Premiere episode of The Green Path podcast. Hosted by Benu Amun-Ra. Introduction to taking the path of connecting to the planet and tapping into the inherent common trait of humanity. Hearing voices from communities who have been left behind in the systems and coming together to explore the creative solutions to save ourselves and our Mother Earth.
Guest speaker: Nancy Rae Kochis - http://herbalgardenswellness.org
Poetry Corner: We Are Stars
Connie FireThunder GoFundMe:
Welcome to the Green Path podcast. I'm your host, Benu Amun-Ra and I'll be your guide as we venture together with open hearts and open minds, answering the call to strengthen our commitment to the well being of the Earth, with intention, community and shared knowledge. I will be your guide on the Green Path as we tap into nature's Winston and find solutions to reconnect in hell or a planet. Thank you and welcome to our very first episode. I'm excited to use this platform to address current issues of ecological and social injustices. Sustainability, food, sovereignty The most importantly ways that we can heal from the pain and trauma were experiencing every day while we lived together in a fragmented world, we will attempt to dive into uncertainty the unknown and we may will be surprised by our imagination and creativity and finding solutions that will transform our hope into action. Join me on this journey as we travel the green path to a future of healing and reparations. Before we begin, I like to open with some mindfulness and take a few moments of stillness to honor ourselves the present and our connection to the universe. Please take a seat wherever you are. Find the comfortable position. Make any adjustments As you start to relax. Let's take a few deep breaths to settle our minds and bring us into our bodies. I feel your breath as the air travels through your nose or mouth as it rushes into your lungs, filling them with oxygen. It feels good to be alive. Continue taking deep Rose as she began to settle into your bones as we're inside our homes. Currently, let's take the time to be inside a natural home, our physical bodies feeling the blood pumping through our veins as it travels down, down, down into her legs. We are grounded, rooted to the ground beneath us. Feel the strength and having roots like a tree strong grasping our mothers rich soil full of nutrients that feed our souls. Now imagine traveling up your legs, but this powerful energy slowly moving to your sitting bones. Take a deep breath. Imagine the trunk of the tree like your torso as this earthly energy continues to travel to your lungs deep, perhaps thank you for taking that time to be with me and to be present as we go for today to talk about interconnectedness and how very important it is to tap into that inherent commentary we'll have and why now, in this present time, it is so crucial that we work together and collaborate to survive our current times. We will discuss some ways we could create solutions to the challenges many states are facing as they try to reopen for business. We have a wonderful guests big speaker who will open her eyes and hearts to bringing awareness to a current issue that needs your support. And in closing, we'll have a little poetry corner to contemplate our thoughts and feelings about living in these unprecedented times. I want to give a little bit of a background of who I am and why I wanted to do this podcast. I am a minority woman who is also a single parent and a primary caregiver to to people living with disabilities. I had been a volunteer, and I also do advocacy work. Um, in the past several years, I have seen various disparities in the marginalized communities that I serve in. This has led me to pursue a graduate program and resilient leadership, which is what we need right now. My purpose is to create a non profit organization that will best serve the disability population while also promoting sustainable practices like regenerative agriculture. So we condemn power healing. It is time for healing right now and ironically, just like the Corona virus, Um, having a disability is actually no different. Um, they both do not discriminate. It does not care about your gender, your age, your race, your religion, nor your level of intelligence. Sometime in a person's life trajectory, they will either be born with a disability or eventually acquire one later an old age more than ever. We, as a human race must overcome our differences and start to realize we have more in common than not. I currently reside in the beautiful state of Colorado. I am lucky to make this state home because I get to interact with nature directly. All I have to do his job, jump into my car and drive to the Rocky Mountains. I can enjoy nature and take advantage of its healing properties. I learned as a little child that there is a system of balance that works in nature. I became aware of this when my mother would plant a garden in our yard, they were lucky to have one every season. She would grow vegetables from her native country, and I would watch all the life that that garden will bring in sex like pollinators, peas and butterflies, birds, rabbits, foxes and even the occasional neighborhood. Yet I was always astonished to see what a innovative designer mother nature can be. She had the answers to everything. If only we took the time to listen and look at what she was trying to show us. We can lose so much from being still and quiet, listening with our hearts and keeping an open mind. She literally speaks volumes, billions off years of creation and evolution. Her library is fast. This made me think about innovative ideas like bio mimicry and other creative solutions that have been invented in solving this current predicament we find ourselves in. I feel that it is this calling that is encouraging all global citizens to I really think outside the box on how to rebuild our world. We need to lick of those systems that are no longer working for our survival. We need more diversity. We need equity. We need more inclusion on all fronts. That is the only way we will have a stronger infrastructure and become more resilient for the future. This is the perfect time for me to introduce our first guest speaker Today she is the founder of Herbal Gardens Wellness, an indigenous nonprofit that focuses on the health and wellness off her native community. There has been disparities regarding access to resource is during this time. And low income or marginalized populations like natives have been experiencing being left out of getting local assistance from the state governments. Let's take a look at the issues Fine son solutions and see how our community can come together in action. Please give me a warm give a warm welcome to my friend Nancy Ray coaches.
