Oren Lyons was the first Onondagan to enter college. When he returned to his reservation for his first vacation, his uncle proposed a fishing trip on a lake. Once he had his nephew in the middle of the lake where he wanted him, he began to interrogate him. “Well, Oren,” he said, “you’ve been to college; you must be pretty smart now from all they’ve been teaching you. Let me ask you a question. Who are you?” Taken aback by the question, Oren fumbled for an answer. “What do you mean, who am I? Why, I’m your nephew, of course.” His uncle rejected his answer and repeated his question. Successively, the nephew ventured that he was Oren Lyons, an Onondagan, a human being, a man, a young man, all to no avail. When his uncle ha reduced him to silence and he asked to be informed as to who he was, his uncle said, “Do you see that bluff over there? Oren, you are the bluff. And that giant pine on the other shore? Oren, you are that pine. And this water that supports our boat? You are this water.”
Told by Huston Smith in The World’s Religions
DISCUSS: What did Oren’s uncle mean: You are the bluff, the giant pine, the water? If you were asked--“Who are you?”—how would you answer?
On Sunday, April 22, we celebrate Earth Day. Do you have any stories or tales that give us an insight into the significance of Earth Day.