It was a warm welcome again for our guests for the Environmental Law Conference. Some arrived early, others came in a day later, but everybody was counted for. It was heartwarming to have Agnes Baker Pilgrim and her daughter Nadine amongst them for the third consecutive year. As one of the international 13 indigenous Grandmothers (www.grandmotherscouncil.com) Agnes Pilgrim enlightens the world with her teachings and stories and her visions for our Planet. As a member of this council of extraordinary women and oldest living member of the Eastern Oregon Takelma tribe she travels the world to give her views and provides her wisdom regarding the healing of our injured planet. She also gives her input about ending war and poverty when she speaks with spiritual leaders as his holiness Pope Benedict XVI or his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
With a mid-day session lead by William Blair from Infraspect (www.infraspect.com) many topics of the conference were reviewed and discussed among the participating guests. Although we have seen different scenarios in the last three years it always boils down to the impact of the environmental implications of the destruction, pollution and the vast changing of the ancestral lands of the indigenous people and the hurt that is felt because of it. Although we learn more about the perspective of the first Americans it is obvious that environmental issue's and our quest to find solutions for the economic, social and ecological problems are approached from a Western point of view. Here at the McKenzie River Inn it became clear that not bringing their perspective to the program would be an other missed opportunity to enrich the lawmaking process that would give the indigenous people a reflected voice and a hard fought recognition of how they have to deal with the protection of their communities from the above mentioned environmental changes. After all, shared strategies, scientific research and legal input from the many different parties and angles, would more effectively promote environmental protection.
Thanks to the generous salmon contribution from Tim Hermach of the Native Forest Council, we all enjoyed each others company during a dinner on Saturday prepared by Ellie, William and myself. After dinner and around a crackling fire we talked on a lighter note, laughed at jokes and looked back to the 2009 Environmental Law Conference with the knowledge to have learned from each other experiences facing similar environmental challenges to come to more successful environmental policies. As for the McKenzie River Inn, we can not be more thankful for the wonderful guests we could share our place on the McKenzie river with. Hope to see you all back next year.