Honor Unci Maka

By Lenore ThreeStars

My takoja (grandchild in Lakota) came out of preschool proudly carrying a tiny cucumber plant that she grew in class from a seed. She said they celebrated Earth Day. “Oh, you honored Unci Maka!” (Lakota for Grandmother Earth) Her eyes grew wide as she associated what she did in class with what she knows about Unci Maka, a name that shows a kinship relationship and deep respect.  She likes to say, “Should we go feel Unci Maka?” and we’ll go out and wiggle our toes in the wet grass, sensing that creation connection.   She doesn’t fully appreciate that she is taking part in a sacred ceremony that the Haudenosaunee refer to as the Law of the Seed,  that she is part of the circle of creation and regeneration of her cucumber. “I planted this, and I’m going to take care of it every day, and I’m going to eat it.”   She is forming her own relationship with food and the land.

I dread the thought that, in her lifetime, my takoja, and grandchildren everywhere will be afflicted by what is being done to destroy Unci Maka.  I think of the millennia during which indigenous people lived in a reciprocal relationship with the land. Now, after 240 years of colonialism, we are facing a loss of the sacred and true ecological disaster.  Some of us are in denial but that will be dispelled soon enough.  This issue makes me pay attention to the candidates and discern whose worldview does not see Unci Maka as a commodity of unlimited resources. I want a candidate who sees that we are already exploiting our planet beyond its ability to renew itself, and who will resist the mega-corporations and their monstrous appetites for profit.

Our book study group just wrapped up Green Faith: Mobilizing God’s People to Save the Earth by Fletcher Harper.  I was immediately drawn in by the caption, “No earth, No faith.” “There’s no spiritual life that does not involve, does not start, intimately and inescapably, with the Earth.”  That rings true for me.

Randy Woodley, in Shalom and the Community of Creation, writes, “we desperately need a restoration of harmony between human beings, the Creator, the earth, and all God provides through the earth such as plants and animals.” “A renewed understanding of living out shalom on earth, and the equivalent constructs found among indigenous peoples, is our path to restoring harmony in the world.”  All creation represents parts of a whole community that was created in Shalom and is meant to receive Shalom again.

Walter Brueggemann comments that the words of  Psalm 23, “… I shall not want” state “a decision against the greed and lust and satiation and aggressive ambition of a consumer society.”  We need to live in a different way than we are now, together with respect for balance. To do my part to live in a good way, I ask Creator to be the lord of my own wants and needs that I would need less and honor his provision of Unci Maka.

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