First, I apologize to those whom this may offend. I am trying to practice respect. I think I should to speak up within the herbal community and feel I should do so, carefully and with as much respect as possible. This is my intention. I thank-you for sharing with me. I humbly apologize if this is offensive or is incorrect. Please correct me.
To all whom read this and in honor of those whom shared,
My name is Robin Klanott. My husband was and will remain, Robert Klanott, Kaagwaantaan, now residing with his ancestors, I live in Sitka, Alaska. A small community located in Southeast Alaska on the outer Coast of Baranof Island. I stand before you sharing with my own words, which I must now take responsibility for. I feel I have lived a lifetime within a part of a lifetime, and I still have a very far journey to go. I have made many mistakes in my life and will make many more, but I try to learn from them.
Fourteen years ago I was invited to a class. A class with Tlingit elders generously offering knowledge. Precious words with meaning to those who would listen. Thank-you.
It was fourteen years ago when two of these elders having a discussion, “Pretty soon it will come and they will be selling it to the Chinese, science will step in, everyone will think there is plenty, and we’ll be having to save it, it will be on an endangered list…” This was said with no malice nor anger. To the families, I am thankful for the opportunity to listen. I am sorry I have not used names, I don’t know if it would be alright. I am still learning.
This conversation was about Devil’s Club. I now read this:
Please note what the below quote says, the date in this quote, the date of this quote, the date of the article and the date I give of which I was honored to listen and be a witness.
“Devil’s club may also be a source of medicine, according to David C. Smith, a former city manager in Seldovia, Alaska, and founder, in 1998, of Alaska Green Gold in Anchorage, a company that evaluates the marketability of Alaskan medicinal plants in China.” Sonya Senkowsky, National Geographic Today, September 5, 2003.
I asked a traditional weaver what a certain design was. She gave me the Tlingit name and looked at me saying, “it is not so simple, it means, it is like the effect one drop has in a calm pool of water and the ripples flowing out.” Thank-you
It is with this I approach taking responsibility for my words and my future actions with learning. I am also clumsy with words, but I continue to press on hoping to communicate not only efficiently, but also fostering my empathy and compassion.
How true, one drop causes many ripples. More drops can cause disaster. Our actions, our thoughts, our words, and our eagerness to learn. Even sharing has ripples. I hope I am being respectful to all who have shared with me.
We, of the herbal community, have lived this in our lifetime, all of us, and elders of this Tlingit culture also knew. For a variety of reasons, preserving a way of life, preserving misunderstood plants, and etc is why knowledgeable herbalists began communities formed within a whole of the herbal community. We have different belief’s, but much in common.
As an individual a part of more than one community, I am here to say, in my humble opinion, no way exists to verbally explain Devil’s Club. I am not challenging any of you who are experts since I most certainly am not, and quite probably never will be. It is not my intent to offend. I could go on and on saying many things regarding use, how to use, how to harvest, the right locations as I was taught, possibilities, probabilities, culture, the peoples relationship, but…it is not so simple.
Please be aware this is not just a medicinal we are now intrusted with.
Can we look within ourselves to empathize and understand?
I leave you to think about the ripples we may be causing with our actions and the effects they have upon a people. Sometimes the eagerness to help or to learn unknowingly cause ripples. Most of all, I ask we keep practicing the respect taught from whom we learn.
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