When I consider how we have unbalanced our world, changed its tilt, created the opposite of creation, I know we have to remember. Writer Meridel LeSeuer called it re-membering the dismembered. Over here is a stone with lichens older than we can remember. My great-grandfather walked by those same ancient lichens. Re-member. I want to remember this land. We need to remember the plants are alive and speak with each other. They tell one another when they are under attack by using a language of hormones. They recall their first language. We must remember songs the plants taught us, about when the corn grew its first tassels, its silken hair with the odor of fresh earth. Remember the green cedar when it first made an opening to rise through earth, the birth of an oak breaking open the acorn.

I remember when we had dreamers and they knew the water and its first songs, and I remember that the dreamers found water and medicine for the people. Nan okcha. All alive. Remember.

So here it is, the remembered dance at the Pueblo. The dancer lifts his antlers with eagle-down feathers in them, and the sunlight is full now, as full as the remembering in the blood that is left to offer this Earth, animal, all alive.

He turns like a deer

We are participants in the world, with the universe. What we do changes things, and we need to remember this as much as we need to persevere this way, not just as islands in our cultures but with all people knowing that they are part of it and somewhere in their past are the deep channels of memory, the dream water, the tender shoots of green, and the welcome magic of continuing for the tall grasses, our grandchildren, the unborn infants turning like the deer in a mother, a healthy future, right and good, knowing that if we live well, it will welcome us.

Linda Hogan is a Chickasaw, essayist, poet, and the author of sixteen books, including the Pulitzer Prize- winning novel Mean Spirit.

This essay appears in Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. Edited by Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson and published by Trinity University Press. Copyright ©2010 by Linda Hogan. Used by permission of the author.
Reprinted by permission of Amaravati Publications.