In 1988, reporter Mike Watkiss interviewed Muskogee Creek elder Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams for the television show A Current Affair.
This first segment is Bear Heart’s answer to the questions: What is it that you do? How do you help people?
Traditionally trained as a healer of his tribe (what most people call a “medicine man),” Bear Heart speaks of some of the techniques he uses.
Is there a way to save the earth from home? With vinegar and baking soda?
Taking action in saving the earth should be a priority of us all.
And sometimes big changes are the result of many people taking small steps.
Can one person change the course of environmental destruction with vinegar and baking soda? Perhaps not. But suppose everyone stopped using toxic cleaning products? Read on.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, is Earth Day, an annual event encouraging environmental protection. It’s an important reminder to us all of what’s at stake.
For some time, Native American elders have predicted the time of “Earth changes” – dramatic changes in weather patterns. Part of the prediction was that the weather would be in the headlines on a regular basis.
Yes, we’ve reached that point now — this is the fulfillment of Native American prophecy.
The experts say that some of the change in weather patterns cannot be reversed – we just have to learn to adapt to it.
But we can keep it from getting worse by changing some of our own habits and patterns:
This excerpt from “The Wind Is My Mother” reveals how Native American mothers introduce their children to the natural world. It is also the key to their children growing up learning to respect Mother Earth, live balanced lives and walk in beauty.
Bear Heart speaks:
“When I was just three days old, my mother took me to a hill top near our home and introduced me to the elements.
“First she introduced me to the Four Directions — East, South, West and North. ‘I’m asking special blessings for this child. You surround our lives and keep us going. Please protect him and bring balance into his life.’
“Then she touched my tiny feet to this Mother Earth. ‘Dear Mother, Grandmother Earth, one day this child will walk, play and run on you. I will try to teach him to have respect for you as he grows up. Wherever he may go, please be there supporting and taking care of him.’
Being a single, self-supporting woman for most of my adult life, I have mastered the art of taking good care of myself – whether at home or on the road. But an experience with European hospitality taught me I may have gone too far to the independent side.
Some years ago I went on a horseback tour of the Connemara region of western Ireland with Willie Leahy, master horse breeder and quintessential Irish storyteller.
A week of riding fine Irish horses through bogs, up green hillsides, around lakes and back roads where cars couldn’t go was a great way to see my homeland for the first time.
There were 14 in our group: 7 Americans and 7 Europeans and we had a choice of staying in 4-star hotels or charming bed and breakfasts. I chose the bed and breakfast because I felt it was the best way to get a feel for the people of Ireland.
As it turns out, I was the only American who chose a B&B – all the others stayed in hotels! And only one European chose a hotel – all the others stayed in the B&Bs.
For dinner the entire group ate together in a local restaurant; lunch was a picnic in a field along the way and breakfast was at our respective lodging. So I had breakfast every morning with the European contingent.
One of the great miracles of nature is a starling murmation. Have you ever seen one?
A flock of starlings moving as one through the sky in a tight formation is called a murmation.
My first glimpse of a murmation was a small flock over the Santa Monica Mountains, seen from my office window years ago.
At the time, I likened it to “turning practice” — they’d fly in one direction and then turn in unison to fly in another direction. Over and over and over.
I didn’t get much else done that morning. I hadn’t yet heard of murmations. And didn’t see it again until I came upon the video below, captured by wildlife photographer Dylan Winter.
It turns out that murmations can range from a small group of a few hundred starlings, to millions of starlings blocking out the sun.
Scientists don’t know how two birds separated by hundreds of feet and hundreds of other birds can move as one. They say the answer seems to be rooted in physics.
I prefer to think of it as rooted in the Lakota prayer, Mitakuye Oyasin – we are all related. We are all one, connected by an invisible web of unity.