Archive for the ‘2009 April’ Category

su_c01_noriega_03292_t620For those of you who know us, you know how very proud we are of Robert’s sister DeAnna (whom we lovingly call “Sissy”). Click on the photo to read a great article and discover for yourself just how amazing she is, and how each of us can make a difference!

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Every Person Matters


you are the world

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Today we met Angela Amico, an amazing teacher at Baker Elementary School in San Jose, California. She asks every one of her third grade students, upon arriving and leaving her classroom each day, to make eye contact and shake her hand. It gives her an opportunity to “check in” with each of them, and gives them a chance to make a personal connection with her.

This simple technique keeps her in touch with where the kids are at, and helps them to build their personal confidence, to stay focused and present. What a fantastic idea! Wouldn’t it be great if every classroom teacher did this?

Here’s what Angela had to say about our “Walking In Wisdom” student assembly: “I would really recommend this time spent with these wonderful guests, teaching us lessons about the Earth and ourselves.”

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The Way of Love


“Throughout history, the way of love and truth has always won.” – Ghandi

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We love seeing other Native people sharing their gifts and talents with the world. A friend of ours shared this information with us. We haven’t met Radmilla yet, but we look forward to it and want to support the great work she’s doing.

Radmilla Cody is a prominent singer/ artist from the Navajo Nation. She is Dine’ (Navajo) on her mother’s side and African American on her father’s side. She grew up very traditional on the Navajo Reservation and speaks English & Navajo fluently. She was lucky enough to grow up with her Navajo grandmother, learning the Navajo language and culture. Radmilla is also a survivor of domestic violence and is an amazing spokesperson for biracial children and domestic violence prevention. Check out her website to read more about her biography and talents. Go to http://www.radmillacody.net/index.html

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Jake Swamp

Jake Swamp

Here’s a great photo of Jake Swamp of the Haudensaunee People.

We were in Morocco on a peace tour with the Native American International Cultural Exchange. It was an amazing experience, and we are so inspired by the work that Jake has done with the Tree of Peace Society. Here’s some info:

The Tree of Peace Society is a non-profit cultural and environmental organization founded in 1984 by Tekaronianeken, Jake Swamp, Wolf Clan sub-chief of the Kahniakehaka (People of the Flint), Mohawk Nation. For more than thirty years Chief Swamp has been a Mohawk sub-Chief and representative on the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee , Iroquois Confederacy : Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora. He has presented the wide range of his experience in indigenous, environmental and social issues in talks and programs both locally and internationally.

Chief Swamp founded the Tree of Peace Society, a 501(c) 3, non-profit organization and the Tree of Peace Learning Center for Peace, Cultural and Environmental Studies, in an effort to address current topics in environmental and cultural education. The ‘Society’ builds cross-cultural understanding between Native and non-Native people, promotes environmental and social ethics, and works tirelessly to preserve the culture and languages of the Haudenosaunee.

Check out their website at http://www.treeofpeacesociety.info/

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If there was just one thing you were willing to do to help the environment, we’d invite you to stop buying household cleaning products made of toxic chemicals. We did this years ago and we’ve never regretted it.

It’s so easy to think that if it wasn’t safe, it wouldn’t be on the shelves. But that simply isn’t true.

We were surprised to learn that the average U.S. household spends nearly $600 every year on 40 pounds of cleaning supplies made of chemicals. These toxic products may cause cancer, asthma and many other problems.

According to author David Bach, “Chemical cleaning supplies are an $18 billion industry, and they not only threaten our health, they also end up in our rivers, oceans, soil, and air.”

What if you just stopped buying them? According to Bach in Go Green, Live Rich: 50 Simple Ways to Save the Earth (and Get Rich Trying), “For about $20, you can replace every cleaning product in your house with a safer, non-toxic, biodegradable homemade version using common ingredients like baking soda, club soda, vinegar and salt. If you’re not up for making your own, there are non-toxic commercial alternatives as well. Brands like Arm and Hammer, Shaklee and Seventh Generation offer cleaning products made with safe, biodegradable ingredients at prices comparable to those of mainstream brands.”

Check out Go Green, Live Rich for all fifty tips.

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Since the beginning of time, all things in the natural world have upheld their responsibilities. As we look around, we can see this. Every morning the sun rises to warm all things on this Earth, that it may grow. Every evening our Grandmother Moon rises, and controls the ebb and flow of all the water, including our own. And the stars twinkle in the darkness so we may never lose our way.

Even in the heart of a concrete jungle, the little birds sing so sweetly so that we may be encouraged to go on. And since the beginning of time, we have never needed to go anywhere else for everything that we need. Right here, on our Mother Earth, we have been given food, shelter, clothing, medicine and tools that we may survive and live well. We are blessed.

So today, and every day, we are thankful for this land, for all our relatives and we ask forgiveness for the harm we have done. We express our deepest gratitude for all that is given. The Earth is our Mother…care for her.

Miigwetch (all that is given I hold in the highest regard).

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The Whale


If you read a recent front page story of the SF Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around-she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you, and all those you love,
be so blessed and fortunate
to be surrounded by people
who will help you get untangled
from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy
of giving and receiving gratitude.

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