Words of Wisdom:
Transmissions from the Elders Council

 

MONA ANN POLOCCA

Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa Elder
Founding Member of the International Council of Indigenous Grandmothers

Question

How important is it for us to all come together right now to protect our earth?

Answer

It’s really important for us to put our minds together, our hearts and our spirits, and recognize that we all have a hand in what our life is going to be on this Mother Earth, and how we have a hand in determining the steps that we must take in order to bring balance back with all of Nature. The water, the air, the fire, the earth. For us to take—to have a hand in it, to have voice in it. And have action. We must all do that. It’s not like you sit back and if there’s certain floodwaters that are at your door, should you sit there and wait for the rescue group to come get you when you know that water’s coming.

It requires action in order for us to achieve the protection that we need. And the same goes for our Mother Earth. It requires action.

And there are people who are like an architect, or a carpenter. It’s like building a home. The house doesn’t automatically appear there, it takes many hands and minds to put it together and plan it, design it, and then build it. And live in it. So that’s something that I believe that we all must participate in.


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If you could say one thing to leaders of the world to help them lead, what would that be?

Leaders need to consider, again, the voice of the people who are within their communities, who are within their states, who are within their nations… to consider their voice. What are they saying? What are they saying is happening within their communities?

Rather than just, out of the blue, or because some corporation that is saying, “I need to have this piece of land, I need to have this water…” and then not even giving consideration to the primary users of the water, or the primary residents on the land… and moving forward with these projects and not considering the true impacts that are imposed on the people who live there.


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If there was one thing you could say to the youth in the world—the young adults—what would you say?

Listen to your grandmother, haha. No—that too, but…

You have a wonderful opportunity. You have a wonderful opportunity to live a good, long life, and that the opportunity comes each and every day. Each and every day, with the water you use, your breath of air, with the day, the sun that comes and lights your day. With Mother Earth that you walk on. For the rest of your life.

So you must be aware of it, and have a good relationship with it. Understand that that is life. The other things, the basic needs that we have as human beings, those are—those are important, but the most important things are for us to have good clean water, good clean air, to have this sun that is in balance with the earth, and to have our Mother Earth be healthy, so that all of the life that lives on Mother Earth is going to be healthy, because we’re all related, we’re all connected.

And so that’s what I feel grandchildren, all of our generations, the ones that are yet to come, the ones that I won’t see. Those are the things that you need to hold close to you, those teachings. That understanding about life. So I pray you take it to your heart, and that you carry it on. That’s what our ancestors did for us, and now I’m telling you this, and sometime in the future, you can pass that message on to your children, and grandchildren.


 

DR.APELA COLORADO

Oneida
Worldwide Indigenous Science Network

Why is it important to protect the earth now?

At this moment, we need to protect the earth in particular because of the destruction that we all know about. But right now we are between the worlds, and the sacred sites of Mother Earth are pulsing with energy, and she’s trying to communicate with us. More than ever, in this time of devastation to her, and her vulnerability, in expressing so visibly and potently her power, we must take came of her.

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Why did you come to this gathering of indigenous people from around the world?

Our elders hold the key to sustainability, and we need to share what we know with the world, and before we do that, we need to create an interface. We need to have relationships that have integrity. And we need to have ways that are ethical and strong.

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If you had one thing to say to young adults, what would it be?

 Live it. Live your traditional wisdom, spirituality. Remember who you are. We need you. The earth needs you, now.

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What is a blessing that you want to give out to the world?

Great Spirit, may the peoples of the Earth, the sacred sites of the Earth, may we communicate, in accordance with our original instructions, refreshed and renewed for today. May the technology, may the separation, and the scattering of humanity around the world, may all that’s happened, including the pain, the suffering, the wars, may the experience of all that be encapsulated.

May we look at it as clear fire, as one dream. Not always a good one, but a dream nevertheless. May we do that, that we could transform, that the things that cause destruction could work in service of life. Remembering again who we are. Returning to the origin, of our species, of our people, in that reflection of the dark mirror. The third way will be found. All my relations.


 

LYZ KRUIPER

from South Afrika
Translated from Afrikaans language

 

If there were one thing that you want to say to young adults, what would that be?  

If I could say one thing to the youth, it would be to let them remember, about who they are, their ancestors, their forefathers, and how to live in harmony with earth… how to look after the earth; how to protect the earth.

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How important is is to protect the earth now?

It’s important to protect the earth at this stage because it is -- it’s the inside of you, it’s what feeds you, it’s what sustains you.

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If you could say one thing to the leaders of the world, to help them lead with more wisdom, what would it be?

If I could say one thing to the leaders of the world, it would be to speak to the youth, to be in dialogue with the youth. And not just to speak but to do as well.

