national award By JOEL CUTHBERT
OBSERVER photo by Joel Cuthbert
Native American Poet Edna Gordon with a copy of her newest book,
Voice of the Hawk Elder.
12/30/2007 – OBSERVER Staff Writer
Hawk Elder and Seneca Wisdomkeeper Edna Gordon has spent her life
exploring and expressing the voice within.
Gordon, 86, is a writer, activist, unofficial philosopher/theologian and
raging hawk for the welfare of her people. Her numerous books of
naturalistic poetry have reached across physical boundaries to influence a
nation, and speak to readers across cultural boundaries.
"I love poetry because it;s simple,"& Gordon said. "Poetry brings out the
beauty of man and the beauty of creation … We lack communication, and
this is why poetry is important, because communication is important."
Throughout a prolific 10 years as a writer with an anti-materialistic
message, Gordon–along with her late husband, Edwin Hannibal Gordon–has
written 42 books. Her newest collection, Voice of the Hawk Elder [edited
by Harvey Arden, published by HYT at www.haveyouthought.com], was recently
announced winner in the Native American Studies category of the National
Best Books 2007 awards.
Her writing revolves around nature and humanity, animals and the elements,
all in sharp contrast to the corporatized, commercialized world of today.
"We’ve gone away from the naturalistic way of life for the materialistic,"
she explained. "We’ve forgotten about nature, to be thankful even for just
the breath of life, for the sun coming up."
She examines not only nature itself, but the lessons rooted in our natural
surroundings–what she calls the laws of life. Man learns from nature, she
said, and gains his knowledge of life and the world from nature and the
natural course of existence.
"It’s important to know nature to relate to something," Gordon said,
referencing a stream which becomes winding as it circumvents
obstacles–"to see something (in nature) and look at the struggle that it
faced in order for us to go on with life."
According to Gordon, this is why modern man encounters so much strife. He
has lost his kinship with nature, content to trade a connection to the
Earth which sustains him for an artificial environment which corrupts him.
The rift between man and nature, left unchecked, continues to grow deeper
with each future generation.
"Life is simple," she said. "Man complicates it."
Gordon writes to reveal and combat this alienation from nature. Through
her poetry, she offers the knowledge of her life and experience of nature.
"It’s a message of knowledge, and in order to have the message of
knowledge, you have to live it," she said.
Most importantly, she preserves the pathway to a more natural way of life
and, with her writing, offers a guide for treading that path.
Gordon’s message focuses on tearing down false ‘corporate law,’ which runs
the United States–this commercialized,’instant potato’ approach to life
to find the true laws of nature. It is this new ideology–a moral standard
that idolizes wealth and possession–which promulgates greed, deceit and
contaminates the purity and wholesomeness of nature.
With this basic theme threaded throughout her writing, she hopes to build
a foundation upon which future generations can continue to build.
"I want you to go on," she said,"and build onto all that’s going on today
because it makes the tomorrow."
Her goal is to promote a more natural, less artificial way of life and
learning, and to unify future generations in fostering this refreshed,
"We have to have the unity of one mind."she said.
To this end, her home has become a gathering place for many; a sanctuary
of open learning and shared knowledge. All are welcome to express
themselves without objection and to explore their own learning without
hindrance; to be taught if desired, or guided by those who have
Gordon said these gatherings are already starting to grow, beginning with
her writing, but soon expected to branch out into other mediums. Sessions
are also being recorded for future reference and learning.
Gordon’s literary battle against the corruption and subjugation of man–in
particular, of Native Americans–by corporate America has now taken center
stage in a national movement known as the Broomstick Coalition. The
movement seeks change through non-violence rather than through force, with
artistic expression and protest rather than with physical revolt.
"Everybody expects us to pick up guns, and that’s the first thing they
want the Indians to do–pick up their guns so they can come and bomb us,"
Gordon said. "We dont believe in that … If you want peace, you have to
work for peace. You cannot do it with a gun."
Her vision for cleaning out the corrupt comes quite literally from
cleaning –sweeping the garbage out through perseverance and constant
vigilance, just as she uses a broom to clear the dirt from her back porch
daily. She urges Indian Nations across the country to give peace to
receive peace, as blood only begets blood.
It is hardest to walk in peace, Gordon said, but that is what she wants
for her life, and for her children’s lives.
Gordon continually receives letters and e-mails from all over the country,
and even other parts of the world. She is currently involved in the
writing of another book.
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