Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Everyone Can Be an Earth Protector

Growing up Native can be hard. Because my skin was dark, in second grade kids told me, "You look dirty." I felt different, like I didn't belong.

But I was lucky. My great-grandparents Joe and Lodi showed me the beauty of our Indigenous cultures. Camping and hiking for days at a time in the hot summer desert, they taught me to hear the voices of our mountain, plant, and animal relatives on lands full of life and memory.

They taught me to listen to the plants offer their gifts. Buckwheat shared seeds to nourish us; wild strawberries to quench our thirst when streams ran dry; willow bark to help with headaches; and sage smoke to carry prayers to heaven. We gave thanks, with songs or a few drops of water. I was excited to learn it all. "Look at Nicky," my great-grandparents would tease, "sticking his nose into every flower, just like a hummingbird."

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