Understanding root causes, or the “cause and effect” for any scenario is always a good idea. Today’s crisis is the result of the rise of capitalism and imperialism, the hegemony of land ownership, and a long-held worldview that separates us from nature. And yet, Euro-colonization is NOT inevitable, or part of human nature – it’s a set of very specific decisions that led to the way technologies and worldviews were forced on lands and peoples. Knowing the full backstory may empower our perception to shift from fear and uncertainly (although that is certainly present) to wonder and awe, as we ask ourselves why we were born to "be witness to" such a momentous era. Times of collapse and extinction are impossible for anyone to comprehend, and yet facing reality is our best response. The youth of today are not turning away, but are creating their own “rites of passage” though rigorous activism in anti-gun legislation, climate change action, lawsuits filed against governments and corporations, and other creative forms of resistance. Momentum is building, and young people are fully prepared to achieve their goals, such as winning lawsuits that require an immediate shift to the divestment from fossil fuels.
For a powerful example of a living worldview embedded in the land we can look to the great Okanagan storyteller and orator Harry Robinson, who was wholly immersed in the natural world in every waking moment. During the transcribing of his priceless story-cycles, scholar Wendy Wickwire tells us that “Harry traveled to Vancouver to undergo medical treatment under the care of an elderly Chinese herbalist. Only then did the depth of Harry’s mythological world become truly apparent. As we passed through downtown Vancouver on his visits to the doctor, I realized that all the traffic lights and cars meant nothing to Harry. They were almost an abstraction, an interesting but fleeting diversion from the timeless real world of Coyote, Fox and Owl.” In our own work to reject the failed experiment of industrial civilization and connect deeply with the land, can we also have no doubt that entering urban space is an illusion and an aberration, an insult to ourselves and Earth Community? Can we too walk among the ruins of Empire and see it as an abstraction, a fleeting diversion that for a long and merciless time tried to demonize Gaia and separate us from our one true home?
The ability to listen to nature’s promptings cannot be overstated. Many are already suffering from the catastrophic effects of climate change such as fires, hurricanes and floods, and are experiencing displacement and/or the loss of hearth and home, and having to start again. Perhaps the lesson is to live minimally with few possessions, as many of today’s youth are already doing. Rejecting the values of the dominant society, “going feral” and shifting to holistic solutions is the best way forward in times of massive change and climate disaster. Extreme social dysfunction, mental suffering and a sense of powerlessness have been generated by Empire, but we can temper these dire realities by acknowledging that human beings are not in charge. Mother Earth holds us all in her embrace, and as we trust in Her antediluvian forces we give way to the wisdom of the land. Going forth into an uncertain future, we already have everything we need in the regeneration of our hope and resilience. The eternal power of the "green fuse" continues to spark the growth of new life, and the love at the heart of the interconnected web empowers us. Be ready, be flexible, guide each other, and prepare each generation to live sustainably on our beautiful planet!
 Harry Robinson and Wendy Wickwire (editor), Write it on Your Heart: The Epic World of an Okanagan Storyteller, Talonbooks, 1989. From the first of three volumes, the stories of Harry Robinson (Interior Salish, Lower Similkameen/Smelqmix, B.C.) as collected by Wendy Wickwire.
Pegi Eyers, Chapter 6 “We All Have IK,” Chapter 27 “Entwining Heart and Mind,” Chapter 28 “Ancient Spirit, Modern Voice,” Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots and Restoring Earth Community, Stone Circle Press
Pegi Eyers is the author of "Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community," an award-winning book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, healing our relationships with Turtle Island First Nations, uncolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community.
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