Close the river, Randy Moore!

The Winnemem Wintu Tribe

In their language, Winnemem Wintu translates to Middle Water People, as the McCloud River is bounded by the Upper Sacramento to the West and the Pit River to the East. 

The photo below is is on display at the United Nations.  The photo is that of their Traditional Leader: Caleen Sisk.


 They proudly state “We were born from water, we are of the water, and we fight to protect it.”   I feel a link with these People, as one of my personal devotional Goddesses is Yemanja… She of the Waters (my statue, below).

This is a link for their website:
http://www.winnememwintu.us/

This is a link to the Youtube video I saw: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oglCy–o7oY

This video showed Winnemem Wintu tribal members at the US Forest Service Regional headquarters in Vallejo.  They were there to ask Randy Moore, Regional Forester, to close the river for their young women’s Coming of Age Ceremony.

I decided I had to write to Randy Moore, as was asked of me.  Below is a slightly-edited copy of my e-mail, which was sent this morning from my business account.

* * *

I watched this video, and there you were, Mr. Moore.

I am a Paralegal; I love the law, and I love my country (as a man called out from a boat in the video, “we love America – do you?”).  I am a Pagan/Wiccan woman, 56 years of age.  My daughter, too, is a Pagan/Wiccan woman.  My grandsons are Pagan/Wiccan children.  Our faith is nature-based, as is that of the Native Americans.  We are close to them, in heart and soul.  We respect them, and support them.

My family – and others of my faith – have experienced violence, bigotry and bullying because of our own religious beliefs.  Our faith practices include coming of age ceremonies for our young men and women.   What I saw in the video was a disgrace.


The grown woman flashing her breasts and cat-calling from a speedboat (in the video; this photo is edited) is a perfect example of what happens when young people don’t experience a meaningful “coming of age” in their own families and cultures, and find that it’s allowed – even encouraged – to disrespect and bully others who are unlike themselves. This sacred location was not Mardi Gras time in The Big Easy, where she would have been encouraged to flash others to receive trinkets and beads.  She and her acquaintances were not quietly passing the ceremonial site, showing a respectful interest in a different culture.  If that’s all they had been doing, this issue would be moot… but this is not a one-time occurrence.

The Native women in this video made their point, courteously and clearly.  I thought I’d write to you, and ask your opinion regarding their request.  It seems that a “voluntary closure” of their sacred space does not work.  Will you be closing the river for four days out of 365, so these Native American people can hold a sacred ceremony for their young tribe members?  Four days, out of 365, is not a lot to ask.

We have heard of too many deaths coming from all sorts of bullying these days.  Even children in grade school are killing themselves because of the pain.  It’s up to you to do something positive for a change.

I hope to hear from you.

* * *

I signed it with my full name, address, phone number, and job title.   I can only hope it makes a difference.

Won’t you please join me by taking a stand in support of our Brothers and Sisters?

Namaste.

I am beautiful… I am lovable.

First things first. Please click the link, read the article and watch the video (only 5 minutes of your time).  Then, come back here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/opinion/black-women-and-natural-hair.html?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB

Have you done what I asked of you? OK, good. Please continue reading.

I am a 56 year old Caucasian woman. All the women in the video are Black women, young, old, and in-between. They are doing a very brave thing in the face of social pressure. They are returning to their natural Goddess-given-genetically-gifted look. They are doing this to please themselves. They have learned that they are beautiful, just as they are made. But – you know what? It’s not just them. ALL OF US ARE BEAUTIFUL. Every woman on the Planet Earth is BEAUTIFUL.

I am curious to know how many of you read my blog, but choose not to post… or how many of you are painfully shy… or how many of you think you have nothing “worthy” to share… or how many of you don’t even know that you are a part of a supportive Sisterhood that is waiting to interact with YOU. Maybe it’s because you simply can’t fathom that there really are women who would stand-up for their sisters… who aren’t catty… who won’t belittle you or bully you… because that is what you learned in “real life” as you grew up… or maybe, that’s what you are experiencing right now, at your workplace or in your school or in your own family.