Hi, Nancy. Ray. I knew. How are you today? I'm hanging in there. How are you doing? I am. I think I'm doing okay. The more conversations we have in more enlightenment we can bring to needs, I think that's it. It's a good way forward. Oh, yes. Oh, thank you so much for joining us today. And, um, being able to talk about your nonprofit and also to wear raise awareness of what's currently going on in the indigenous communities here in Colorado. Can you tell us a little about your nonprofit? Yes. Um, I co founded Herbal Gardens wellness dot org's with Han Me Clark or executive director. In 2013 we began the nonprofit with the home garden that also had access for urban natives to come and learned herbal medicines and, um, received food from that garden for nourishment. Uh, we started the nonprofit after losing several members of my family, actually every single one of my elders, including my parents and and, uh, a great aunties and uncles, which we just call aunties and uncles, um, to environmental cancers that were caused due to the occupation and colonization of our homelands That's now called Colorado. Wow. I'm speaking about how you being a great, uh, being. We're bringing attention to some of the current climb it crisis that we're going through right now and on the effects of this tanned emmick. What are you seeing right now as being the priority issues that your community is facing? And what can our community here in Colorado do to help the indigenous communities like yours? Well, I think that's a really good question. In light of the pandemic, people have slightly for gotten about the issues of climate change, and we have slightly begin to heal the world as a result of staying home. Um, our mission statement is the better part of valor is self preservation yourself, not in the English terms of myself or yourself, but we as Selves. We is beings and life forms have a right to our habitats, and ecology is being intact. And through colonization and occupation, mining fracking oil refining our population specifically due to, ah, historical poverty that's been caused by the occupying government and systems that are in place, um, have really impacted our health. So, uh, when we started to look at Covad 19 it actually wasn't called that when we found out about it in December or organization started paying attention to a press release, that of Lou Hall in, um, January. We were informed and paying attention to the Harvard professor who received a grant from the Chinese government, and it sent biological strains, um, to them. By February, we knew about the outbreaks in Wuhan and before the U. S. Government was an action or organization was actually sending out immune boosting traditional medicines, um, and recommending closure of borders to foreigners, which means Americans, in our case, coming into the reservations. So, uh, the impacts of climate change that I'm seeing is definitely changes in precipitation. Ah, dryness and areas that typically our wet we're seeing warming trends we had in our location in Hartzell, Colorado, which is a part time glacier. We saw almost one full month of early melts of that snow. So our concerns as an indigenous population is definitely food access. Um, due to treaties and food systems being broken in our normal way of living. And some of the concerns that we're facing now is we're asking all native nations that can to plant seeds and wild harvests. But again, because of the climate change and because of colonisation with industrialisation Ah, we're seeing natural habitats in depletion. So we do have those concerns. And that's the vision we created this year is to create together one community of intersections of native cultural diversity, equitable health and wellness access, including environmental preservation for current and future generations. So within that vision, statement are the solutions we really need our allies and our friends, especially our POC community, to work with us in our circles and to find solutions and sustainability locally, Um, that we can all work on together in the urban centers and then being able to supply from those urban centers out to reservations with seeds and water. Well, thank you so much for all that information. Speaking of on access to food, and we're speaking about making sure that we work with our community. I don't think a lot of people are aware that those critical, essential workforce, um, are people of counter. There are brown people, glad people, all people that are just exposing themselves. They're at higher risk of contracting the Corona virus and tell me a little bit about, um, your native member that you lost in the community cause there are a lot of people who are on the front lines and ah, you and I share that common bond where we're losing. Members are really close to us. For me, it's ah, brother who is a NT and firefighter, and he risks his life every day to make sure that he say's other lives. Can you tell me a little bit about Connie. Yes. So, first of all, I'd like to say thank you to your brother and to your family for putting ah, sacrifice forward that that's what we would consider a sacrifice. When we offer own lives. Teoh protect others. That's truly what a warrior is in our communities. In our societies is someone who puts their lives at risk to ensure that others air safe. So, Connie Ah, fire thunder is Ah. See Chungu, Lakota of the Denver Urban Community, the Denver Urban Community, Colorado Springs and Pueblo Ah, cities were first founded by free masons who played, planted the first stone, usually a post office or a Mason temple. Um, and that that prehistory is really important because that is how our our poc in Colorado are native and our indigenous communities were were forced into labor to build the towns that subjected them to redlined districts and also other problems. So, Connie, Fire thunder. Ah, is a registered nurse contract id Kobe 19 through her work through her sacrifice, and ended up meeting her own care and then