by Nalanda Institute 

In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, we offer you this impactful teaching from the late Anishinaabe Elder Dr. Dave Courchene—our guest during our 11th online Offerings for Uncertain Times. Elder Courchene was an esteemed and internationally-known teacher, who shared his vision for the care of Mother Earth and all of her children—a vision resonant with the Tibetan Buddhist Kalachakra prophecy of the earth as a Medicine Planet. He founded the Turtle Lodge Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Education and Wellness in southern Manitoba as a gathering place to exchange intergenerational knowledge, revitalize language, train youth leaders, and find environmental solutions to climate change.

We hope this video provides inspiration and hope to see each other, Mother Earth, our friends and foes alike, as kin—spiritually connected to each other in this great web of life.

We are living in an unprecedented time. As humanity, we continue to struggle in finding our true identity.

After much reflection in witnessing what is happening in our world, it has become quite clear that humanity is suffering from the mindset of domination that originated from the idea that we can control and dominate nature.

The land is the foundation of life and must be treated with absolute respect. To do anything else, we harm not only the earth but ourselves. The role of our dilemma, which has created symptoms, such as climate change, violence, mental illness, and racism, is a severing of our relationship with our source of life, the earth.

When we lose touch with the earth, we lose our connection to our true spiritual identity and a true understanding of our uniqueness, our purpose of humanity, our original instructions in our duties and responsibilities.

When we go to the root, our solutions lie in reestablishing our sacred connection and relationship with the earth.

Our health and well-being as human beings is directly connected to the health and well-being of Mother Earth.

We have made the land sick. How we conduct ourselves in relationship to the land and to other members of creation directly affects the balance of life.

What we do to the land, we do to ourselves; the earth operates on the principle of balance. If we comply with these natural laws, we can restore the balance of our source of life.

— Elder Dr. Dave Courchene, “Envisioning the Medicine Planet”