A distinguished girl’s boarding school academy near here, accepted their first American Indian student this year. To protect her anonymity, I will simply call her “Seed Planter”. She is an enrolled Tribal member from the San Antonio Mission de Pala Indian Reservation in California. Having spent a considerable amount of time with the people at Pala, I was delighted to meet her. We know and love some of the same people from her home and enjoyed some storytelling time. I am always honored to be visited by young native people from around Indian Country. Seed Planter is the same age as my own Granddaughter. The first time we met, she walked up the steps to my house carrying an armload of tangerines and a chocolate candy bar, which she immediately transferred into my possession. Meeting a young person this way, is to me, a wonderful humbling experience. It makes me feel very alive to be greeted the first time in this traditional manner, with such sweet generous gifts of love. At that exact moment I again remembered the words my Grandpa said many years ago, “When a young person walks up to an old person and gives them an offering, the young person transforms the old person into a respected elder. It is the finest thing the youth can do for the older people.” It is also ancient tradition and a proud protocol among native peoples. It also brought the memory of receiving my first Eagle feather in a ceremony many years ago. American Indians are by nature, generous and loving people. We love to love and be loved by each other.
At the academy, the young ladies are required as part of their training, to do eight hours of voluntary community service work. Since the Red Road meetings we hold here are considered a service to the local community, Seed Planter asked her advisor if she might be assigned to do her service here. The school contacted me and we set it up so I looked forward with anticipation to meeting her again. I have a vision that she is well suited to be a leader among the current young generation of her nation. She is tall and slender and quite lovely. She speaks eloquent English with natural modesty, respect and dignity. She expresses native tradition in ways that must make her family very proud. Young people with these unique talents are able to plant seeds that can create healing in others which can reach to far into future generations. She arrived here with two other students, to serve in any way I asked. The girls washed windows and cleaned the meeting room from top to bottom. I told them the room was a place people come to heal and that we respect all who come here because inside every human person is wisdom that we receive as a gift in return for what we try to give in our own service to them. Everything is sacred! It was a beautiful Saturday morning.
Later the girls were taught how to raise chickens, fruit and vegetables and grow healing herbs. They cleaned a brooder for the baby chicks, watered vegetable gardens and planted corn for this year’s “Three Sisters” garden. They learned that when you plant corn, beans and squash together, you have planted the three sisters. These three sisters provide nutrients, shade and nitrogen for each other that helps them thrive as they grow to produce the best food there is for the strength and health of the people. This garden is the ancient way of the Haudenosaunee people, my own ancestors. When people work together like the plants in this garden, great blessings come to pass. The fruit, vegetables, remedies and eggs produced here, feed our family and others who come to our Red Road meetings. The land has been generous with food and medicines and we are grateful. The girls from the academy spent three hours working here and we enjoyed a meal of fresh fruit with bread and butter and they told me about their goals and experiences. Spending time with youth is a great privilege and honor.