(The following is a contribution by author and ancestor worker Laura Patsouris)

For thousands of years the indigenous inhabitants of this land lived on their Earth with a sense of Her sacredness, a respect for Her resources and the knowledge that they were responsible for maintaining balance within their environment. The game changed dramatically in 1492 with the arrival of Columbus and his agenda of conquest which extended beyond the savagery perpetrated upon Native inhabitants to a philosophy of subjugating the Earth Herself. While Nations would fight heroically to defend their land, the Earth and their way of being in harmony with Her, over the next several hundred years the continents of North and South America would be claimed by societies with a very different way of looking at the land and at humanity: commodities to be exploited.

During this Initiative, this time of prayer and reflection, I challenge the reader to ponder the fact that, although Turtle Island has been terribly desecrated in the industrial age, throughout most of Her history She was cared for and loved and regarded as sacred. I challenge you to think about the philosophy and ethics indigenous to this land. I ask you to engage with the Earth Herself in a way that would honor Her legacy of indigeny. Without Her, how do we live? Without fresh air, clean water and food, how can humanity sustain itself? She is more than a resource to be exploited and has more value as the Being She is than any mere commodity. The money-mind that views every Being relative to a monetary value has brought our Earth to the brink of environmental disaster and has produced one of the most inhumane societies the world has ever known. We need to reengage with what it means to be authentically human, with human values that go beyond temporary profit. Now is the time to heal ourselves, to heal Turtle Island, to heal each other. 

If Turtle Island was not the original home of your forbears, if you are living from Her bounty now, you owe her and Her indigenous peoples a debt. A good start is to treat Her with love and respect and honor the traditions that predated the conquest and lend your voice to the cause of defending indigenous rights. Everyone who lives here could learn a lot by looking at how Native peoples relate to and care for the land. Learn how to be a steward of the Earth and walk respectfully and in balance. Learn to take only what you need in order to create a sustainable future. Counter the parasitic and sick mindset of the conqueror by rejecting inhumanity and false values that diminish the sacredness of Turtle Island and view the inhabitants of these shores merely as consumers or workers to be exploited or mined for profit. Reject the missionary mindset that seeks to strip all holiness from the land and seeks to subjugate the spirit of Turtle Island Herself. Pray that She may be strengthened and healed and that we as Her children may flourish. Pray that we may have the good sense to see that true wealth lies in being fully human and in honoring the dignity of all of our fellow Beings. The Earth is our Mother, we cannot sell Her, we cannot exploit Her and pollute Her without poisoning ourselves.    ---by Laura Patsouris

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