Many people with goodwill recognize Mother Earth Day or Earth Day as a way to appreciate the gifts given to us as a human family. Most Indigenous people acknowledge Mother Earth Day every day in their prayers, the thanks they give, and as they go about walking the land and breathing in the air. The most wonderful thing about acknowledging the life of the earth is that it does not require a political destination or an affiliation of any kind. However, it does carry with it responsibility to be present in an ancient way of life filled with values and earth/land based teachings.

Among us today we still find traditional elders who can speak to these teachings and make them applicable in a modern world. The Earth cannot change, it can and will reflect what we do to it but its original life force is constant and loyal so that we can live and flourish.

All of our human instructions and awareness, thoughts, work, play, art forms and creative expressions all include elements of the Earth as the foundation of knowing the bounties the Earth so freely gives. We must not interfere with our innate connections to the natural world and the spirit of compassion found in the endless circle of life.

Many awakened people know these things and yet we struggle with the uncertainty and the lack of knowing what direction the current global coronavirus will take us. The presence of fear is great at this time as there is no known cure for COVID-19, no one knows how long it will take to run its course, and the reality of an economic collapse is very real. As you know, a virus is complex and is a microorganism that is smaller than bacteria. Past studies have shown that a virus invades living cells and cannot reproduce without a living cell. Natural law is relevant for all matter, many see this virus as a result of our human negligence to respect the teaching of natural law even in its smallest form. Perhaps it will be the greatest lesson about disrespect of natural law in our lifetime.

Nature cannot be controlled and as we can see from our past there have been other pandemics and the human race survived. The healing that was needed ran its course, and Mother Earth heals in its own time in its natural way when we follow the natural laws. Continue to take this time to reflect on what has happened to our world, what we have done to ourselves. This virus is pointing out to us our behavior as human beings towards each other and the countless selfish and greedy actions that have exploited our Earth.

From oral teachings we know that the ancient ones spoke of a time when change will come from nature itself. Today we anticipate that change that will bring new life -- a new way of knowing. We are a human family and we need to embrace a path we can follow together.

Dave Courchene, Turtle Lodge, 2020, teaches us that, “In Indigenous ways, we rely on the higher spiritual intelligence to guide our thoughts, which can guide us in our actions. Our thoughts do not originate from our own mind, but from the ever-present intelligence of Spirit in the universe, waiting to be asked for guidance. Nature lives and breathes that spiritual intelligence, as Mother Earth is alive, always wanting to love us, always trying to reach us, always ready to teach her children.”

Vivian Delgado is a professor of Native American studies at Bemidji State University.