Reader Views reviews Honor the Earth by Phil Bellfy

Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (06/2022)

Phil Bellfy has collected together numerous insightful, instructive, and magnificently written essays in “Honor the Earth: Indigenous Response to Environmental Degradation in the Great Lakes.” This collection serves multiple purposes: 1. To call direct attention to how western capitalist initiatives have been dooming our planet from the early days of colonization and 2. To highlight how by collaborating with other cultures, populations and entering into constructive discussions about these environmental problems is the only way to come back from the brink of environmental disaster.

Honor the Earth” has a wide variety of essays covering a range of topics, such as Traditional Knowledge, Indigenous Responsibility, the threats of mining, capitalist schemes, and much more. One powerful aspect of this book is its power. As a non-Native reader, I know I will never be able to truly comprehend how destructive Western colonization and capitalist incentives have been to Native communities, throughout the country, throughout the history of the “New World.” It is not a secret that we are finding ourselves at a dangerous precipice in terms of climate change and environmental health, and we only have ourselves to blame. It was quite eye-opening, and revealing, how this collection of essays managed to both convey the trials and endeavors of Native and rural populations in the Great Lakes Basin and also explain in understandable terms just how and why various choices made by U.S. leaders have had so many consequences.

I think one of the most disturbing, stark realities revealed in “Honor the Earth,” was the effect of mining and pollution of lake waters on surrounding communities. I had never heard of having limits on how much fish someone, such as a pregnant woman or a woman who wished to bear children in the future, could consume as a result of the dangerous toxins that those fish were exposed to, and therefore ingested and became contaminated with. The idea that these communities cannot go through daily life without clean, safe food and even water, in this day and age, is a slapping reminder of how those of more privileged status seem to continually write off the struggles and dangers that those in lower economic classes are being forced to face.

One of the recurring themes throughout the essays in “Honor the Earth” was that despite the fact these Native and rural communities are the ones forced to suffer the consequences of environmental degradation at the hands of greedy capitalist regimes, they are often left out of discussions on how to actually help that same environment. For example, the fact that Native voices only made up a marginal percent of voices allowed to contribute at SOLEC conventions.

If we want to truly try and stop the ecological time bomb that we Westerners have set off, then we have to recognize that we cannot do that without involving those who admittedly know more about the land than we ever will. I remember being first angry, then saddened, at the revelation that even when allowed chances to voice their ideas, these ideas were often scoffed at or received outright hostile responses. I was angry, because it seemed so ridiculous that in this day and age the privileged white majority continues to both intentionally and unintentionally exclude other populations from important discussions, and saddened because even after over 400 years of sharing the same country we still have not made much progress in terms of accepting those with different ideas.

Honor the Earth” is a hard pill to swallow as a non-Native, white reader, but it is a necessary pill. I cannot contend to understand the nuances of nature and the land around me like Native populations can, because they have poured their blood, sweat and tears into it for tens of thousands of years longer. We cannot contend to understand the traditional ecological knowledge of the Native populations, but we can be allies. “Honor the Earth” is a powerful collection that would be a great addition to the bookshelves of those interested in ecology, anthropology, cultural studies and indigenous studies.


Phil Bellfy
Ziibi Press (2022)
ISBN 978-1615996254

My Grief Is Like the Ocean

SKU 978-1-61599-686-5
$16.95
A Story for Children Who Lost a Parent to Suicide
In stock
1
Product Details
UPC: 978-1-61599-686-5
Brand: Loving Healing Press
Binding: Paperback
Audiobook: Audible, iTunes
Edition: 1st
Author: Jessica Biles & Jillian Kelly-Wavering
Illustrator: Jessica Biles
Pages: 30
Publication Date: 09/01/2022

The death of a parent is heartbreaking, but the issues surrounding suicide can be even more devastating. My Grief is Like the Ocean was written by mental health professionals who wanted to support caregivers during incredibly difficult conversations with children. Using the latest research and clinical guidance, and told from the perspective of a boy who lost his father to suicide, this book will help children to feel supported. When caregivers and children read this book together, they will gain a valuable resource for engaging in honest, informative and heartfelt discussions to help families heal. This book will:

  • Help children and caregivers talk about their grief experiences
  • Normalize and encourage the many emotions a child may feel after a loss due to suicide
  • Promote important dialogue and concrete ways to seek help for mental illness
  • Provide caregivers with ideas for developmentally appropriate coping skills
  • Offer additional resources caregivers can access for further support

"This is the one book all parents and clinicians need to have in their personal library. Adults now have a tool to help children navigate the difficult emotions of abandonment, betrayal, rage, and anger that often bubble up after the suicide of a loved one, but are often suppressed and left unspoken." -- Athena A. Drewes, PsyD, RPT-S, founder and president emeritus, New York Association of Play Therapy, past director of the Association for Play Therapy

"My Grief is Like the Ocean tackles the seldom discussed, emotionally wrenching and very difficult concept of suicide in a way that children can understand...delicately using the metaphor of the ocean to describe how its shifting waves mirror the boy's feelings. The explanations are concise. The opportunity for a child to acknowledge their feelings is boundless." -- Laurie Zelinger, Ph.D., ABPP, RPT-S, board-certified psychologist, author of Please Explain Anxiety to Me

"This book is important and much needed, since the death of a parent by suicide is one of the most complicated and devastating forms of childhood grief. I found the book to be brilliant and written with the foundation of great sensitivity and compassion. I also loved the eloquent use of metaphors throughout. Highly recommended!" -- David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP, author, board-certified clinical psychologist

"My Grief is Like the Ocean addresses the complex and conflicting feelings survivors have when they have lost a loved one to suicide. It is a must-have resource for all therapists that work with children and youth, as well as the surviving family members who may need direction regarding how to support their children as they experience this unique form of grief and loss." -- Theresa Fraser, CYC-P, CPT-S, MA, RP, RCT, CT, trauma, loss, and attachment clinical specialist

Learn more at MyGriefisLiketheOcean.com

From Loving Healing Press www.LHPress.com

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