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Reflexivity, May 30, 2018

We Are Water: Walking the Howsatunnuck for the 7th Generation

Easily taken as just another crazy old lady, Carole Bubar-Blodgett talks a lot. Her stories are personal, about the lessons, teachings, and experiences she’s had walking the Good Red Road. Emotion runs through her, especially gratitude.

Grandmother Carole was at Standing Rock, where she gifted the Water is Life Eagle Staff to the youth of the Seventh Generation. “It was always theirs,” she explains, “I was just holding it for them.”

“We Are Water”

The 2018 Walk is along the Howsatunnuck River (Housatonic) with Headwaters in Massachusetts and New York, running down through the Berkshires and Central Connecticut to the Long Island Sound.

This river was suggested to Grandmother Carole by Micah Big Wind Lott, who was supporting actions against the illegal extension of a fracked gas pipeline in the Otis State Forest in western Massachusetts. It is mind-boggling to comprehend the poison in this river, given the pervasive gorgeousness of the landscape. Fishermen, kayakers, and tourists gawk at the beauty. But what do they make of the signs warning of fish you cannot eat and water you cannot enter, should not even touch?

Sachem Hawk Storm, of the Schaghticoke, admitting to his daughters that he licks rocks.

One evening on the Walk, we were treated to a cozy dinner with Schaghticoke Sachem Hawk Storm and his family. Grandmother and Hawk spoke of many things, but mostly we laughed. Some of the more serious topics included the inadequacy of the English language for conveying the sacred nature of water, the absence of a discrete word for time in some indigenous languages, and being heyoka. At one potent moment, Hawkstorm emphasized that we (humans) are water. The emphasis on language—how to say things properly—seemed (to me/nerdy white grrl) similar to the prayer Grandmother has taught us to offer whenever we cross a waterway: seeking permission to cross.

We ask permission, she explains, because water can either be soft and gentle or hard and forceful. The gesture of asking could be literal, yet it is the ritual of asking that is most significant because it is about an orientation to the water. Seeking permission is a way of showing respect and remembering relationship—of affirming kinship and connection of humans and water. Language and language use is also about orientation: soft and gentle or hard and forceful.

For a few millenia, the hard aspect of language has sent us spiraling toward disaster. We must re-orient ourselves, somehow, so that we can slow and divert the onrush. Humans have two unique tools for this task: our languages and our cultures. Spending a month walking 220 miles in the company of a river will not automatically cleanse it of pollutants or free it from dams. But devoting such time to thinking about and caring for the water is a way to signal the intention of doing whatever it takes to ensure this water is clean and free-flowing for the next seventh generation.

by Steph on May 30th, 2018 at 7:57 pm
This writing is a part of an article by Steph Kent. To read more:

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There is MUCH hoopla about the ‘Schaghticokes wanting Casinos’, but I know Chief Robert Birch personally and I can tell you for the record that HIS people the SCHAGHTICOKES FIRST NATIONS  – do NOT want any Casino. He is no fool, and he said to me himself while we were together at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City in 2015 – when I asked him about this topic; and he said – and I quote:

“Damon, I am very aware that the invisible third hand of organised crime often inserts itself in any ‘gaming enterprise’ that is created in the USA – and around the world for that matter, followed by addictions to spiritually dead ways; and that is not the path of honor our ancestors walked and died upon so we could be here today”. READ MORE…

Irondale Schoolhouse Shows Unity:

Millbrook Rotary Publication, 2016:

Indigenous People’s Day In Solidarity With Standing Rock, 2016:

Dover steeped in Schaghticoke First Nations history, 2016:

65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference, 2014:                                   

Schaghticoke Taino Unity, 2014: