“We came to remember we are all one.”Report by Sandra Cosentino, who arranged meetings with Hopi and Navajo people on behalf of the Sacred Earth Network project to help connect Siberian native people to traditional native cultures of northern Arizona.
“Given their profound commonalities, there is an urgent need for Eurasian native groups to connect directly with their counterparts in North American for mutual benefit.” Sacred Earth NetworkEmotions flowed as native Siberians walked ancient sacred lands of the Hopi and Navajo peoples in an historic coming together November 4 and 5, 2001 in northern Arizona. The prayers, songs and depth of spirituality of the Hopi and Navajo traditional peoples they visited touched a deep chord for the five Siberian visitors and all of us who were present.
Hopi Visit“The return of our lands and right to co-govern and connect political work with ceremony and prayers is important to us,” said Lydumila Ignatenko, an Eskimo from Kamchatka, at the opening of an evening circle with a Hopi medicine man and traditional leader. Our Hopi friend, listening deeply and radiating heartfelt welcome spoke of the importance of the land: “Shrines are important. We’re here to protect and preserve this land for our children and their children. Where you are born, you always go back, that is your umbilical, it is always imprinted. We send our messages from the center of Mother Earth to infinity. Our natural foods grown from the land sustain us.” He spoke of how since time immemorial Hopis have maintained their sovereign status given to them by the highest leader who is always there for everyone.
Milan Kynyraa from Tuva culture in southern Siberia spoke of his concern with the degradation of his culture:
“We came here to remember we are all one. We have lost our spirituality; our children don’t feel it it inside–this is dangerous. The changes in lifestyle are consuming more from nature. I have studied my own culture and realize the importance of ritual and ceremony. The main purpose of my visit here is to see how North Americans preserve their rituals so I can try to restore that in my home lands.”The Hopi medicine man responded with confidence as he voiced a universal wisdom that is true for all of us:
“Someone with a good heart, with no anger can persevere and will succeed in fulfilling what needs to be done. Have kindness from the heart and faith. Always pray when you start the day. Rest when the sun goes down. One or two can succeed for their people. We all carry the seeds within us. We each came in with different things to fulfill. When we preserve our culture we move to a different place; it is important for children to know their purpose. Knowledgeable people sit on their knowledge, but sometimes they take off the mask and become their true self.”He was encouraging each of us, of all cultures, to express our true heart. This is our gift to the world that changes everything around us. Each one of us left that evening inspired by the heart-level exchange.
Navajo VisitCanyon de Chelly is a place where the Holy Ones welcome people to be nurtured in the womb of Mother Earth. As the Siberians walked the trails and visited remote hogans, they felt a genetic kinship with the Navajo peoples who are of nomadic ancestry from the time when a land bridge existed between Siberia and Alaska. Tears flowed as they received prayers and songs from a Navajo medicine man and traditional leaders.
Sacred Earth Network “Light of the Ancient Lands” ProjectIn May, 2001, Sacred Earth Network (SEN), a non-profit organization based in Amhurst, Massachusetts, and representatives of 15 indigenous peoples from Siberia and the Russian Far East founded “Light of the Ancient Lands” devoted to the rebirth of their indigenous culture, including its spirituality and traditional use of natural resources. At the request of their Siberian indigenous partners SEN obtained grant funding for the Siberian-Native American Indigenous Peoples Exchange a visit in the U.S. Sandra Cosentino, Crossing Worlds Journeys, arranged the Hopi and Navajo portion of the SEN U.S. visit. SEN has been involved for many years with Northern Eurasia with environmental and legal protections of the indigenous lands and cultures.
“We feel more strongly than ever that indigenous wisdom and experience is vital to he creation of global sustainable human culture–that we of the modern western culture has a lot to learn from traditional peoples. Given their profound commonalities, there is an urgent need for Eurasian native groups to connect directly with their counterparts in North American for mutual benefit.”
For more information: see the Sacred Earth Network website