A Sense of Place (Campfire Meditation)


credit: Cristina Mittermeier

We’re hearing so much about

Indigenous knowledge lately

Knowledge about the natural world

We want to know that knowledge

To understand what we’ve done wrong

To make things better

But knowledge alone won’t do that for us

Stories we hear

From indigenous mouths

Are not stories of

Knowledge of place alone

They are stories of

Sense of place

Not what to know about

A place you live in

But how to live in

A place you know

Not just

Humans in nature but

Nature in humans

Stories not of

Knowledge alone

But of wisdom which is

Lessons we draw from knowledge

Information alone is nothing if

There’s no lesson to draw

Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity Darrell Posey (ed.) Intermediate Technologies/Leiden University/UNEP, 1999

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Maya Jiro Mithe

A folk tale from the Great Andamanese tribe that explains why birds are conserved in the Andaman Islands. The last speaker of the Bo language, the late Boa Sr., who died in February 2010, was seen talking to birds, as she believed that birds of Andaman understood her language. This is a story of a boy who belonged to the Jero tribe and lived near the seashore. Other tribes who lived near the seashore were Khora, Bo, and Sare. The protagonist of the story is swallowed by a Bol fish and then all the rescuers become birds. The tribes thus believe that birds are their ancestors.