Dear Friends and Family,
At this time of giving, I want you to know that I really appreciate how much you have been giving all year long. I care deeply about each of you, and you are in my prayers. Our gift is our spiritual work, so I think you will enjoy hearing what an incredible year of opportunities this has been for me.
Most of you have heard about the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. We came to gather for the first time in the history of the world last October 11, 2004, in Phoenicia, New York. Then again in May, 2005, we came together with the Tewa Nation out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, joining together in prayer for peace in the world, bringing good medicine as we travel. In June, 2005, five of us came together again in Mapia, Brazil, by the Amazon River, joining others in support of those in the rain forest and their rights to grow and use their traditional medicines. We also had a wonderful rapport with the Brazilian government. What a wonderful coming together of the indigenous peoples of that land. The oldest, Marinda Rita, a leader of the natives of Mapia, agreed joyfully to be an ambassador to us Thirteen Grandmothers. All this couldn’t have happened without the incredible work of Jyoti, Ann Rosencranz, and Carole Hart. To support their work for the Grandmothers, please send tax-deductible donations to the Center for Sacred Studies, PO Box 745, Sonora, CA 95370, www.grandmotherscouncil.com, www.sacredstudies.org, and www.forthenext7generations.com.
Next year we will be gathering in Oaxaca, Mexico in the spring and meeting with the Dalai Lama in India in the fall.
I have spread word about the Grandmothers in all the many places where I’ve been asked to speak, from my Salmon Ceremony and elders gatherings and women’s gatherings around Ashland Oregon to Spain to New Zealand, carrying out our mission to help empower Grandmothers worldwide.
June 10-12 -- This was my 14th Salmon Ceremony, and it was greatly attended. My two daughters, Nadine and Mona, and my grandson Jason, cooked the salmon traditionally on sharpened redwood sticks around an oval shaped pit. This was their first time cooking together, and they did an excellent job. Thanks especially to hard work of my committee members, and to the Confederated Tribes of Siletz (http://ctsi.nsn.us/) for donating the salmon.
June 17-19 -- I spoke at the Women’s Gathering at Birch Creek Arts & Ecology Center (www.deepwild.org/birchcreek).
June 21-July 5 -- Journey to Mapia, Brazil with five of the Grandmothers.
July 16-23 -- I lived on the Southern Oregon University Campus as elder mentor to native students from all over the Northwest at the youth academy “Konoway Nika Tillicum,” which means “All my relations.” This was the tenth year of a program that I helped start, along with David West and Brent Florinda of Southern Oregon University.
July 18 -- I’m so excited to tell you that on this day I had my 5th generation come into this world, a beautiful baby girl. She weighed in at 8 lbs. 2 ounces at the General Hospital in Eureka, California. Her name is Natalie Solis, the first child of my great-granddaughter Kimberly Taylor and her husband, Raymond Solis (Yurok).
August 11 -- I was asked to bless the ground for new the new Health Clinic in Cave Junction, Oregon
August 12-14 -- Siletz Pow Wow, August 19-20 -- Chiloquin Pow Wow
September 10 – At the Pottsville Pow Wow, I was honored to be a director of the arena, called the “whip woman.”
September 11-19 -- On my birthday, September 11, I left for Zaragosa, Spain, where I was a speaker to thousands who came from around the world to a gathering of indigenous experts regarding climate change. I was invited and accompanied by Dennis Martinez of the Indigenous Peoples Restoration Network of the Society for Ecological Restoration (www.ser.org/iprn) and my partner with the Takilma Intertribal Project.
September 23 -- I was honored to be asked by my tribe to meet with the Maori at the a basketweavers conference at Willamette University, called “Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread.”
September 24-30 -- The Maori came to visit our Tribe at Siletz, where they taught their basketweaving. What a beautiful people. One of the Maori was a master tattooist from New Zealand. He started the very special “moko” the design on my chin, and did the three basic stripes on my daughter Nadine’s chin as well. Later when the Maori’s invited me to New Zealand, he finished the design in a special ceremony. I felt very honored. This chin tattoo is in the tradition of my ancestors, including my great-grandmother Margaret Harney and my great-aunts, Agnes Harney Howard and Frances Harney Johnson. The Maoris were very inspired to hear about the Thirteen Grandmothers, and would like us to come visit them.
