Potluck Gathering and Imaginging December 10th!

Leslie posted this on behalf of Carmelle…
Greetings All,
I hope you are keeping well and warm amidst the winter skies and fondant-covered fields.
Two things to share with you. First, an invitation to gather one final time before the change in semester and year (please extend to others – all are welcome!). Second, an update-of-sorts on conversations and reflections that have occurred in the last few weeks.
Potluck Gathering: Food and Thought and Folks!
​​Join us Wednesday, December 10 to share good food, good thought with good peoples.
Where: 3712 58th Street
When: 5pm
What to bring: ‘Tis a potluck-shindig. If you can bring edibles/drinkables to share, great! If not, great! All are welcome. Come as you are and able. Why: To share further reflections about Spirit of the Land, deepen our thinking together, and “heart”-storm for the coming seasons. (Exciting developments! Possibilities for a winter series, a Fall 2015 course, next year’s conference, support from Dean’s office, landed-learning, and more!)
If you are unable to attend, feel welcome to pass along words we can read aloud to the group and we’ll be sure to share the gathering’s unfoldings with you. ​




Reflections from the last few weeks…

Over the last few weeks, I’ve thought together with many of you, and others. Like our gathering on Wednesday, fostering space to hear as many hopes and concerns as we can is, to me, integral to our continual and proper stewardship of this “spirit.” I’ll update you as best and briefly(?) as I can.Don, Takota and I visited on Sunrise Farm. The conversations that occur while caring for the land or others… seem to discover truth more easily. Don and Takota are both so articulate and I think this is very much the result of when a person and land are kin. Their affirmation of this “work” we do, therefore, seems particularly significant. While living in Peru, a Cree word arose within me: Witaske’win, which means “living together on the land.” Today as we look forward in remembrance of the past, may this word be our guide. I feel we are entering a time when the plural peoples who call this land home not only must take more seriously the word Witaske’win as a call to action, but are nearly ready to… My greatest hope is that we do not change our ways of life because we fear what may be, not merely for survival, but rather, because we love what is.  As Don and I drove by the old community hall and church, the emptiness of the plains was more deafening than ever before. Even in this silence though, Don hopes for the day when the land is people-ed again. With Petra Cegielny, Augustana’s Aboriginal Student Advisor, I shared my hopes for the relationship between Maskacis and Camrose – as two schools, two communities and two stories. She felt it was time to take this next step. Dean Allen enthusiastically shared about the 3-11 structure he hopes for at Augustana. In many ways, he is advocating for meaningful education experiences for students and professors and community members. (As Takota and Don imagined – what if every student began their 3-11 semester with a Permaculture course!) For many years, I have been striving to foster a conversation about inclusive land-based campuses as the further embodiment of our values at Augustana. Dean Allen met this idea with keen interest and passion. In the meantime, I asked that courses such as Roadscholars and last year’s Spirit of the Land course be better supported. So many students and Camrosians have shared about the importance of being in community with each other. Dittmar, Raj, Dean Allen and I also thought together about how the Dean’s office might support S.o.L. financially and about S.o.L. as a second branch of the Ronning Centre. There many other people with whom I have shared time. Thank you – these are moments that have deepened our collective bonds of trust, strength and friendship. This spiritual and cultural renewal is certainly the place from which ecological transformation occurs.

November 2015 Conference: Peace with the Land

Dittmar, Raj, Leslie and I have begun imagining next year’s conference. On Wednesday, we look forward to shaping this further with you, as well as brainstorming and committing ourselves to the actions of which the conference is the celebration.

Timeframe: Friday evening – Sunday noon
Keynote Speakers: Norman Wirzba, Leanne Betasamosake, Charles Eisenstein
Treaty 6 Panel: 8 local people who collectively represent conventional and sustainable agriculture, industry and landowners and government, First Nations and settlers, academy and citizenry, urban and rural, children and elders.
Focus: Table conversations. A few guest speakers is important to provide a new depth from which our dialogues can occur. However, the round table discussions are the essence of our conferences. I envision our next conference grants more significance here. Our extractive/capitalist system has set voices like these 8 in opposition to each other. When we hear each of them though, it becomes ever-clear that we are all indeed caught in this system, yet we all care deeply.
Saturday Evening Art-full Celebration: Spoken word, traditional dance, musical performances, art gallery, etc!
Smudge Ceremony and Prayer: Friday afternoon, and daily morning prayer with Sylvia McAdam, Elder Roy Louis, Linda Gervais, Craig Wentland
Norman Wirzba because he profoundly and plainly articulates a Wendell Berry-Agrarianism as alternative.
Leanne Simpson because she does not permit the severity of our present reality to be diluted for any sake. Rather she names the extent to which people and land suffer and… calls us into it. Like Sylvia, she would push us. But we need that. For the integrity of this work. Although she may not hold the same ethos of inner transformation and collectivity which found S.o.L., I feel that if we name and create this ethos throughout the conference, her voice will be heard.
Charles Eisenstein because he holds the spirit and breadth of knowledge on this subject, perhaps unparalleled.
When all are gathered and heard, the commonality that binds us is revealed: that we all care deeply and all belong to this great commonplace. And thus… our diversities and sufferings become our capacity to bring about the world we all wish for.
May this Christmas season remind us to see each other, the land, and ourselves as whole. To recognize the great loving source that flows through all.
Paz en la Tierra,
Carmelle (on behalf)