“Indigenous people have always been people of the land. For generations we have dug the same soil, planted the same crops, and have recognized that the sanctuary called Earth has been our home.”
As Earth week comes as goes, we would like to continue to encourage everyone to grow your connection with earth and find ways that you can be a better relative to Turtle Island. Marion Beasley of the Lumbee tribe, shares with us how her grandfather’s trees helped her realize the importance of taking care of the land and encouraged her to create her own connections to the Turtle Island.
“Indigenous people have always been people of the land. For generations we have dug the same soil, planted the same crops, and have recognized that the sanctuary called Earth has been our home since day one. We need to take the lessons and stories our elders have taught us and keep the land a sacred place, and share those lessons with the world around us.”
Being a military child and growing up away from my Native community has always made it hard for me to feel a connection to one specific area. I always saw this as another hurdle for me to jump over, but what I have now come to realize is that I have been able to connect to the Earth in different ways. It has made coming home and visiting my Native lands, that much more special.
In Robeson County, North Carolina, there is a lot which holds rows of pine trees my great grandfather planted decades ago. Now, it is a very sacred and important place to my family. These trees root us to who we are and serve as a reminder to never forget where you came from. Coming back to visit my native lands, meant seeing my family, learning new things about my culture, and sharing family recipes. My tribe, the Lumbee tribe, has always been heavily involved in farming and agriculture. Our lands are a defining point of who we are, it has always grounded us as a community. Our lands tell the stories of countless generations of the people who have come before us, and it will continue to do so for the generations of the future.
Earth Day reminds us that the health of our planet is critical to the health of our human population. It also reminds us of big things like keeping our oceans, rivers, and every waterways clean from pollution; and keeping our air clean. It reminds us of small things like keeping my family’s plot of pine trees alive and keeping it to share with each other for years to come.
I have seen people’s connection to the Earth, and how it binds them, how the parts of the land and Earth can imprint itself onto a person. We need the Earth to function, we need the air it has to breath, we need the water it has to drink, and we need the food it has to eat. But, we also need the Earth to truly live, we need the Earth to hold stories and memories, we need it to remind us of who we are. We not only need the Earth to physically thrive, but to mentally thrive as well.
Written by: Marion Beasley, Lumbee. She is a freshman in high school enjoys swimming and playing the violin.