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Original Blessing

the child makes mud pies

The Child makes Mud Pies

"How can you buy the sky? How can you own the rain and the wind?

My mother told me, every part of this earth is sacred to our people. Every pine needle. Every sandy shore. Every mist in the dark woods. Every meadow and humming insect. All are holy in the memory of our people.

My father said to me, 'I know the sap that courses through the trees as I know the blood that flows in my veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers.' The rocky crests, the meadows, the ponies - all belong to the same family.

The voice of my ancestors said to me, 'The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not simply water, but the blood of your grandfather's grandfather. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of memories in the life of our people. The water's murmur is the voice of your great-great-grandmother. The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children.' You must give to the rivers the kindness you would give to any brother.

The voice of my grandfather said to me, 'The air is precious. It shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave me my first breath also received my last sigh.' You must keep the land and the air apart and sacred, as a place where one can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

When the last Red Man and Woman have vanished with their wilderness, and their memory is only a shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will the shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left? My ancestors said to me, 'This we know: the earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.'

The voice of my grandmother said to me. 'Teach your children what you have been taught. The Earth is our mother. What befalls the earth befalls all the sons and daughters of the earth."'

From "Chief Seattle's Speech"