field notes ➤ Bertha Tilkens, 2009

Importance of the Environment in Muskogee and Seminole Life

. . . It is said that when the owner of a piece of property dies, the land will not be as productive as it was when the original owner was alive. Mother Earth will still let crops grow, but some of the goodness of the ground is lost with a death. This just goes to show the strong connection between Muskogee or Seminole people and the land that they have lived on for their life. This is a strong bond that many people do not value today, but we should be aware of it because it is important for all of us. When someone who cares about the environment, Mother Earth, dies, others need to pick up where that person left off and keep the devotion going. If this is done, the earth can be renewed and may become just as productive as it once was, but it takes effort.

The old teachings tell us that we need to take care of the land, plants, and animals that we rely on for food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. If we do not, all of these things will disappear until we cannot find them anymore. This is happening with some of our medicine plants especially. If we do not pay attention to this and take steps to stop the loss of the environment that supports these plants, we will lose something very important for our culture. ❞

Intermediate Creek / Mvskoke Emponvkv Hokkolat
by Pamela Innes, Linda Alexander, and Bertha Tilkens
(University of Oklahoma Press, 2009)

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