October 14 -- I was keynote speaker at Portland University at the Earth and Spirit Conference. I spoke of the coming together of the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, and showed a short video with bits and pieces from our gathering in New York. You can see it if you visit my website at www.agnesbakerpilgrim.org . Before the event I spoke on KBOO radio, and many people heard me and came to hear more about us Grandmothers. I got a standing ovation from a packed house. I stayed over with my daughter Mona near Salem, and then left for New Zealand.
October 17-27 – On my trip to New Zealand I was accompanied by two men from our tribe, Bud Lane and Robert Kennta. I loved the journey. Our tickets over and back were funded by Willamette University in Salem. What a beautiful country New Zealand is. We were highly honored when the Maori asked us to take part in a special ceremony where we blessed hundreds of people, young and old.
November 9 -- I was honored to give a blessing at the beginning of the Moody Blues Concert at Jackson County Expo, along with a beautiful dramatic presentation by drummers and dancers brought together by David West and Brent Florinda from Southern Oregon University.
November 10 – I was asked to speak at the opening of eco-troubador Dana Lyons’ concert in Cave Junction. His combination of humor with serious, spiritual songs is truly amazing (www.cowswithguns.com).
November 17 -- Phone interview with Jefferson Public Radio in Ashland about the Thirteen Grandmothers
November 12 -- I was a speaker to a group of Presbyterian women from Ashland who gathered at a St. Rita’s Retreat in Gold Hill, Oregon. Here I again spoke of the Thirteen Grandmothers, and showed a DVD of the short video. It was very well received.
November 18 -- I went up to Chinook Winds to our Convention Center to attend our Siletz Restoration Pow Wow, celebrating the 28th anniversary of the restoration of our Tribal status in 1977 (after termination in 1953). My daughters Nadine and Mona attended with me. It was spiritually a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving gathering.
November 25 -- A wonderful Thanksgiving with extended family
December 11 -- Blessings for a young girl, talking with her about rights of passage.
December 13 -- Consultation with the Cow Creek Tribe (www.cowcreek.com) about restoring their Salmon Ceremony
December 16 -- Counseling at the Southern Oregon Adolescent Treatment Center
December 23 -- Christmas Eve Pow Wow in Grants Pass
Throughout the year I have three major ongoing commitments. I’m very happy and honored to say I sit as a “consumer advocate” on the Board of the Mid Rogue Independent Physicians Association (MRIPA). We meet every 3 months. I’m also on the Advisory Board of Oregon Voices United. This is a continuation of my career as a counselor that I began in the 1970s in Crescent City. And for more years than I can count, I’ve gone once a month to Siletz for my tribal meetings of the Culture, Sacred Lands, and Heritage Committee. I also do blessings: this year of 8 homes, and the new 18 hole golf course of my Tribe.
This year I have been honored in many ways: a tree in Yellowstone National Park has been named after me, and in southwest Oregon a mountain will be given my spiritual name, “Taowhywee.” This means Morningstar, and was the name of my great-grandfather Jack Harney’s wife Margaret. Robert Owens (www.greygrass.org) will come up next year to help with the blessing. A dedication ceremony will also be held next year for the tree that has been carved with my likeness by Russell Beebe, Ojibway.
Now I’m packing, getting ready to move into a new place closer to town. After searching the papers and the realtor’s offices with no luck, I got a call from Morning Dove up in Washington State giving me the phone number to call for a very nice two bedroom house owned by a Navajo man on a little cul-de-sac with a big yard. More details later.
I pray that every one of you and yours have a safe Great Holiday Season.
Love to all,
Agnes Baker Pilgrim, December 16, 2005
p.s. If you happen to meet someone who asks about donating to help me with my spiritual work, checks can be made out to The Agnes Baker Pilgrim Fund and mailed to my new volunteer Secretary, Julie Norman, 596 Helman, Ashland, Oregon 97520. Donations can also be made directly from the website set up and donated to me by my new volunteer Assistant, Bobcat (Robert Brothers, Ph.D) at www.agnesbakerpilgrim.org .