There is a legend among the Oglala Sioux that goes back about 2000 years telling of a time when they had lost the ability to communicate with Wakan Tanka [the great spirit] and so It sent White Buffalo Calf Woman to teach them the 7 sacred rites and to present them with the sacred pipe that connected all things. One of these rites was the hanbleceya [vision quest], where youths would spend from a few days to a couple weeks in isolation among the wilderness fasting from food and drink in order to come to adulthood. This was done by looking to the spirits for guidance after which they would be given their spirit name to be known among their people. In preparation they would meet with an elder [one would often stay nearby in seclusion] and go through the inipi [sweatlodge] in order to purify as well as mentally prepare. The boy or girl would find a place to fast usually up high and begin “crying for a vision”. This entailed praying with the pipe and calling out to the great spirit to imbue him or her with an experience that would impart an epiphanal connection with the physical and spiritual world all around them. The vision seeker would then go through a final inipi where the elder would help the youth interpret the vision which belonged not just to him or her but to the people as a whole. In this way each new vision that was given through the land to the seeker was brought back in honor to the people and allowed them to change and evolve with it. This practice was continued throughout one’s life whenever a man or woman felt cut off or disconnected they would go on a vision quest and refresh their dialog with the living breathing landscape.
Motuv or [Movement of the Unified Voice] Is an organization rooted in the belief that civilized culture has lost touch with that wild and naturally renewing state of the world that those youths found, and were then reinforced by their elders. We believe to change this it’s as much about living by example as it’s about organized political action, thus instead of hardened cynicism we look for attainable solutions and ways to actualize them not in twenty years but right now. Our focus is on the promotion and construction of agricultural, economic, social, philosophical and artistic systems putting the place of people back into natural systems as opposed to outside or “in control” of them. By localizing, living within our means, producing responsible well made goods + services and acquiring full knowledge of the cost and consequences of our wants, needs and actions we can establish truly enriching lives with strong individual and community + land bases in urban and rural environment alike. It is only once we respect the reality that consumption based life dealing with products and services that have no real intrinsic or cyclical value unsustainable and detrimental to our interpersonal and ecological relationships to ourselves and the true source of our resources both renewable and otherwise that we can begin to reconnect to the animate landscape.
We often believe it is our job as a generation to fully realize that as a civilized culture we are on a speeding train barreling towards a cliff and thus should work as hard as we can to stop. It is thus up to the generation of our young adults and children to accept that we don’t have to travel on this train at all, that the natural world HAS a culture and by looking at concepts like indigenous knowledge, bio-mimicry, permaculture, restorative justice, ecological economics, to name just a few we can learn the language of this culture and devise new goals and institutions that demand and necessitate new ways of thinking about transportation both in metaphor and reality. The Haudenosaunee [5 nations of the Iroquois confederacy] have what’s called a “great binding law” which states that we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but borrow it from our children and that a truly bountiful person can see what it called the 7th generation. This is when you can look back and see your great grandfather and also your great grandchild so that you begin to think multigenerationally using only what can then be given back and renewed. Let us cry for a vision of connection, together. Let us unify our voices with those of the animate earth herself and all the flora, fauna and myriad creatures on which we mutually depend.
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