In Tuxámshish Dr. Virginia Beavert’s book, The Gift of Knowledge / Ttnúwit Átawish Nch’inch’imamí: Reflections on Sahaptin Ways, she tells the story of when she was a very young girl, not yet two years old, when she got lost in the mountains. She was with a young girl she’d been playing with in the mountains while their families hunted deer and picked huckleberries. She shares that her friend, Maggie Jim, knew the berries and plants in the forest that would sustain them, and that Maggie had her power to protect them. After two weeks, the two young girls were found, and Virginia notes they were happy, healthy, and safe. Virginia shares her mother’s recollection of the day they were reunited: Virginia’s moccasins were “practically worn out and I had berry juice all over my face and dress.” This quote and a beautiful photo of Virginia and her mother from that day is on p. 16 of her book.
Virginia recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She has many wonderful stories to share from her amazing life spanning ten decades. I chose this story to share with you today because it contains lessons that I believe are so relevant for our times–when so many people are feeling busy or hectic.
Something I love about this story is that it’s clear Virginia and Maggie knew and fully trusted their environment had everything they needed to survive and thrive. They fully trusted that they were whole, safe, and protected. Being lost in the mountains for two weeks didn’t shake their faith that they were well, and could be trusting in their environment and themselves.
I love turning these lessons over in my mind. I love carrying these important teachings Virginia learned as a young girl on our beloved Yakama homeland–lessons which she has generously shared with all of us through her writing.
I love seeing the hope and possibilities of educational systems that reclaim these important teachings as central to all we do. Doing so helps me ask questions that fill my heart and restore my faith.
How would the experiences of students and faculty be transformed if we enjoyed systems that nurture a complete sense of trust that everything we need to thrive is already present in our environment?
What if our education systems also nurtured within us an unshakable trust and belief that we are whole beings who are good and well?
In this busy time as 2021 wraps up, I wish you a season (and a lifetime) of experiences that nurture, support, and reflect back to you all the goodness you are and share.
Do you want a kind, supportive, and productive writing community? Write Your Journal Article Moccasin Camp (not a bootcamp) two-week course with Dr. Michelle Jacob begins Monday, December 13, 2021. Special! Register by December 10, 2021 for Winter 2022 The Auntie Way Writing Retreat (sessions begin January 7) and receive FREE access to my Moccasin Camp course! Learn more and register here.