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Great Grandmother Mary Lyons Addresses the Women’s Assembly

Great Grandmother Mary Lyons addressed the Women’s Assembly at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

My holy water, coffee, sisters, aunties, grandmothers, all my relations here. First of all, I’d like to recognize the land we’re on, because we sit among many ancestors, the Anishinaabeg, the Ojibwe, the Ho-Chunk, the Potawatomi, the Odawa, and so on. So we want to say thanks for sharing the space where we bring all our ancestors to.

My name is Anishinaabekwe Ikwe, which means second water woman. My colonized name is Mary Lyons, and I’m a day one. I sit in the center, I was taught from my grandmother, my mother, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, and now I’m very fortunate to sit with my daughter, my granddaughter, and my great-granddaughter. That’s our seven generations. 

I’d like to begin with what is facing us today and a little bit of the prophecy that is coming to light. We’re in a time of stillness, a time to reflect the wisdom of the beginning. We are all here in a circle of balance to honor the sacred bundles that have been placed throughout Mother Earth of healing light and truth. Now is the time to focus on the essential truth, giving them power. We are the masters of our own emotions and choices. We all drink from the same well of air, earth, water, and light. 

Now we sit in a time of debate and argument. Our ancestors foretold a time that would try to erase them and all the life’s resources as they knew them were in that time. We must fight for our lives, our children’s and our grandchildren’s future. We must fight for our gardens to be healthy once again. Humankind surrendered to greed that is not a gardening tool of life.

We were told of the four snakes that would awaken. One would be invisible and it would conquer mankind. Its name would be alcohol. One would be black and it would rip through the earth and its name would be called oil. One would be a mist of winds that would carry a razor-whipping sting as the breath has been tainted with such unthinkable chemicals that travel the earth and its name would be called pollution. One would have an uncontrollable flame that has stride through their parents and its name would be called fire. We must not be fooled, nor tempered by a source that showers a false sense of ease. 

We must not allow our ancestors’ path to be erased, or we will lose to the criminals that are destroying Earth’s gardens. When the rivers within Mother Earth become tainted, all spirits will go to sleep. We must awaken to the truth and rise up and fight like we were in our last breath of life.

Our grandfathers would tell our community that plenty is a richness for all. Without hearing, we will lose laughter and happiness. Our father would say when we as original people surrender to a number, we will begin to lose our original commitment to this life. life.” Our grandmothers would say, “When you find yourself witnessing our people speaking with a split tongue, they will begin to vanish from our minds.” Our mother would say, “Sometimes you will have to fight in another world that we are not a part of.” To walk a mile in our shoes means that we will not put a price on water, fire, air, and earth. 

Our ancestors spoke of their gardens. They will weaken, and we will become hungry. Our ancestors’ thirsts will become dry, and our wells will begin to dry up. Our ancestors’ breath will struggle to breathe as winds will carry diseases. Our ancestors said, “Our fires will rage throughout Mother Earth’s homelands, and all will feel the blisters of ignorance.” 

The stories of times past, the memories of an organic pathway, will only fade if we choose to forget and abandon not only the rights of nature, but the natural law and humanity. We must always hold this memory as it was told to all the tribes of the world. The whispers of our ancestors will echo in the winds, and the memory of their teachings will come from protecting the rights of nature and the natural law, and continue our responsibilities to care for their gardens. We all must rise up and speak with our ancestral voice. No, my life is not for sale. No, my life is not for sale. Miigwech, I hope you have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day.

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