|Earth's Greatest Medicine
Panhe Speech Earth Day 2010
Earth's Greatest Medicine
Panhe Speech Earth Day 2010
My name is Bob Bracamontes, some of my friends in school called me Crow and you have seen me sign off as Black
Crow. I know that is redundant because I have never seen a white Crow.
When I think of Earth Day, Panhe automatically comes to mind. Where else would I rather be, perhaps forever. I
wonder if that is what my cousin was thinking.
It was not long ago that Ronnie Bracamontes was buried at Panhe. My father, Joseph Bracamontes, was present at
our cousin’s burial. This is a piece of the living history of the Acjachemen people. It is part of what binds us to the
Earth. Our food, water, life and burials, they help us to learn to understand about the healing of wounds. The overall
experience prepares us for the rest of life’s struggles. It gives us the strength to carry on through love, peace, our
traditions and connections to Mother Earth and each other.
I had a Facebook chat with Luis J Rodriguez, author of Always Running. The topic was the recent earthquakes, where
we were and what we were doing when the recent one rolled through Southern California
Luis Rodriguez (LR): “There's beauty in everything--and there is destruction all around us. It's all part of life. Death is
not the opposite of life, it's the opposite of birth. And every death leads to new birth. Great ideas. Still we mourn, we
hurt, we pray. Still we do all we can to safeguard our loved ones, community, country, and world. Thanks for your
Robert Bracamontes (RB): “At my mom and dad's house we just sat there and said it was a long one. But across the
room from me is a hand painted [picture] of my sister Clara who died of lung cancer just over a year ago. She never
smoked. [The] circle of life was all around us. Her children and her three grandchildren were running around keeping
us busy with love and laughter. Thank you Luis for reminding us all about the new beginnings.”
LR: “We need to keep the love and laughter going. There's medicine everywhere, even in the disasters. Thank you Bob.
Of course you can quote me. These ideas are not mine--they're ancient ideas that we have to be reminded about.”
For all of us, part of the medicine is gathering here at Panhe and reminding ourselves about the role of the land, our
role on earth and the way it plays out in our lives. Many things come to mind.
Panhe is the starting point for the Ancestral Walk. It acts as a catalyst of what may be real healing.
My wife, Pat, has knee problems. Just recently she reminded me that she was feeling much better. Her assessment
was the eating of extra kiwi, which has more potassium than bananas, and taking glucosamine tablets were
responsible. But when did she start feeling better?
The last time I remember seeing her struggle to stand up was last year at the Bear Dance. So from my assessment,
she got better after going to the Bear Dance. Perhaps it was a little of both. Maybe medicine and healing come in
For us, the Acjachemen people and the world at large, the medicine is peace. Our wounds from past battles and wars
must end in order to comfort the Earth. The Earth is being destroyed by the chemicals of war. Presently, depleted
uranium is used in too large a quantity.
And for the Acjachemen, our draw back has been political poison.
We must let the wounds heal. For the Acjachemen, unity is our medicine. For the world, it is peace. And for Mother
Earth, it is preservation of all the open land that feeds and supplies water; the trees and plants that give us clean air to
breathe. To her we owe this life, for in an instant she can end it more swiftly and more devastatingly than humankind
could ever contemplate.
But for the moment, we must focus on the good and the positive.
So today, on this Earth Day, I thank her for preserving my Ancestors village. I thank her for saving and growing the
plants we need for ceremony. This is why we must protect our ancestral land from any future attacks from the Toll
And lastly I want to thank the thousands of you present today. Those of you before me; those that were born, lived and
died, here on Panhe; those of you who’s footsteps we now follow. You are the thousands that people sometimes can’t
seem to see so clearly. And those of us in the flesh are the new birth, the new life that is part of a living, breathing
culture of humankind’s existence. While today we celebrate the medicine beneath our feet, our gathering here above
the soil is the medicine of strength for us today.
We will live our lives as you did, at peace with Mother Earth, taking the food offered and replenishing it for others.
Robert (Bob) Bracamontes