DAY 6: The Land is our Teacher

{DISCLAIMER: These reflections are solely my reflections from my journey as a Potawatomi woman. They do not reflect the journey or stories of every indigenous person, and it should not be assumed that every indigenous person has the same experiences. Thank you for joining me here. May we grow toward unity together.}



Yesterday as part of this series on Native American Heritage Month, I encouraged you to find out who lived on your and before you, what indigenous peoples thrived where you are now. Today we’re going to consider how the land heals us, and it’s a relationship in which we care for one another because of it.

Last year, I went to one of our favorite wooded areas during a break from work.

I lay down on a wooden platform and looked up at the trees. I stared at the pines’ tops, far above me.

I saw the silhouette of birds, heard them telling some sort of story. I was feeling pretty lonely at that time. The work of constantly studying, learning from my tribe, processing what it means to be indigenous, left me feeling exhausted and hungry for rest. What often gave me the most rest wasn’t people, but land–birds and rocks, rivers and trees, bugs and dirt.

After laying there for a few minutes listening, I saw a single leaf begin to fall from the top of one of the trees. Life seemed to slow down.

Time seemed to stand still.

That leaf slowly kept falling,



until it landed right next to me,

and I heard a whisper echo from those same treetops,

“You are never alone.”

The land heals us.

God speaks through trees and leaves, rivers and rocks, hills and valleys, mountains and skylines.

And so, we are not alone, and the land tells us so. Indigenous peoples have known this for a long time, and for a long time, colonized America has believed that because we can take control of the land, we heal ourselves, everything done by the wit and wisdom of people.

But there has always been another way.

And if we get quiet enough to listen, if we lay down long enough to notice, there will be healing upon healing pointed in our direction.

The land doesn’t discriminate. She pours out kindness for us when we ask, when we listen, partnering with the Creator to usher us closer to a kind of Eden-world that was birthed in the very beginning.

And so, we walk carefully. And when we are tired of people, of politics and gossip, of drama, we run to the forests again, we swim in the rivers, or we lay down under a tree and let it remind us that we are truly never alone.



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