From: FREE Leonard NOW! Date: 21 Sep 2007, 05:59 PM Repost
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From: Sweet Corn Woman
Date: Sep 21, 2007 6:54 PM
—————– Bulletin Message —————–
From: Night Sky Watcher
Date: Sep 21, 2007 3:45 PM
Respecting the environment and other Native American issues discussed during inaugural Grand Island Conference in northern Michigan
Posted : Wed, 19 Sep 2007 16:20:14 GMT
Author : Greg Peterson
Category : PressRelease
(Munising, Michigan) – The healing of the environment and changing people’s attitudes toward nature are vital to the survival of mankind – the founders of the Turtle Island Project said during a Native American Roundtable this weekend along Lake Superior in northern Michigan.
TIP co-founder Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard said whites should listen to the environmental teachings of Earth-based cultures like Native Americans, Celts and other Indigenous Peoples.
Hubbard said the Euro-Americans have not listened to what Native Americans have to say about respecting nature adding "the difference between native American spirituality and Christian spirituality is very profound and fundamental."
Respect for the environment, despair, racism, poverty, teen suicide on reservations, the derogatory perversion of American Indian names were among the topics discussed at the first Grand Island Conference at Eden on the Bay Lutheran Church in Munising, Michigan.
TIP co-founder Rev. Dr. George Cairns said he fears for the future of mankind due to the abuse of the environment.
Cairns said the likely outcomes for humankind over the next 50 years is bleak due to reasons like a "decrease in arable land."
Cairns said "the factors for a healthier earth and human population" are even or on decline adding that "dramatic changes are happening on this planet" and the "time for humans to work toward environmental solutions is now."
"We have distanced ourselves more and more from nature – nature has become much more of an ‘it’ rather than a ‘thou’ – it’s an object rather than a subject," Cairns said.
"So we are not only ill – in that we don’t see our relationships with nature – but what’s really of great concern is that we are growing ill at a much more rapid pace because of this rupture of having any kind of intimate relationship with the world," Cairns said.
Cairns said the TIP is creating a "North American Theology that will have as one of its key elements a reconnection with the particular sacredness of the various places we inhabit here in North America."
The Native American Roundtable covered a wide range of topics from despair to teen suicide to derogatory location names.
The reasons for a shocking increase in teen suicides at American Indian reservations was discussed including the 600 attempts and 15 deaths over the past two years at the Lakota Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.
The discussion included whether media coverage of the suicides would be different if the victims were white teenagers.
Pat Cornish-Hall, a Munising resident with Native American ancestry, said "one of the main reasons for suicide is loss of identity and hope and with that comes deep despair – and poverty certainly has an effect on suicide."
Counselor Joni Peffers, owner of Celtic Cove Counseling near Gwin, Michigan, said the media should report on the trends of teen suicides in their area but not give the individual details of each attempt or death.
Pfeffers and Hall agreed that Native American teen suicides are often overlooked by the media.
Hubbard said wars across the globe have been started in the name of religion – but "that is not the case with Native Americans who fought over the theft of land or hunting rights, never over differences in religious belief."
Rev. Hubbard said "Native American never started a war over religious ideology" adding whites "are the kind of people who fight wars over religious ideology."
The perversion of the original Native American name of Minnesota’s Rum River and similar derogatory names was placed on the agenda at the request of Thomas Dahlheimer, director of the Rum River Name Change Organization.
Minnesota lawmakers are considering a bill that would change 14 derogatory geographic place names that are offensive to American Indians.
The Rum River in Minnesota was named by whites referring to alcohol "spirits" instead of the original American Indian name that meant "Great Spirit."
Dahlheimer said "racial hatred was why many geographic site names were changed from Native peoples’ names for the Great Spirit to Devil."
Dahlheimer’s views were presented by a TIP volunteer, but organizers hope future events will include a internet camera so tribal officials from around the country can participate without traveling to northern Michigan.
The founders said one of the goals of the TIP is to "give Native Americans a venue in which their voices can be heard and listened to."
Hubbard said "there is so much evil in the world – and lack of respect for the environment – because humans "have created structures, such as corporations which are not actually moral entities, but function rather primarily as legal entities."
Hubbard said it’s rare for corporations and politicians to admit error" adding "if you can not say ‘I’m sorry’ – if you can not admit to a mistake – you are not a moral entity."
During the conference on ecology and Celtic spirituality, there was a debate over ways Christians can protect nature and fight corporate giants that do much of the polluting.
Cairns explained he fights environmental problems and other important social issues with a wide-range of methods including "contemplative prayer" and "engaging structural evil."
Cairns said the Scotland-based Iona community is a good example of a group of people "who are unified by a covenant, worship together and who engage in very effective political action to change structural evil" and protect the environment.
Cairns, who lives in Chesterton, Indiana, said "silent meditation is a powerful tool to open ourselves to one another and to all creation which is what this participative consciousness is all about."
In fighting the world’s evil, Cairns said "we can’t get there with just our hearts – we need our heads and something more" and "that something more is a deep relationship with one another and with all creation."