Quotes by Grandmother Rita Pitka Blumenstein


"The past is not a burden; it is a scaffold which brought us to this day. We are free to be who we are—to create our own life out of our past and out of the present. We are our ancestors. When we can heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and our children. When we heal ourselves, we heal Mother Earth.”


"Most of the time I say a prayer with songs."]

"Mother Nature's angry, and we're not going to fix it unless we change."

"My Yupik name, "Bamiovan", means "the tail end," because I was born in the tail end of the old ways."

"I had a vision the ancestors told us to heal the world."

"And we'd better hurry up.  We have to talk louder, sing louder, or maybe we gotta talk like our elders used to tell stories: real quiet, so everybody can listen."

"Maybe we are a little late, but we're here, the grandmothers from all four corners.  I'm from the North, and she's from the East, and she's from the South, and she's from the West.  And we're all here, for our generation, for our little ones."

"When we heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and our children.  When we heal ourselves, we also heal mother earth."

 "We are all here for the universe ... Everything changes except the land we live on, and when that changes, we must accept it ...When Mother Nature shows us she's angry, that changes all of us.  My Grandmother taught me long ago that you become a human being when you learn to accept., when you learn to let go. We are here for the universe."

"The secret is that I don't know anything. I am your friend, I am not sick, not sad, not angry. But what about you?"

"Emotions become physical, and the physical becomes emotional. Healing is about peeling. God said there is only abundance, and the only way through is to forgive. Holding on to negative emotions becomes caner or another illness.  Our healing is not just for ourselves, it is for the universe. We forget who we are, and that is the cause of our illness."

"The ceremonies, the  Potlach  are old ways. I can see now, today, that all that happened back then was for this purpose, for this life we are living today. It was for my work now. The ceremonies were about what all our ancestors were doing for the future, for future use. We just didn't know back then that meant today."

"It is essential to allow yourself to know what you know, instead of driving yourself to be," she believes. "When there is so much striving to be and become, we don't often recognize what it is we really want when it's right there in front of us."

After the Chaos of this time, there will be peace.”

“The universe does not belong to you, you belong to the Universe.”

"We are free to be who we are—to create our own life out of our past and out of the present.  We are our ancestors.  When we heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers and our children.  When we heal ourselves, we heal Mother Earth."

“We're not going to fix the world — we're not fixer-uppers. Each one of you must fix yourselves.”

"Healing is truth, sickness is hiding, it splits life. Creation is selfless.  Selfish possession kills it."

“Fishskins were used for mukluks, mittens and rain  coats. Fishskins were used especially by the river mainland people (Yukon-Kuskokwim).  They also used the skins as bags for water containers. The fishskins come in different  colors. It depends upon what kind of fish—if it’s a king salmon, if it’s a silver salmon, if  it’s a trout or if it’s a pike. Some fish you have to scale; some fish you don’t. Like pike,  you have to scale it, also the white fish."

Rita Pitka Blumenstein from SW Alaska about 'urine tanning': "You take the skin off and soak it in the water, and then you scrape it with a sea shell. Some fish you have to scale; some fish you don't. Like pike and white fish, you've got to scale it; you soak it in urine. The urine has to come from a young boy baby before weaning. It doesn't contain any chemicals, just momma's milk. For thicker skins, you have to use the urine from an older boy, around the time his voice changes....

photos: www.evergreen.edu

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