Description: This Algonquin Water Song expresses loving gratitude for the water and raises the consciousness and connection of women with Mother Nature’s greatest gift. The song is easy to learn, and our hope is that millions of women will sing it, raising their own connection and awareness of the water they interact with daily even in the shower or at the sink. Sing it 4 times, facing each of the 4 Directions. We believe this is a powerful step to change, leading to both a spiritual as well as the environmental shift on our planet.
This song was written by Irene Wawatie Jerome for Grandfather William Commanda’s 2002 Circle of All Nations gathering. It is recorded with permission from the Wawatie and Commanda families and the Circle of All Nations Foundation and the Elders in Canada.
Please note: This information and use of the water song is shared here with permission. It is my intent to honor our elders and their teachings. Honoring our water is needed and timely. Women traditionally hold the water. It is with gratitude I share these messages, song, and information.
About My Guest: Grandmother Nancy is of Algonquin and French heritage and has followed the Red Road since childhood. Seeking out elders willing to teach, her first two mentors were Lakota, one an author, one a medicine man. An Ojibwa medicine woman, then a Mi’kmaq grandmother later adopted her. Community elders gave her permission to pour lodges since 1991. She served as a facilitator for a Native Women’s Circle in federal prison for 17 years.
A Sundancer and a Sacred Pipe carrier, she is acknowledged as an elder and a grandmother in her communities in Canada, where she was given instruction to bring out and share certain teachings. Grandmother Nancy is a well-known storyteller, sharing legends from many different Nations in schools, health facilities, and the pow wow circuit. She was a staff member of the Joined Nations of Connecticut, a youth organization for those of Native heritage. She has given talks in Calgary, Canada, St. Croix USVI, and at various centers in New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. She also owned and operated an equestrian business until retirement, and now incorporates Horse Medicine in some of her lectures about Native culture.
Transcript: #59 Grandmother Nancy
Algonquin Water Song: click on this link to view the short video with the Algonquin Water Song. I hope you enjoy it. It brought me to tears. My heart sends a big thank you to our elders who share this wisdom. It’s timely and it’s special. Remember all comments are appreciated.
I couldn’t resist this video. The photographer shares his lifetime of work capturing pollinators on film. He reminds us that when we see something that is beautiful and touches our heart we are more apt to care for it. My podcasts seek to remind us that we are nature and what we see in nature is in us, whether looking for a medical cure, protecting pollinators, looking for solutions to climate changes, or social changes. It’s all there if we look more deeply and let nature guide us more. Let’s “get out of our cleverness”, says Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute and open our hearts to more compassion for nature’s intelligence. This short film is spectacular and inspiring. Please share and comment. It’s always appreciated.
My podcast guest this week, Vicki Wojcik, program director at the pollinator partnership reminds me that pollinators are losing their habitat. It doesn’t take much to bring them back. “If you plant it they will come.” Pollinators are diverse species that are often specialists and need specific plants to thrive. What new plants are you adding this spring? Do they favor pollinators? Don’t forget to check their regional guide too. I recommend you visit their site for more detailed information.
Enjoy spring. Judith
Description: Pollinators are ecosystems service providers. We know they are hurting from the loss of habitat. When they disappear, become extinct they are gone for good. So many of them are endangered today of becoming extinct. So what can we do? “Build it and they will come!” Vicki reminds us that every garden plot contributes to habitat, food, water, and shelter. Everything basic they need we need too. So, can you help our pollinators and add more flowers, shrubs, trees? I hope so. Check out Pollinator.org for regional planting guides for suggestions.
About My Guest: Vicki’s interest in pollinators was sparked during her undergraduate days with the opportunity to travel to Brazil to participate in a field course in pollinator ecology field research course in Brazil and has continued ever since. Her graduate research focused on understanding how native bees use habitats in cities. This focus on pollinators in human-dominated landscapes has continued throughout her career and has grown to include agricultural lands, industrial lands, and the impacts of climate change. Vicki is currently the Research Director at Pollinator Partnership she oversees the research program, keeping on top of new and emerging pollinator issues.
Transcript: Vicki Wojcik
Earth Day is upon us, April 22nd is the official date. We have many reminders, events, that highlight ways we can do more to reduce, recycle, repurpose stuff. My recent podcast guests, students from the University of CT and others, changed the motto to REFUSE, reuse, recycle. They had suggestions to go along with this reframed motto:
- When shopping in a supermarket and veggies come wrapped, remove the wrapping and leave it there. Eventually, supermarkets will stop offering styrofoam packed items with plastic wrap.
- Reverse bag: forgot your bags in the car? I do this all the time. So? Have checkout baggers place items in your cart and you can bag it when you get back to your car.
- “If you plant it, they will come.” Buy a native plant from your plant nursery/garden center. Plant something different to increase your backyard diversity. Better yet try removing a portion of lawn and plant wildflowers or a butterfly garden/pollinator garden. Have you considered planting another tree? One oak can support so much wildlife and they need our help right now.
- Make kablooms for Easter gifts, table favors. Buy heirloom seeds, mix with clay and soil, form into balls. They can be tossed onto vacant lots, placed in pots, left in a side bed. Great gifts for the gardeners in your family, but cheap seeds will not yield good results. Buy from reputable sources.
- If you are drawn to native American culture, listen to the Algonquin water song: our water needs us today to stop pollution. Everything you plant, including trees help absorb water runoff and that means less water gets washed down our storm drains.
