About Grandmother Earth Russell Means We were created in these hills, The Black Hills, which is our holy land. It’s The Black Hills of South Dakota, and Wyoming, and parts of Montana. That’s where we were born, that’s where we were created, that’s our creation story. That’s where the gravesites of a lot of our ancestors are. It’s sacred. The secret of our spiritual strength. This is the Earth. It’s my skin. This is my skin, that’s the Earth, it’s interchangeable, [and] it is worth fighting and dying for. It’s worth protecting. You lose that essence of the Earth, and then you lose your essence for life. And what happens? You become a consumer. You have no roots, and you know, in my politics, I try to convey to people –in and out of my politics all the time—until Americans feel American, and not Jewish American, or African American, or Mexican American, or Polish American, there’ll always be division, there’ll always be the rich, there will be poverty, there will be misery. You have to love the land. Even the bible says, “from dust to dust” get with it, people! We call the Aspen “The tree with the whispering leaves”. Even with a slight wind, you can hear the leaves, rustling and whispering, sounds like “shh… shh…”, sounds like they are talking to one another. It becomes our sun dance tree. It’s a tree with strong medicine, with strong spiritual power. A tree will tell you how to live your life. So a tree, the tree of life, is from the Earth, it never leaves the Earth, it always follows the instructions, and it obeys the seasons. It follows the directions The Great Mystery has given the tree, and all of life, actually. Except us. So The Tree of Life is what brings the roots back into the Earth and holds the sacred hoop of our nation together. When the tree is destroyed, the roots are destroyed, and the hoop is broken. And we no longer exist. And that’s why down there, I am building a school, a total immersion school, which will be, we will teach our children, only in Lakota, all of our history, all of our science. If all the insects were to die, nothing on Earth could live. If all our green relatives died, nothing could live on Earth. If all the four-leggeds, all the four leggeds, died, nothing could live on Earth. If everything that flies, all the wingeds were to die, nothing could live on Earth. But if the two-leggeds, the human beings died, all of us, everything would flourish. So you build a civilization that can get along with all of this life. The Earth is a living being, it’s not simply an orb hanging in space, to do with as we please. It’s our grandmother, that’s in our language translated into English; we call it our grandmother the Earth. You take care of her, acknowledge her, and she will take care of you. So I’m telling you, if you have respect for the ultimate female, what else follows? What our legacy is, our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren. But the key to that legacy, is understanding that kind of immortality. That’s it, and it gives you a sense of well being, that sense of peace. Peace of mind. You never hear an industrial or technological society talk about, “I want you to grow up and have peace of mind.” So my legacy is peace of mind. I want all people to regain, I want all people, all the sacred colors of the human race to grab a hold of peace of mind, and make that our ambition: “You are free to do anything in life as long as you don’t harm another human being”. What a concept.