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05 November, 2012



      As many native people began to adopt the customs of the white people, Chief Smohalla of the Wanapam urged them to return to their traditional ways:


      God declared that the land, the lakes and the rivers should be held in common; that they should not be marked off or divided, but that all people should be free to hunt and to fish wherever they want.  God proclaimed that he himself is the father of all people, and that the earth is their mother - so all people are their children.  He proclaimed that the laws of nature are his laws; and that, just as all animals and fish and plants obey those laws, so must all men and women.

       Then the white people came; they divided up the land, and gave tracts of land to one another.  They wrote out a piece of paper for each tract of land, on which was written the name of the owner; and they said that these pieces of paper gave the owners the right to do as they wished on the land.  These white owners seized red people.  They ordered them to plow the soil and grow crops, to cut the grass and make hay, and to chop down the trees and build houses.

       Shall I obey these orders?  Shall I plow the land to grow crops?  I should rather take my knife and cut off my mother's breasts.  Shall I cut the grass for hay?  I should rather cut off my mother's hair.  Shall I chop down trees and build houses?  I should rather chop the limbs off my mother's body.

       The earth is our mother - the mother of all people.  The soil is her breasts, the grass is her hair, and the trees are her limbs.  Let us refuse to murder our own mother.  And let us protect her from all who try to rape her and destroy her beauty.

Source: 366 Readings from World Religions by Robert Van De Weyer

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