transitioning early this week. Um, we have even on our, um we have a uh, a circle of advisers from our youth community, and one of those advisers is actually a CNN a working. And I see you at Denver help. So a lot of times, um, you know, the general community in Colorado doesn't really see us. We're kind of invisible. Is red, yellow, black and white, right? Those identify IRS of sections and intersectionality of color and and ethnicity. Um, and part of the problem with that is that when we're not seeing well, neither are health concerns. And so, in many POC communities, we already have male nutrition from not having access to their traditional foods, such as in our Asian community and prayers out to them right now or Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Filipino, Beit Maze, um, brothers and sisters that air in the community who are facing, you know, discrimination. And a lot of us are nurses. Ah, lot of us there. CNN is preventing that first patient care. Some of us are nurse practitioners. Some of us are medical clinicians. Some of us are medical doctors. And so what's not being seen is our vulnerability already. Um, you know, that's that's an underlying foundation being exposed to now patients with Cove it 19 1 of the panels that I was on. Some of the suggestions from our community that has disabilities was, you know, the need in Colorado to open up separate facilities or clinics for non cove it 19 cases so that we're not contracting things, you know, like through Denver Health's for somebody has a heart issue. Our heart surgery with Kobe, 19 patients are being housed on the same floor. Um, I think you and I both share the concern for PPE. Where is this? You know, protective, um, environmental protective gear that's supposed to be, therefore are people Where are the Where's the housing that needs to be there for those support staffs? Um, you know, we look at cove it 19 kind of surface lee across the nation, and we're seeing that on the surface, the 50,000 number, like use it to your point, has a hype. Higher percentage of us is POC for the Jemez Pueblo, um, and other pueblos down in the northern New Mexico area that are related to all of us here in Colorado, you know, we're facing extinction because we don't have those numbers. 3000 in population 25 people getting sick, adding another 10. Or, in the case of the din a or Navajo nation. Um, with that infection spreading because of lack of water and lack of access to food, these are very serious issues that we're facing in need and need a better response from the federal government along the way down to local governments, county and city ordinances. Wow. Speaking of government, you bring up a good point. Our government right now is, um, finding or searching that raise to find solutions. Teoh reopening the state being inquisitive as I am. What creative solutions could you offer to our state governments in regards to sustainability in rebuilding our infrastructure so that we become more please billions in the future, making sure please emphasised the equity? Yes, so equity is a topic that our organization has actually been traveling through a region for the last two years. An assessment of Muchas Colorado government or Park County, your Custer County or Pueblo County governments. But really looking in Montana at state government issues Wyoming, North and South Dakota, you know, there's still a lot of dis discrimination in the, uh, legislative area. Um and that really impacts their numbers Right now, one of those things that's impacting us is that we don't have accurate numbers for natives that, like Connie Fires under um, and others who are contracting the virus in the state numbers as a category were listed. POC is listed as other um, so I would recommend, you know, in terms of infrastructure, we really need better reporting. We need our own accurate numbers based on genetics. North, South, east and West and native nations are different genetics and the rest of the world. And, um so we have different different health needs in the different reporting. I think that in terms of going forward that the governments to both state, federal and local really should be following their conference, meaning that they come Teoh the categories of people and speak with us directly. Ah, convene ings where we're able to bring these topics up on a regular basis so that there's equity in access. Um, and I think the other thing is people need to start realizing how much they're spending, buying and purchasing that's contributing to the genocide of our native nations. Every time we allow the water to run in our homes. That water comes from the very top of the mountain ranges, where we have agreements with the federal government and Pike National Forest and Stand Isabel National Forest and people who were living locally, both natives and non natives. I don't even have access to the water that's right across the street from them, because literally, that water is being used to flood down to Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver. Um, so those types of considerations for rural communities, POC communities there needs to be better discussions and better decision making going forward. Ah, but especially just the management management of resource is and managements of permits for fracking. Um, that's going on with the CEO CGC air quality issues that were going on in Commerce City, Weld County. Um, these things need to be looked at with with very serious emphasis on how do we encourage stay at home? How do we encourage working from home? How do we, instead of being in debt, looking at the things we used to dio, How do we now take this new way forward and look at minimizing budgets and maximizing our humanity? Our humanity needs to be looked at in a in a different way, where we're seeing a social capital and the resource is of our lives are not just spent on making money to tax and give those to hire corporations and governments, but that we really need to be able