we also live as a conquered nation of people.

I have protested, walked picket lines, and was arrested for protecting Camp Coldwater back in 1999. These confrontation tactics seem no longer effective and may in fact, hinder progress for change. Earlier in my career I took a different approach by working within the political system. While there have been minor but important victories in a few social policy areas, I remain somewhat disappointed that more have not been moved to action.

In recent years, I have led two water walks to pray for the water and to raise the public awareness about the pollution affecting our waters. As I have crossed the United States twice from south to north and north to south, I have observed the individuals who have taken this journey with me. Carrying the water in a ceremonious way every day creates transformation. The water is a living entity and as such, it has a spirit. This spirit responds to the love shown to it. In this way, we have changed the way we think, feel and act toward our mother earth and the water.
Read the rest here.

Sharon Day is executive director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force. This year she walked the length of the Mississippi River and will walk the Ohio River in 2014.
Comment: See my previous post (April 6) on Sharon Day and the Indigenous Peoples Task Force here.

Mississippi River Water Walker organizer, Sharon Day near Dubuque Iowa 
on March 23, 2013. The walk was to raise awareness of the sacredness of the 
Mississippi River, working to keep it pollution free for the next 7 generations. 
(Photograph and caption: Credit)


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