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from the 'Dear Reader' introduction to Roots of Peace:

Roots of Peace When I was a little girl, cowboys—not Indians—were my heroes. Indians were the whooping wild men I saw on television. They were the frowning chiefs on horseback I drew pictures of in class.

History—true history—was missing from my schoolbooks. It was missing from what my parents said, from what even my best teachers knew.

Native people had given—and given up—so much in this country, but no one told me. I had no idea they'd been done so much harm. The older I got, the more I learned and the more surprised I was. The day came when I was certain I would write this book.

I talk about Peace a lot in this book: the Peace that Native people enjoyed for thousands of years, before explorers came to this country. The Peace that Native people and Earth have lost since that time. The Peace that blossomed among certain Native nations in this land for over five hundred years. The Peace that Native and non-Native people could live today if we helped one another create it.

The Peace you can live—even if no one around you is doing the same.

Many people don't care about Peace.

Maybe someone treated them badly when they were children. Maybe they went hungry or never had a home. Maybe they never climbed a mountain or swam in an ocean or lay in a field of summer flowers.

How would they learn to care for the Earth then? How would they know to care for other human beings? What would make them want to?

Can you see yourself in other people? Can you feel what it's like to be living as they live? Can you understand that if you were living their lives, you might be acting as they are acting?

Understanding is the first step toward Peace—Peace with others and within ourselves. It is the first step toward love. When we stop calling people our enemies—when we begin to try to understand them—we allow them room to become our friends.

When I was young, these thoughts were like seeds that hadn't sprouted. I couldn't find words to express them.

As I grew, I met people whose feelings matched my own.

We were like lights to one another. We connected heart-to-heart. It was as if we were waking from a dream together and remembering all we'd always known about Earth and Earth ways.

Roots of Peace was born from these rememberings.

This book is my best understanding of what Native and non-Native people have been to one another in this country. In it, I put what I wish I'd known when I was young. I put what it was my right to know, what it's your right to know today. As a nation—and for each of us alone—we will choose wisely where we are going only when we know where we have been.

Clearly, no people named as one people all think and feel and act the same. In every group, some are kind and some are cruel. Some are greedy and some are giving. Some are wise and some are foolish. Some care for the land and some do not. This is true for Native people as well.

It has always been true, worldwide, for the smallest family as well as for the largest nation. It will always be true, until every day on Earth—until every being—is seen as holy.

From "Before Columbus Came":
Before Columbus CameYou are living in this land a thousand years ago. The source of what you use, you see in everything around you.

Your medicine comes from the plants and trees and flowers. Your food is what you have gathered or hunted or grown. You breathe fresh air. You drink pure water. Silence is your friend. Always, you prize your visions and your dreams.

When you plant, you sing songs. You read the weather in the sky and in the trees, and in the sounds that animals are making.

The sun gives you warmth, and warmth comes from the fire you fuel with branches that you find beneath the trees. You make tools from wood or bone or antler.

You build shelters—you make clothes—from other gifts of Earth you see around you.

Your music is the rush of waterfalls. It is the crackling of your cookfire, the sounds of flutes and rattles and drums, and your own voice singing.

Everywhere you turn, you see beauty. Everything you notice is important to your life.

You walk gently on earth and live in balance. To you, all that surrounds you—all that lives—is blessed.

From "Before Columbus Came":
How surprised Columbus must have been when he arrived in the Americas. He and his men had thoughts of taking on their minds. They were welcomed by Native people whose thoughts were of giving and of Peace.

Indios, Columbus called them—people In With God. Later, non-Native people wrongly called them Indians.

Why this happened isn't clear. But because of it, most non-Native people would see Native people as one group, instead of as members of over three hundred Native nations. And, in spite of the suffering he caused, Columbus would become a hero.

This is sad to say, but not surprising. Most often, history is written by the takers in the world, not by those who are taken from.

From "Seeds of Hope":

These days, we must all be Peacemakers...Your age doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what your life is like or who your family is or where you live. You are important. Every thought you think, every word you speak, everything you do, circles out to all beings through all places in all times.

Do you want Peace?

Then before you swat a fly or pick a flower, think carefully. Use every chance for kindness that you can. Treat all beings as you'd like to be treated and love the differences between them.

Feel, if you can, what it's like to be a river. Be a mountain. Be a rosebud. Be a turtle. Be a cloud.

Beyond yourself and back again. Beyond, beyond—and back. A kinship circle.

Copyright © 1993 by maggie s davis. All Rights Reserved.

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maggie s davis
324 Grant Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605

Copyright © 1996 - 2023 maggie s davis. All Rights Reserved.