Education Committee Opens Monthly Forum Series for 2023 – “Finding Common Ground”

Our first speaker this year was Guy Jones, a Lakota Elder and a full blood member of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Guy is one of the founders of the Miami Valley Council for Native Americans in Dayton, Ohio.

Guy Jones
Guy Jones

On February 6, Guy addressed an attentive audience of over 40 on the topic “Finding Common Ground.” We opened the evening with a “Land Acknowledgement” (statement recognizing the Indigenous Peoples as the original stewards of the land on which we live). Guy then led us into a discovery of what it is that divides us as fellow human beings, when we all care so much about preserving the health of Mother Earth.

The work of protecting our environment needs to be a collective effort, he says, inclusive of all the people who live on this land. It is increasingly urgent that we listen to a wider diversity of environmental leaders and learn to pool our ideas and resources. Sometimes it is simply the rules we live by, the languages we speak, or the formalities of our culture, that “colonize” our minds and prevent us from listening to voices other than our own. To confront the urgent challenges we now face, we will need to transcend these instilled differences, align ourselves in our common humanity, and learn how to live in respectful and collaborative relationship.

Guy Jones is author of the children’s book, Lessons from Turtle Island: Native Curriculum in Early Childhood Classrooms.

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