Ten thousand years before European settlers arrived om the East coast the peoples of tribes such as the Lenape, the Iroquois, Pawnee, and Swinomish tribes, to name a few, fished and hunted in the forests, across the plains, and in the clean rivers that flowed to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
But for the last forty years or so, tribes dependent on salmon, beaver, and other woods animals and river fish have seen a remarkable decline. The Swinomish developed a plan to protect their habitat through some innovative strategies. More than 50 other tribes have followed, including the Nez Pierce in Idaho and the Mohawk in New York.
Tribal leaders from all over the United States are calling on Congress to take the climate catastrophe seriously. One tribal elder from the Ponca Nation in Oklahoma noted that the ground is polluted, their animals have developed cancers, and the water is tainted. Who speaks for the trees, the rivers, the forests? They have no voice – we must.
Prayer for the Day
May we hear you, O God, through the sounds of the wind,
May we see you, O Lord, through leaves falling from the trees;
May we taste you, O God, through clean waters from the hills,
May we smell you, O Lord, through the air around us.
Touch us, Holy One, with your Spirit, empowering us to act
For the care of the earth you have given us.
In the name of the One who is always with us,
Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Thoughts for the Day
We must protect the forests for our children, our grandchildren, and our children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves, such as the birds, animals, fish, and trees.
Qwatsinas, Hereditary Chief Nuxalt Nation, British Columbia (d. 2010)
The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood.
Mary Brave Bird, Sicangu Lakota writer (1954-2013)
Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture,
But you must tread down with your feet the rest of the pasture?
When you drink clear water, must you foul the rest with your feet?
And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet,
And drink what you have fouled with or feet?
Ezekiel 34: 18