This Land is My Teacher

January 20, 2010


Other Worlds has partnered with the National Catholic Reporter to publish a 12 part series, titled "Women: Birthing justice, birthing hope."  The columns, collected and edited by Beverly Bell, feature empowered women who offer alternative visions as they birth a new and more just world order.

By Nayeli Guzman.  Damn, I should have brought my beans! I wanted to show you my collection. One of my favorites is called powami, a Hopi ceremonial bean. There’s a really beautiful one called Maine yellow eye, which is all white, and right at the part where the bean sprouts there’s a little yellow moon on there. There’s another one called provider. It’s almost the color of those trees -- wine color -- and the skin is almost like a rainbow. When you put it against the sun, it looks like an oil spill from your car. Man, those beans are so beautiful. We cooked some red Mexican beans for the harvest festival and everyone loved them.

We need to keep the traditions alive. We need to preserve the seeds. We need to preserve the soil. We need to preserve the planet.

Farming was in my prayers for a long time. This land is my teacher, it’s my altar. It’s at the heart of my culture; we’ve always done that. We’ve strayed so far from it that I feel we have to go back, no matter where we come from. I’m just being responsible to the struggles my ancestors went through. They fought for tierra y libertad, which means land and liberty. In fact, we’re still going through that struggle today, with our food and even our genes being colonized. Read More