Well, this article has pushed me over the edge, and it’s time to step up, Goddess Women of the WORLD. Your hair does not matter. Your skin color does not matter. Your job or career does not matter. Your marital status does not matter. Your sexual preference does not matter. Nothing matters but the BEAUTY OF YOUR FEMALE HUMAN SOUL. It shows through your eyes… through your kindness… through your acts of charity… through your support for others who are strangers to you. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Some of you – many of you – may not believe this. These words may never have passed your lips… “I am beautiful.”

You may look into a mirror each morning and think… “ugh… how ugly I am…” And then, the negative self-talk begins… the self-abuse… I’m unlovable… I’m too fat… my hips are too wide… my stomach hangs… my breasts are too large… my breasts are too small… I had cancer and I have no breasts at all anymore, and I wish I were dead… my teeth aren’t white enough… my breath stinks… I can’t afford a dentist and my teeth are falling out from decay… it hurts so bad… I’m unlovable… I’m getting old and my hair is thinning… I have alopecia and I’m ashamed I’m bald under this cheap wig… my feet are so huge… my feet are ugly, I have corns and bunions… I can’t walk without a cane… I cant walk at all, because I’m missing a leg… I can’t have a relationship because nobody would want to see my ugly stump… I’m unlovable… I don’t have children… I’m infertile… I can’t create life… I’m not a “real” woman… I’m unlovable… I wish I’d never had children… I’m so short-tempered, I want to hit them like I was hit at their age… I’m scared… I’m depressed… I can’t confide in anyone… I’m unlovable… I’m stupid… I can’t understand math… I can’t balance a checkbook… I never got my diploma… I’m ignorant… I don’t understand what they’re talking about on the news programs… I have dyslexia… I can’t read or spell… my children would be ashamed if they knew… I only pretend to help them with their homework… I can’t meet their teachers, they might ask me questions I can’t answer… I’d rather they all just think I don’t care… I’m unlovable… I’m deaf… I’m cross-eyed… I’m blind… I bite my nails, and tear at the skin, until my fingers bleed… my hands are ugly… I am missing fingers and it’s hard to do anything involving my hands… I’m too thin… I am anorexic and I can’t believe I’m not fat… I’m bulimic… if anyone knew I binged, they’d be disgusted by me… I’m disgusted by me… I cut myself to release the pain… I used to shoot up… I miss the drugs… I’m so tempted for just a little relief… my body is hideous, the scars are everywhere… I can’t wear short sleeves… I can’t find work… I’m a failure… I’m poor… I can’t feed my family… I have to visit a church food pantry… I shoplift food, because I’m too ashamed to ask for charity… I’m unlovable… I trade sex for money to feed my family… my spouse hits me, and I lie about how I got the bruises because I am afraid, and I believe it when I’m told I’m unworthy because my parents did and said the same things when I was growing up… my spouse left me because I’m worthless… I don’t know how to love because nobody ever showed me how… I’m unlovable.

Are you crying? Good. That means I hit a nerve. That means you are alive and worth saving whether you agree or not. Because of some things, and in spite of others… YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and LOVABLE. To Hell with all that negative inner chatter, and to Hell with those who think otherwise. It’s not you who are unworthy, it’s THEM.  So please, take the first step. Do it for me, if you can’t do it for yourself. Post here. Write-out the words: “I am beautiful. I am lovable.” Even if you don’t quite believe it… “act as if.” Then, when you feel yourself sliding downhill, you can come back here and read those six words, and the posts of other sisters, and know in your heart of hearts that we are a family to which you belong, a sisterhood of those who see your beauty… those who love you… and you can reach out and contribute without fear of being rejected or belittled.  You are safe here, sisters. You are beautiful, and I love you all.

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