Right Relationship with Janene Yazzie, pt. 1
Janene Yazzie is an exceptionally articulate entrepreneur, community organizer, and human rights advocate from the Navajo Nation. In this interview she talks with Cherokee citizen, Vance Blackfox, about her work and living in right relationship.
Janene Yazzie is a Diné Asa Navajo woman from the Navajo Nation. She is a community organizer and human rights advocate who has worked on development and energy issues with Indigenous communities across the United States for over 12 years. In part one of this interview she talks about her background and identity, steps for personal and societal transformation, and how to stay "in a good way." Janene is interviewed by Vance Blackfox for AllCreation's Fall 2021 collection exploring the Native American sense of "Sacred Relationship" with Earth's other living creatures.
Among her many accomplishments, Janene Yazzie is co-founder/CEO of Sixth-World Solutions and a co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group to the United Nations High Level Political Forum on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, where she works on climate change, water security, food security, energy development, and nation building. She is also a program manager for the International Indian Treaty Council and a co-founder of the Navajo Nation Little Colorado River Watershed Chapters Association, where her work ranges from infrastructure policy-making to restoration and protection of traditional ecological knowledge. To learn more about Janene, visit Sixth-World Solutions.
Philmer Bluehouse (in memoriam)
“As much as I'm seeing the non-Indigenous world really get overwhelmed and experience new things like climate grief — what we’re seeing as Indigenous Peoples are all the necessary signs that are telling us, “A new way is coming. A new way is possible.” And it is our responsibility to rise to that occasion and recognize those signs and dig deeper within ourselves to create those pathways that are needed to change the direction and course of our future by restoring our relationship with all of life on this planet.”
“Where do the stars know your name? Where is that place, that moment where you have that first memory of looking up to the stars and recognizing that you’re this speck in the universe. Where is that experience rooted? And how can you use that to reclaim your connection as a human being living on this Earth, tied to an interdependent and interconnected relationship to everything from the stars in our universe to the soils under your feet."
"ALL of our places need to be protected. We need relatives that are willing and able to stand in defense of all sacred life and do it in a way that is meaningful, in a way that is authentic and genuine to their real histories, to where they’re connected, to where they come from."
“When you don’t understand the histories of where (our) practices come from, then you’re not honoring them the way you think you are."
“If we’re not able to tap into something deeper, into a deeper connection and a deeper imagination based on where we’re connected to, to place, then we’re gonna continue to be limited in our solutions and our understanding by that dominance worldview.”
"That’s part of the beauty of it: It’s not a quick fix. We can be patient with ourselves. We each have a responsibility to take on that journey, to take on that path of self-discovery. And when we do that and we invest in right relationship with those around us and with other forms of sacred life, non-human life, that’s how we win.”
“Not only do we inherit the resiliency of our ancestors, we inherit their tremendous love and their tremendous power of believing and hoping for a different way, a different future, different outcomes.”
“We’re not here to save the Earth. We’re here to re-establish and remember our deep connection to our Mother and what a gift that is. But, we’re actually here to really grow and evolve as a species and to remember and restore our connection to each other, and to rebuild our own ecosystem -- the ecosystem that sustains us as human communities so that it’s back in balance with the natural ecosystems that exist around us. And we’re perfectly capable of doing that. For everything we have done wrong, we are capable of creating a solution to heal that, to address it, to take responsibility for it and to create a new way. And that’s what gives me hope and that’s what keeps driving me.”
Listen to Part 2 of Janene's interview here: https://share.transistor.fm/s/b0803102.