For Native Americans, every day is Earth Day. Traditionally and culturally, it is the duty of Native Americans to care for Unci Maka (Mother Earth). “We are the land ... that is the fundamental idea embedded in Native American life - the Earth is the mind of the people as we are the mind of the earth.” -Paula Gunn Allen, Laguna PuebloThe Native connection to Mother Earth is far deeper than that of conservationists. All life flows through her. Earth, fire, water, and wind each play a vital role for Native Americans—those of the past and many still today.
Perhaps, most profound are the words of Chief Seattle in his Treaty Oration of 1854-
"Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event of days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.”
Our Native elders hold the key to living in balance on Mother Earth. Listen to their stories, their lessons, and their advice. “When the people’s connection to the land is broken, something vital will be lost forever,” says Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone Elder.
Today, we celebrate Earth Day in honor of our ancestors and strive to protect her for future generations.
Native Hope recognizes the extreme importance for cultural revitalization and preservation.