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HELEN CORBETT

Canada | Executive Director of All One Sky Foundation

What is it that you’d really like to see come out of this Wisdom Weavers gathering and others like this?

I want to see momentum. I am hearing, “Time is short. The time is now.” This voice of indigenous wisdom needs to reach the world. We don’t have a lot of time; we need to hear it now.

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What would you say are some of the most important things that the indigenous voice informs us; ways that it can help us find our way back to a more balanced life and a protected environment?

I was a journalist at a newspaper in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, many, many years ago. I went to the Pribilof Islands. I learned there, from the elders, about the relationship of animals to those of us who live with them.

And they would see things like, a fur seal would be seen in the village, galumphing along, like way out of its habitat, and they would go, “that is a bad sign. There is an illness coming to the village, there’s going to be a death.” Those were things that came into my mind and started having me think in a different way.

So what I’m seeing here, at this Wisdom Weaver’s Council, is there is such an element of truth in the heart, and that is the message that needs to go out today… is that sacred truth that comes through the ancestors, is married to the present, and goes off into the future… to help us chart a way forward.

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Is there anything you’d like to share that might help people find deeper meaning, or make better choices in life?

I think one of the things that is our greatest challenge, mine included, is, my technology has me very hooked in. I am an addict. I’ve got that little device, that phone, and it comforts me. And when I’m out on the earth, it doesn’t exist anymore. It fades away. And I think that’s one of the things, is that we’re caught up in a maelstrom of news cycles, and if we can drop it and get down into those quiet spaces in our hearts, we’ll know the way forward.

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What is your message for the world?

The Mother is shaking in a way. But what I’ve heard is: don’t be terrified. This is not apocalypse. This is listening deeply into your soul, and knowing what that truth is, and joining together to hear that sacred truth… to know where to take it in the future.

The message we need to convey is we’re all linked together, through our human skin, through our humanity. We need to work together and listen to that essential truth in our hearts. We know the way. We know the path. And that’s the message we need to take—right now—take out to the world and join together, to help protect the Mother.

We need to work together—all tribes—white, brown, yellow, red—doesn’t matter what your skin color is. We know what the ancient wisdom has told us, we need to harness it to what our reality is today… and find a new future where we live with the Mother Earth. That is what’s compelling us today.

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How can we bring the masculine and feminine into balance, and how important is that?

As a woman, it’s hard at times to feel worthy, to feel my voice counts, and that to me is important to bridge that little silence, with my voice… which might be small at first…but is getting louder.

It’s that vessel—that sacred vessel we are carrying that is so amazingly fertile, that is what is giving birth to the new way.

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KUMU SABRA KAUKA

Hawaiian Educator | Historian | Activist

In your wisdom tradition, what are the most important things in the world that need to change?

We recently had a voyaging canoe that sailed around the world. Three years it took for this canoe to sail around the world, with a message of hope (for the earth) …and at each place they stopped, the message was: take care of the earth.

The earth is our Mother. The earth feeds us; the earth is our island. As a whole people—entire humanity. We have one earth. And I do have concerns about what we are doing to it, and we need to be more conscious of that. We need to be more conscious of our impact on the earth.

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So it seems like there’s a lot of things in the world that, need forgiving. Can you tell about forgiveness?

Well, ‘Ho’oponopono’ means to cause to make right, to put things back in balance again. ‘Pono’ means to be in balance. Your life needs to be in balance. So ‘Pono’ means to be in balance… It’s correct, it’s proper, it’s right. Nothing’s off.

And I have been asked several times to conduct sessions for ‘Ho’oponopono’ to make things right in a group, to make things right in a family. And as an important part of that, yes, you acknowledge the wrong that was committed. Acknowledge first that it existed. Then find it in your heart to forgive someone. It is much bigger to forgive than to carry the burden of blame.

And then move on from that point, because only by forgiving and moving on can you reach higher point.

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If you could say something to the young adults of the world that might help them make better choices or find deeper meaning, what would that be?

It is so important for your to find your passion, and to follow it. It is so important for you to take over the ‘Kuleana,’ or the responsibility of carrying through, and caring for our earth.

I have held many positions—elected positions of leadership. And I’m very conscious—I’m 72 years old, and I’m very conscious of the time that I have left… that I don’t have left. It is in this remaining time that is most important to me to make sure that you are in place to carry on.

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If you could say one thing to the leaders of the world, to help them lead with more wisdom, what would it be?

Lead with Aloha, or love, in your heart. Lead as if your grandchildren, your great grandchildren, and those generations to come will depend on your decisions today.

Are the decisions that you are making today good decisions, for all those generations to come? Or are they for temporary benefit, but they damage the earth in the long run. Is what you doing today going to harm, or going to help all the future generations? Lead with those generations in mind—that is the important thing to have in your heart.

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