We are the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. We have united as one. Ours is an alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come. – Statement of Alliance, The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous GrandmothersIn 2004, 13 women elders gathered in upstate New York to pray. They prayed for the earth, for their families and for the future of the human race. A desperate concern for the world brought them together; their mission, now, is to spread their word.
The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers brings together respected women elders from Asia; North, Central and South America; Africa; and the Arctic Circle. The matriarchs are motivated by a prophecy, learned in their visions and dreams, foreshadowing a council of grandmothers that would convene at the Earth’s eleventh hour. These women draw on their collective experiences as healers, midwives, counselors, dancers and shamans in a tour de force of grand maternal spiritual power.
The group’s goal is to heal the Earth and teach ancient indigenous rites that connect people to the land. Their visions indicated that prayer is an answer to the questions contemporary society is grappling with. When the grandmothers meet they talk about worries that are unique to their homelands, from the dumping of nuclear waste in Tibet to the theft of traditional medicine rights in the Amazon rainforest, but they also address the spiritual malnourishment of the world in general.
They meet roughly every six months, in each other’s homelands, to talk, pray and share their indigenous spiritual practices. In seven years they hope to visit each grandmother’s home, participate in the indigenous ceremonies for each place, and strengthen the spiritual fabric of the globe. Their travels have taken them to New York, South Dakota, California and New Mexico in the U.S. as well as Oaxaca, Mexico and Dharamsala, India, where they met with the Dalai Lama. Their indigenous ceremonies are humble in nature, however a growing media following and the burgeoning reputation of the group evidences the powerful work of the thirteen matriarchs.
The grandmothers are currently working on three projects: collaborating with producer/director Carole Hart on a film about their journey; writing to the Vatican asking for the revocation of 15th century Papal proclamations that deny the rights of heathen indigenous peoples; and giving public talks about their homelands, spirituality and indigenous wisdom.
In April some of the grandmothers will visit Australia to speak with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and meet with Aboriginal elders for a public spiritual event. Three months later, the whole council will meet for its sixth gathering near the Equatorial African city of Libreville. The grandmothers will hold public talks and ceremonies at this gathering, then travel to Spain for more talks and a “Blessing of the Waters” ceremony on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Their European expedition will end in France, after private council with Princess Constance de Polignac.
Marrying spirituality and environmentalism, these women hope to infuse a new generation of inhabitants with the respect they feel the Earth requires to move forward into the new millennium.