to look at planning her own gardens and having subsidies or having ah, water costs evaluated for those things in urban centers. This would be some of the ways I would suggest rebuilding our infrastructure, those air, wonderful ideas. And thank you so much for sharing that with us on. I totally agree with you in regards to making sure we passed policies and encourage cleaning our environment. One of the things you did, um, mention and I do want to put this out there you mentioned our air and knowing that this novel Krone bars is attacking or Lums are respiratory, um, system. It doesn't surprise me because it is related to our lungs and were literally killing the lungs of this earth and in relation to our humanity. It is killing our lungs also. I find it highly ironic the issues that our planet Earth is suffering. We are also suffering in this pandemic, and there is a core relation in that we are all interconnected. We must understand that in big measures to be able to change the behaviors so we no longer keep finding ourselves in this predicament. I think people, I'm very surprised that in their lifetime, cause I am in my lifetime very surprised that I am going through a pandemic. The last endemic was the Spanish flu. And to know that in my life, to be able to see something at this scale is frightening. It causes me a lot of anxiety and fear. But I know I have hope in humanity. I hope that we can be able to change our behaviors to start healing our earth, end ourselves and to understand we are all human. There are no distinctions about that. And I really appreciate you taking the time today to share your thoughts. And, um, your feelings about, um, what is going on right now? I think we all need to, um, take a moment to be very grateful that we are able to breathe. And, um, one thing that I do want to encourage all our listeners is, you know, take up a cause fight for your planet, or and, um, it's time for us to be able Teoh be the stewards of this land. So thank you so much, Nancy Ray, for spending time with me today and being my first guest speaker on my paw gas. I really appreciate all your insights. You have wisdom beyond your years. Oh, well, anyway, thank you for the opportunity, um, to speak about the concerns that we're seeing. But also, and I think more importantly, as pointed out by our elders, you know, we're all thinking what are the solutions? And that has always been an adaptation. And coping skill amongst indigenous people all over the world is how do we work together to preserve our humanity and preserve our ecosystems and prevent harm. So very humbled to be part of your first podcast? Um, podcast broadcast. I look words listening to many more SOEs and being part of work together to kill humanity and to strengthen our ecosystems and our environment. Thank you so much. Hidden. Oh, it's been a pleasure speaking with you. And please, everyone don't forget, we're gonna be providing minx and also re sources and information that you could be able to continue to support Nancy Ray and her Ah, fight to support her community. Um, we also have a go fund me weak Her, um, Connie's, um uh needs for helping her family out. We also have more information if you need it. And please don't hesitate to offer other creative solutions to the predicament that we are in and helping each other connect and building bridges so that we can make sure that everyone gets what they need and no one is left behind. Oh, no good words. Yes, they can have a great night or day. Thank you, My by Thank
you for engaging with me today. And if you
feel good about this podcast, please don't hesitate
to reach out to me and give me feedback and share your stories with me. If you really enjoy her bought gas, please support us by subscribing and liking us as we close out. Let's indulge in some contemplated pros and visit the poetry corner Were some deep thought inspiration or just feels. Today's poem is brought to you by myself and is called We are stars. We are stars. We are stars made from the same stuff as Jupiter and Mars. Never a substitute to our mother Earth, creator of life made from her dirt. Dirty politicians buying to buy in on her destruction, losing their connection to what it means to be a human being alive striving to light the way to reconnect and convey our sorrow for causing her excruciating pain. Polluting mining. Treating her like trash, trash trash everywhere. Trash from the US to Malaysia Be careful you don't crash into the plastic garbage patch Floating oil spill in the middle of the sea Those micro petro made particles dancing in the air We breathe. We're becoming plastic like credit cards buying the next all in one on TV She can't take no more She's screaming Leave me alone! It's time for you to sit in time out now get yo ass inside and think about what you did to cause me All this heartbreak and suffering goes on and on in this cove in 19 quarantine I can't breathe. I can't breathe. You took my trees away. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. No respirator Today I'm dying said Mother. No, don't go! Please, Mother, stay! You gave me life and all. I did was cause you pain. Her love warns me like the sun and she says, We are stars. We are stars each and every one of us A light in the universe made out of stardust, perfectly imperfect in the vastness off space. That's why when you look up, it's a reminder of your place among billions of Galaxies. Life exists within you and me the odds or 700 quintillion to one. To have a planet that we can call home one last embrace tears running down my face. I'll save you, mother. It's not too late. Thank you again for spending time with me on the green path. I am grateful for your open heart and open mine to take the time to listen to my voice and those of others. I look forward to being your host again on another episode of the Green Path podcast. Be kind to yourself. Stay safe and healthy It may you be happy and live with ease in all the days ahead. Go in peace and love