- Everything we do affects the next seven generations, every thought, word, and action. Weed your mind of negative thoughts, water and grow gratitude every day, feed your mind and heart with love and kindness.
This earth is an amazing place. We live here and so do countless other species. So many of my podcast guests remind me that she is intelligent and we are surrounded by genius. Many of our fellow species are hurting from the loss of habitat and pollution. Now is the time for practical action and profound inner change so we value her once again. If you haven’t done so, check out my podcasts where I interview a variety of folks with great suggestions for holistic living here on the planet we call home.
What one action can you do today, and make it a part of your daily habits that is sustainable? Share your ideas with us. We appreciate all your comments. Remember we make a difference with every choice we make. Enjoy. Judith
A couple of years ago one of my poems was selected for an international women’s online publication. This poem reflected my reverence for my body. Our bodies are amazingly designed, a masterpiece of complex interconnectedness. Yet, we women have been subjected to the media definition of what our body should look like. Most of us do not fit the bill. We’re not skinny enough, too curvy, not the right hair color, too old etc. What makes me sad is that many of the print models are airbrushed to look the way they do, giving us a false impression. Stripped down, they are no different than the rest of us.
The good news is we are breaking down some of these image stereotypes. I see the younger gals going more natural wearing little to no makeup. I see baby boomers, my generation, claiming our aging, celebrating our accomplishments that are reflected in our wrinkles, our grey hair, Our bodies change as we grow older, we fill out, more flexible and use our sexuality more creatively if we choose.
Who are my heroines? There are so many to choose from. On a recent post, I highlighted Jean Houston, Caroline Myss, and Marianne Williamson. For this month’s national and international theme of honoring women, chose my earth teachers.
Seeds: Vandana Shiva: Seed Saver Extraordinaire! Scientist, pioneer, rebel, activist, saw the handwriting on the wall. When big chemical companies were introducing seeds injected with systemic pesticides she inherently knew those kinds of seed manipulations could cause unforeseen consequences.
“In 1991 she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade. For the last two decades, Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations, serving more than 500,000 men and women farmers. Navdanya’s efforts have resulted in the conservation of more than 3000 rice varieties from across India, and the organization has established 60 seed banks in 16 states across the country. ”
I have read she has had to face great obstacles in her travels of spreading her vision. I admire her courage and fortitude and guiding light.
Plants and Medicine: Rosemary Gladstar: One of our Herb Mothers: I have had the privilege of studying herbal medicine with Rosemary. She and others awakened the herbal movement in the early seventies with the advent of the Aids epidemic. Many fellow herbalists sought out native elders and learned rituals, ceremony to honor the earth. They, in turn, became our teachers, instilling reverence for the species we harvested and consumed.
Rosemary began in California, founded California School of Herbal Medicine, moved to Vermont and began Sage Mountain Herbs. She’s a co-founder of United Plant Savers and the International Herb Symposium, a biennial event, one I have attended and highly recommend. Herbalism has matured. Many of the presenters share their vast experiences of using herbal medicine in practice and offer practical, tested advice. I admire Rosemary for her activism in protecting plant species and offering reliable herbal knowledge.
Earth Partner: Pam Montgomery: Pam was my first herbal teacher. We spent several afternoons way back when, as teacher and student, learning about wildcrafting in responsible ways and learning how to make herbal preparations for family and friends.
Today, she is the founder of Partner Earth Education and has now transitioned into Wake up to Nature, in Vermont. Pam too is an activist seeking to awaken us to our partnership with nature. She is one of the founding members of the Organization of Nature Evolutionaries. or O.N.E. This relatively new organization is working with other organizations that seek to have the legal rights of nature finally recognized. They offer ceremony and ritual to help us feel nature’s deep presence. I respect Pam’s dedication and deep commitment.
All three women embody advocacy, education, and action. Today we have many environmental problems. Like many others, I seek to follow those who inspire us to a more responsible partnership with this earth. Is it easy? No, but that’s where passion and courage come in. We all have unique gifts and talents and as my guest this week reminds us, we can make a difference one project at a time and create change.
So thank you Kelly Rafferty and Kyleigh Hillerud for sharing your story. How in eight short months you took proper action, offered education for informed decision making to your college campus and today celebrate zero plastic bags on campus.
Know you are in good company. Established women, young women starting out, making a difference, Isn’t it great!.
Who do you admire? Let us know. Your comments and stories are appreciated. Enjoy. Judith
Description: Students are making a difference. The University of Connecticut is in my backyard. I receive a newsletter that highlights important work being done across campus. It is here I found Kelly Rafferty and the UConn PIRG chapter tackling ‘zero plastic bags’, taking practical action making this a reality. How did they do? They were successful! The dining Department has done away with plastic bags. Kelly and her group of volunteers polled, presented and accomplished the task of taking plastic bags out of dining services. She and her team offered practical tips, education, and alternatives to students and faculty. After 8 months of diligent work, ‘no plastic bags’ through dining services is now a reality.
Join us for her insightful discussion on the detrimental effects plastic bags have on our health, the environment, how the use of plastic bags depletes our resources and wastes taxpayers money.
About My Guest: Kelly Rafferty is a junior English major student at the University of Connecticut. She is a member of UConn PIRG, a student-run, non-profit advocacy group. In particular, she has been the campaign coordinator for the “Zero Waste” on campus whose mission is to eliminate plastic bags. Join us for an insightful discussion where students such as Kelly are making a difference one school and one town at a time to reduce waste which helps clean up our environment. Actions we desperately need today.
Transcript: #55 Kelly Rafferty