Chief Oren Lyons Speaks Out For Mother Earth | “Our Clan Mothers watch our children while they are young and growing up. They pick our leaders by studying the youth, even ducks have leaders, and these leaders are given to us by the Creator. As Indigenous people we only stay strong by giving thanks around the clock. Indigenous people learned it makes a strong nation giving thanks to creation and the gifts Mother Earth is giving us, her children.”
Chief Oren Lyons, from the Wolf Clan of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee Iroquois Confederacy, has been relentless in sharing the message of Indigenous people of North America that Mother Earth is Sacred and is taking care of us humans. If we don’t take care of Mother Earth, she will become sick.
On November 8th, 2007 at the University of Manitoba, Sol Kanee Lecture, Chief Lyons was a keynote speaker. He said “Society must work in unity together with the forces of Nature and change its values for survival. Cooperation is now needed more than ever”, and he was talking in 2007. “We need unity. The instructions were given to us, our sacred duties, by Great Creator. We cannot blame the deer for what is happening to Mother Earth from Climate Change. We can’t blame the buffalo, we can’t blame the cod. The Thundering voices are speaking to us human today. The four winds are speaking to us, the water is speaking to us human beings. Time is a problem for human beings but not for Mother Earth. She will heal herself in the end.” During ‘The Mother Earth Call To Consciousness on Climate Change’ at the Smithsonian Museum on Monday, March 23rd, 2008, Chief Lyons said “Every generation has to renew itself.
There are priorities, injustice, serious problems that are not resolved. Our country has no real democracy, but natives still have traditions that must be lived or there will be a burden to our children’s children that is devastating. Creation is complex. Life is about time, life is about instruction, we have laws in our way of life. The first law is respect. We Indigenous people respect all life as relations, relatives; our ceremonies give thanks to our relations, and our leaders, the leader of the trees is the Maple. If all people had this way of life, they would not cut down all the trees of the world. Humans have a thanksgiving way of life. The Haida is no different from Mohawks, or Coast Salish, Dene, Cree, Ojibway. We are all one as Indigenous People. North America should be protected by their leaders. Our leaders are concerned for Mother Earth and our children’s future. Our way of life is with the Good Mind, but this continent has been distracted and lost its focus on defending and protecting Mother Earth. We have to remember all life: the wolf, the eagle, the deer, because they are living majestic lives! Chief Seattle said we are part of a web of life; what happens to the web of life happens to us human beings. The quality of life has a balance, but on Wall Street it is not the same values as ours and on Bay Street in Toronto, Ontario, the mining companies refuse to uphold the rights of natural world. Scientists are even saying we will be lucky if we last another hundred years with a western mentality, because it is not Indigenous thinking that is killing Mother Earth. The world needs good leaders to help our children.”
We are seeing reports one after another from scientists that the environment is in extreme danger, so this virus is another form of negativity from negative actions. The only way to turn things around is through positive action: create balance, follow natural laws, follow enlightenment, which is not to think of yourself but for the Seven Generations to come. If we take care of the future, we will be taking care of ourselves. At this point in time we are eradicating ourselves from Mother Earth. If we listen to the animals again, we can learn to survive and heal. Ever since those boats arrived we’ve been asking our brothers to respect Mother Earth. Our elders, chiefs, clan mothers have been relentlessly trying to share our understanding of the Sacredness of all creation and Our Great Creator’s Gifts. West Coast tribes shared the Sacred Pot Latch Ceremony with brothers and sisters of first arrivals, until they found it too different from their own ceremonies, so they tried to put a stop to it. We don’t say these things out of hate or anger. It’s just the way things happened during first contact and many social issues or injustices have not been resolved. There are still forms of injustice to Indigenous peoples; same with Indians on the East Coast, when our women were disrespected, and American and Canadian governments laid claim to Indigenous territories because they could not stop fighting until they split the continent in half.
Even our very first breath comes from you know who: Great Creator, who else can do that? The Great Spirit, the Great Mystery, the Universe is our Great Creator. It’s our old elders who never stop giving thanks; it’s our old elders who pass this way of life onto our next generation just like it all was passed onto them. As we grow older, we realize the gifts from Great Creator and how sacred time is. We learn how to share more and give out what we have learned in our sacred journey with Mother Earth and our Sacred Way of Life with the teachers who had the healing ways and Good Mind to share. Everything we all have seen together on Mother Earth is a memory with creation, and all life keeps moving forward. The memories and dreams can be made with the Good Mind and Healing Ways. The memories are woven together with our teachers, elders, clan mothers, chiefs, our families, friends and loved ones, with the Spirit World, with our Ancestors, with everything that is moving on Sacred Mother Earth, harmonizing, balancing, vibrating, burning, energizing, living and dying.
It is our Great Creator, the Great Mystery, the Universal Power that keeps life moving forward, doing all of this that is learning what our elders taught us in many different ways. The power of the oceans and the healing from the sun come together with our Great Creator to help build the sacred memories of our sacred ancestors and spirit way of life with all colors and sounds. Even sacred music, sounds and vibrations give us Great Creator’s love, balance and healing. It is our Great Creator who made everything on this Sacred Mother Earth. Our old elders have the sacred duty of keeping our way of life alive with their peace, understanding and respect of our traditional ceremonial ways. Even when some things get lost, the sacred fire still burns and Mother Earth’s Blood quenches our thirst, we still have medicine and use all our medicines. Mother Earth is so Sacred to us Indigenous Peoples here in North America, Canada and United States, and South America: from Nunavut to Cape Horn Indigenous Cultures are really ceremonial people dating back before the industrial revolution.
Our sacred healing really comes to us from our connection and relationship to Mother Earth. Our old elders always said “Talk to Mother Earth, tell her everything. You can tell her how happy she makes us. Tell Mother Earth how beautiful she is every chance we get. Tell her NiaWeh as much as you can, when you think of it or feel blessings from her gifts, beauty and spirit. Thank you, Mother Earth, for all the gifts you gave to Alicja and me for fourteen years and for all the gifts you give all people and creation, NiaWeh. When brother Sun comes up, our sacred Sunrise Ceremony is our way of life to begin our day: our old elders have passed this on and on, generation after generation.
Story by Danny Beaton (Turtle Clan Mohawk)
In Memory of Alicja Rozanska