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This Week's Guest Is:
-Tonawanda Band Seneca-
This is Grandfather (Robert Smith) Bigtree's first
Prophecykeepers Radio Interview.
"When I was growing up only one of the three Seneca Rez's in NY still had
traditional chiefs and maintained the Great Law of Peace. Tonawanda Band
of Senecas also had at that time one of the two long houses for ceremony."
"The other was maintained by Grandmother and Uncle Bob (Big Tree) in Kinzu,
PA. That was flooded by the Allegheny Reservoir. As was the whole town. That's
why I'm not living in hometown any more. Big Tree is the name of whoever
holds the peace chief seat of the Tonawanda Band. A news article that says
it all. Ties everything together and warns us one last time."
Harjo: Listen to Mother Earth
Posted: March 28, 2005
by: Suzan Shown Harjo / Indian Country Today
Everyone is talking about the weather. The water lilies and cattails
aren't as tall this year. This means that they will have less medicine for
us. The birch bark is more brittle these days. Everything from baskets to
canoes needs it to be more supple. The cedar strips, even in the rain forest
along the Northwest Pacific coast, aren't as damp and elastic as usual. The
hats and baskets will not be as strong as they used to be. The medicine plants
at Bear Butte are going away again. They made a comeback after the big fire
a few years ago, but now they're hiding. The natural corn is getting smaller.
The genetically-altered corn is taking over and no one knows how big it will
get, or how scary. Everyone's talking about the fish that aren't coming back
from the ocean and are disappearing from the rivers. And the frogs. And the
salmon. Innocents with multiple eyes and poisons in their cheeks. There are
fewer bats, and more mosquitoes which carry more West Nile virus - West Nile,
as in Egypt - to people in most of the United States. People are seeing riverbeds
that haven't been seen for 20 and 50 years. Burials from thousands of years
ago are being exposed. There are more and more fields of beautiful wildflowers.
These make people feel good about being alive, but they're the kind of flowers
that come out after everything's been burned to the ground. The Earth is
parched and trying to start over again in the dead places. Inuit people of
the Arctic tell us that global warming is endangering their homes, their
food, their way of life and their very lives. The Arctic is warming twice
as fast as any other place on the planet, 300 scientists told us in 2004.
After conducting the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment study for four years,
they said the ice and permafrost are melting and the sea levels are rising.
The Inuit and the scientists warn that polar bears may be looking at their
last days. The Bush administration has ignored all the evidence, all the
voices, all the signs, even its own State Department's 2002 report on U.S.
Climate Action, which says, ''Greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the Earth's
atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing global mean surface air
temperature and subsurface ocean temperature to rise.'' Another alarm about
global warming was sounded this year by the chairman of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. In an address at an international
conference, he told delegates from more than 100 countries that the world
may have ''reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide
in the atmosphere.'' He called for deep cuts in pollution levels, warning
that we are ''risking the ability of the human race to survive.'' Instead
of mobilizing American people and businesses to stop cooking the air and
water and get busy cooling things down, the White House and leadership in
the House and Senate are cracking the foundation of environmental protections
that have been built over the past 30 years. They are weakening protections
for animals, birds, trees, plants and water under the National Forest Management
Act, and are all but putting the lumber companies in charge of the forests.
They are weakening the Clean Air Act through a maneuver with the cruelly
deceptive title, ''Clean Skies Initiative.'' This, at a time when asthma
is at an all-time high nationwide and increasing numbers of American children
are gasping for breath. They are making new rules to increase mercury emissions,
which will cause deformities throughout the food chain, even to nursing human
babies. They are exposing more and more sacred places and sacred beings to
damage and destruction, even giving a lifetime judgeship on the 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals to former Interior Solicitor William Myers, who has a
demonstrable record of threatening sacred places. They are closer to their
goal of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, with full knowledge
of the harm this will do to all the creatures that live there and to the
Native people who depend on the porcupine caribou that give birth there.
Over the past year, we have seen the worst storms in 50 years in Africa,
the most devastating earthquake and tsunami ever in South Asia, the greatest
number of tornadoes on record for any August and snow in the spring in places
that usually register 70 degree days in winter. Within days of each other
at the start of this year, three volcanoes began to erupt: Mount St. Helens
in Washington, Mount Etna in Sicily and Volcano Colima in Mexico. Colima's
ash plume is high enough to interfere with air traffic routes. Helens' steam
and ash plume is six miles high. Etna is putting on a spectacular show of
spewing lava and magma. There are active volcanoes in Alaska, Hawaii, Australia,
Costa Rica, Japan, the Philippines and all over the world. For any three
volcanoes to erupt at the same time is an extraordinary event. I don't know
if volcanic activity is related to global warming, drilling deep holes and
taking oil out or to any other human activity. It does seem to me that Mother
Earth is talking to us, telling us something. Whatever that something is,
we'd best discover it immediately and do what we can to address it. The current
American political leadership is moving in the opposite direction from prudent
and provident action. If we cannot alter that political course, we need to
do what we can to protect our part of the garden in the best way we can.
We can start by listening to Mother Earth and doing what we can to heal her
wounds or, at the very least, to not injure her further. Suzan Shown Harjo,
Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, is president of the Morning Star Institute
in Washington, D.C. and a columnist for Indian Country Today.
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