Mothering the Earth

| 5/11/2015 4:03:00 PM

Tags: native plants, permaculture, pacific northwest, Natasha Bowens,

Today along with honoring my own mother, I want to honor some women I know that steward this land in a way that we should all learn from - they are true mothers to the earth.

These mothers of the earth are members of tribal communities that were some of the first to live off of this land, caring for the environment in ways we now seek to revive under various names like ‘sustainability’ and ‘permaculture.’ Today these women carry on the philosophies and practices of their ancestors that were around long before these popular terms.

I had the privilege of sitting in one of the Wisdom Gardens in Oregon of the Pacific Northwest, a region that is home to many different Indigenous tribes. Wisdom Gardens is a project to restore native food systems and promote health and wellness in Portland’s Native American community through horticulture education and healing. The gardens are run by Wisdom of the Elders which is an organization that, in their own words, “records and preserves traditional cultural values, oral history, prophecy and other messages of guidance from Indigenous elders in order to regenerate the greatness of culture among today’s and future generations of native peoples.”

Rose High Bear, Deg Hitan Dine (Alaskan Athabascan), and her late husband Martin High Bear, Lakota medicine man and spiritual leader, founded Wisdom of the Elders in 1993 because as they stated, “As First Peoples, we are humbled by the wisdom of our elders and the deep connection they share with Great Spirit, the world of nature and family. We regard our elders as rapidly vanishing, irreplaceable keepers of oral history, tradition and environment. Values they extol represent an ancient legacy of knowledge which has become as endangered as many disappearing species in our fragile ecosystem.”

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