Yesterday as I made my way around the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC I was struck by how much these wonderful indigenous people were in tune with the earth. The wisdom quotes which ringed the walls of the museum bespoke a culture that respected life. All life including relationships with plants, rocks and anything created was sacred. I appreciated the parallels with the Franciscan intellectual tradition in the writing of Bl. John Duns Scotus, St. Bonaventure and more recently Ilia Delio, OSF. We have much to learn and apply from our native brothers and sisters. We need a renewed kinship with all creation.
This morning I got a preview of an epic televised special which will be airing on PBS next month. It is a topic near to my heart, not because I am a Native American, but because my life is so closely woven with those who are. One of the people I have been privileged to call a friend in my life was a Seneca. He and his wife drove my wife and I away from the church on our wedding day. My father worked with the Seminole and Micosukee natives of South Florida and the Yurok and Karoks of Northern California too. Nearly everywhere I look and all of the land I own was once theirs. In fact it all really belongs to the Creator as they call him.
Thanks to Public Broadcasting System for bringing us this special television event. We who have been quick to condemn others in the world for ethnic cleansing have our own past for which to atone. Lent is a time of rebirth and renewal. I hope this special can awaken one for us too.