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Featured Book for May 2022

Becoming Rooted: One Hundred Days of Reconnecting with Sacred Earth

by Randy Woodley

What does it mean to become rooted in the land? How can we become better relatives to our greatest teacher, the Earth? Becoming Rooted invites us to live out a deeply spiritual relationship with the whole community of creation and with Creator.

Through meditations and ideas for reflection and action, Randy Woodley, an activist, author, scholar, and Cherokee descendant, recognized by the Keetoowah Band, guides us on a one-hundred-day journey to reconnect with the Earth. Woodley invites us to come away from the American dream–otherwise known as an Indigenous nightmare–and get in touch with the water, land, plants, and creatures around us, with the people who lived on that land for thousands of years prior to Europeans’ arrival, and with ourselves. In walking toward the harmony way, we honor balance, wholeness, and connection.

Creation is always teaching us. Our task is to look, and to listen, and to live well. She is teaching us now.

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Community Questions

Becoming Rooted Reflection Questions by Claudia Love Mair

Week 1

  1. According to Randy "We are all indigenous to some place...." What place(s) are you indigenous to?
  2. Randy reflects on page 12, "I will be the first to admit that I sometimes neglect creation. When I do, I am rejecting the gifts of the Creator." Most of us can relate. On page 28 he encourages us to, "Stand outside and look around you. Name some of the relatives [in the natural world] you have neglected." Try this exercise, then name which relatives you have neglected.
  3. In reflection 21 Randy writes, "'We are here' speaks directly to the hope that remains in America's First Nation." The resilience of this hope, "...through poverty, racism, poor housing, chronic disease and a host of other maladies..." is built upon a spirituality of relationship the land, all living creation, and respect for our elders. What is the foundation on which your hope is secured? If your home, land, family, religion, and livelihood were taken away, what would you remain certain of?

Week 2

  1. In reflection 29 Randy tells writes of the importance of humor among Indigenous communities to deal with their deepest problems. Consider your deepest problems. How have you found humor in your situation?
  2. Reflection 48 deals with the sobering topic of post colonial stress disorder (PCSD). He writes, "...if Indigenous people carry within us the trauma of genocide over generations, we also carry the cure--not just for ourselves, but for the whole Earth." He cites how a harmonious worldview, mutual respect, etc. (page 116, last paragraph), are needed to heal the earth." With these values in mind, name an exercise you can implement today to help heal the planet.
  3. On page 130 Randy encourages us to spend more time in nature, and to develop new ways of expressing thanks through Earth-honoring ceremonies. He states that all indigenous peoples, regardless of what land they inhabited, had their own ceremonies to this end. Consider your own indigeneity and what ceremonies, even small ones, that connected your people to the earth. Imagine performing a small ceremony that will help you break through to a more Indigenous worldview. What would your ceremony look like?

Week 3

  1. Randy reflects on how the Earth's resources being depleted because of human greed (reflection 59). He says to continually take creates a sickness in us all, and that we need to create more opportunities to give. What kind of things would you encourage the members of our community to give away that will benefit others?
  2. On page 160 Randy writes about the joy of wild-tending, and how this small movement encourages a deep understanding of plant and animal life. What plant or animal do you have an affinity to? How do you honor the connection you have with it?
  3. Reflection 68 (page 164) articulates the beautiful practice of giving our elders gifts for their wisdom. If you were to make an "elder basket" what would it have in it?

Week 4

  1. On page 167, Randy writes about how we live in a crazy, fast-paced, technological world, that continues to be developed without concern for the community of creation. He encourages us to consider the cost of modernity to the whole community of creation. What Indigenous values and wisdom can you apply to a modern invention that you regularly use?
  2. In the beautiful reflection 77, Violets (page 187) Randy illustrates the annual ceremony of violets. He asks us to begin to identify the plants in our community. What plant would you chose to identify the annual ceremony of first, and how would you begin the process of learning about it?
  3. Reflection 84 outlines how the Western worldview is fixated on categorizing and defining knowledge. On 206 Randy asks what words we would use to describe our religion or spirituality. What words would you use?