Director’s Blog: Gratefully Acknowledging Mother Earth

Dear GCI followers,

We hope that everyone had a relaxing and fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday. We at Great Cities Institute are very thankful that we are able to do the work that we are doing. We are also thankful for your support and interest.

We also recognize that for many, the holiday season brings forth the heartache of losing a loved one, especially parents who have lost a precious child. We send special greetings of love to those remembering their loved ones.

While we enjoyed the break in the action, reflection to give thanks, the good food, and time with family and friends, we also take a moment to reminder ourselves that the image of the Pilgrims holding the first Thanksgiving with Native Americans perpetuates mythic notions of how and why the first Thanksgiving came about.

As we remember this history, we can also take note that many of the contemporary debates over energy extraction policies directly affect indigenous communities throughout the Americas. This includes the Keystone Pipeline, hydraulic fracturing, uranium mining, and an array of other environmental justice issues. Throughout the Americas, indigenous peoples continue to struggle for their survival, even as they celebrate their traditions and plan for their children’s futures. Declarations of the Rights of Mother Earth from Bolivia have made their way to the U.N. reminding us of how much we can learn by refusing to ignore the history of indigenous people throughout the Americas and the world. At a time when global climate change threatens our ability as humans to survive on this planet, it may indeed be a good time to embrace the values that embrace human life and the life of the surrounding ecologies.

Teresa Córdova