The Pax Christi USA Global Restoration Committee would like to share this information with you, our GReen mail activists.   We invite you to pray, study and act with us across the miles recognizing that a sustainable, healthy world is a more peaceful world for all creation.



We hope to offer you the opportunity to build relationships with young people and gain insight from them on how we can all live in peace with justice on this planet we call Mother Earth. 


~Kids Creation Care ~


This month our Kid's Creation Care was written by Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace and co-founder of the Institute for Peace and Justice - Kathy McGinnis. Kathy is the Executive Director of the Institute for Peace and Justice and is a consultant to schools and school systems in the area of multicultural education and racism.  She is also a member of the Pax Christi Anti-Racism Team.  





This simple Native American prayer speaks of our connectedness with the earth.  It is usually done by facing each direction as you invite blessing for the gifts coming from God from that direction. (adapted )



Facing East, pray:
Let the earth bless our God. Sun and stars, bless God. All creation of the east, bless God. 

Facing South, pray:

Let the earth bless, God. Birds of the air, creatures of the water, bless God. All creation of the south, bless God.

Facing West, pray:

Let the earth bless God.  Rivers and oceans, bless God. All creation of the west, bless God.


Facing, North, pray:

Let the earth bless God. Mountains and hills, creatures of the land, bless God. All creation of the north, bless God.Let all the earth bless God and praise God's name forever.


(This can be done with motions, depending on the ages of the children.)





Reflection from Kathy:    


We were in La Crosse, Wisconsin and I was talking to a Winnebago* mother, asking her what she did to help her children appreciate nature. She smiled at me and said, "You white people are always wanting to do something. When you are outdoors, you are hiking or camping or getting just the right picture or checking for this or that.  When can you just be?  We try to tell our children to just be with nature, to sit and listen and watch and feel the connectedness between yourself and the earth and all that's around you."


Native people traditionally have a strong connection to the earth and the resources of the earth.  This mothers' words have stayed with me over many years as practical advice about how to increase  our children's love for the earth, as well as setting the basis for their  willingness to be advocates for policies and practices that restore and protect valuable resources. It's much easier to advocate for something if you love it.



Study Information on the Winnebago Indians:


There are two separate Winnebago tribes today: the Wisconsin Winnebago with 4,400 acres (333 acres tribally owned) scattered in small holdings across ten counties; and the Nebraska Winnebago who still have 27,500 acres from their 1865 reservation, 3,100 belongs to the tribe. The Wisconsin Winnebago (Ho-Chunk Nation) at first actually avoided seeking federal recognition and delayed this until 1963. Tribal headquarters are at Black River Falls with an enrollment close to 5,000. Taken together, there are currently more than 12,000 Winnebago which makes them one of the larger tribes in the United States.  The name referred to algae-rich waters of the Fox River and Lake Winnebago where the Winnebago originally lived.  The Wisconsin Winnebago recently changed their official name to Hocak/Hochunk Nation (pronounced Hochunk) meaning "People of the Big Voice."  (Click on the nation name to link to more information)





Practically speaking, the advice of that Winnebago mother leads to several action suggestions: 

  1. Spend time with our children out of doors. This can be a simple as taking an "interesting walk" around the block where you look for and point out to each other interesting things in nature-trees beginning to bud, a caterpillar, etc. Or, more on target in terms of  a Native American perspective, spend time just sitting and being in the outdoors without any kind of agenda. Sometimes this is called Seton Watching - a practice named after an English/Canadian naturalist. It means taking the time to sit quietly in nature for at least 20 minutes, giving the natural world around you the time to calm down, and then just enjoy what you observe. In the hyper-stimulated world of childhood today, this practice could have  all kinds of benefits for children.
  2. Talk with children about the sacredness and absolute necessity of water.   


    Use tap water instead of bottled water.


    Conserve water when brushing teeth and taking a shower.


    Read about"Water With Blessings, "


     a collaborative of "mothers and missioners who bring clean water to God's thirsty children..." 

    Read the stories on their website and consider whether your family might want to consider a project like this one.  


  3. Read one of the children's books on Wangari Maathai, the  Kenyan environmentalist and political activist. (three books are noted below.) One of Wangarai's key concerns centered around the planting of trees.  Work with children to set up a program of tree planting in the neighborhood, or in another neighborhood in the community. Check online (http://www.arborday.org) for the Arbor Day Foundation and their Nature Explore Traveling Exhibits. 
    • Mama Miti:
       Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenyaby Donna
    • Jo Napoli and Kadir Nelson (Simon & Schuster, 2010 - This beautifully illustrated book tells Maathi's story  for ages 4 and up in a way that encourages children to think about their own role in creating a better future.
    • Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette     Winter (Harcourt, 2008)This biography for 
      Kdg.--grade 4 is filled with thought-provoking illustrations. It includes a wonderful quote from Maathai.
    • Seeds of Change: Wangari's Gift to the World by Jen Cullerton
    • Johnson and Sonia Lynn Sadler (Lee & Low, 2010)  This biography, grades 2 and up, contains more information on  Maathai's education and the inspiration she received from a woman who was her science teacher.

Take time to just be with nature...       



In Christ's peace,


Pax Christi USA's Global Restoration/Care for Creation Committee expresses our gratitude to Kathy McGinnis for sharing this youth focused perspective with us.

Fostering a reverence for all creation

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