All my life, I learned about being connected to the earth, including plants and animals. It is a concept that I understood from an early age. I listened to stories as a young child that told of how we came to be and the relationship and responsibility that we have with life on earth, including that of plants, animals, insects, and water. Indigenous families haven’t always seen eye to eye with most environmental justice organizations. Still, many Native peoples and Families align with environmental justice because we teach responsibility to steward the earth.
Plants, insects, animals, rocks, and water, like humans, have energy forces within and around them that cause them to grow, move, and/or exist. Science has found that we should consume nutrients, minerals, and water to be healthy. It is common knowledge that minerals and water come from the earth. In pre-America, the Indigenous families in California understood this connection. They maintained the health of the land by alternating between locations, living nearby water but not too close. They practiced what we call today cultural burning and only took what was necessary for survival and cultural practices. What these families managed to keep healthy and pristine for thousands of years, Spanish and English/American invaders managed to devastate and destroy in less than just a couple hundred years. It is a true statement that we cannot live healthily without the earth. The earth, however, will prosper without humankind.
Today I urge you to ask yourself; how do you respect the water and show reciprocity to nature for the gifts given without price? The grocery and realty markets might charge you, but the earth never has. Do you give thanks for your meals before enjoying them? Do you show gratitude for your water before drinking or bathing in it? Do you show appreciation for having shelter? Do you leave places that you visit cleaner than you found them? Do you talk to plants, water, and animals upon meeting/seeing them? Do you treat everything and everyone as relatives, with love and respect? I choose to live by the motto: “We are all related. I choose to treat all life with love and respect; to harm one is to harm myself. Today I choose to love and respect myself.”
What will you choose?
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Singer, Song Writer, Emcee (rapper), Poet, and Published Author Jessa Calderon is of the Chumash and Tongva Nations of Southern California. Jessa also identifies with her Yoeme and Mexican roots. Jessa is a natural born singer who truly found her voice in hip-hop. As an emcee, poet and published author, Jessa is able to share her culture and truth in a way that keeps the crowds intrigued. Not only does Jessa bring pictures to life through the minds’ eye with her writing, she also brings her listeners enlightenment and healing. Since 2019 Jessa has joined the Dream Warriors collective with Tanaya Winder, Frank Waln, Lyla June, Tall Paul, Mic Jordan and Gunner Jules. Together they share, music, culture, stories, poems, seminars, workshops, webinars which equates to healing as a community.