July 2017
Dear Friends,
Those of us living just north of San Francisco are surrounded by the imprint of the Tamalko (Coast Miwok) people, from the peaks of Mt. Tamalpais down to the waters of Tomales Bay. I only recently learned that the Miwok word tamal means bay or coast.
This word, from an almost completely lost language, is one of the cultural threads that link this landscape to the first people who lived here. Greg Sarris, Tribal Chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (which includes the Tamalko), has explained that his people "believed that everything in nature had power and everything - a rock, a bird - had songs, had spirit." Everything was "predicated on profound respect for every aspect of life and the ways in which everything is connected."
As you will see in the stories we share below this month, Kalliopeia's support of Native language and culture revitalization is support for reconnection - to heritage, to family, to a sense of place within the living network of relationships between the land, culture and people.
With my best wishes,
Zoƫ Fuller-Rowell
Executive Director

Orion Magazine

The words we choose reveal a lot about how we think about the natural world. Robin Wall Kimmerer explores the grammar of animacy in the current issue of  Orion Magazine.

"The language that my grandfather was forbidden to speak is composed primarily of verbs, ways to describe the vital beingness of the world. Both nouns and verbs come in two forms, the animate and the inanimate. You hear a blue jay with a different verb than you hear an airplane, distinguishing that which posse sses the quality of life from that which is merely an object. Birds, bugs, and berries are spoken of with the same respectful grammar as humans are, as if we were all members of the same family. Because we are."


Terralingua's Langscape Magazine uncovers links between linguistic, cultural, and biological diversity. In a recent article, Andrea Lyall writes: "Our language expresses a connection to the land through words, stories, and ceremonies, which describe the patterns of the seasons, traditional use, important places, and cultural and spiritual values." 

Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS)

"California was once home to over 300 Native American dialects and as many as 90 languages, making it the most linguistically diverse state in the US. Today, only about half of those languages are still with us." AICLS assists California Indian communities and individuals in keeping their languages alive.

Watch the video

Global Oneness Project

This short documentary from the Global Oneness Project tells the story of Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language and the dictionary she created in an effort to keep her language alive.
Wake Forest University

" We need a robust and visceral language of place that can create in us the possibility of attachment to those places, that can make us love and care for them."  Fred Bahnson, Director of the  Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program , recently gave this presentation at Georgetown University.

Stories We Love

After a meditative walk through a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, On Being contributor Omid Safi realizes that the spiritual destination he was trying to reach on the path up the mountain was under his feet the whole time.

" The torii, the Japanese gate, is said to mark the threshold between the sacred and the profane. Yet the torii is famously open. Sacred on this side, sacred on that side. Sacred to the right, sacred to the left. And while the thousands of torii do mark the path that one is encouraged to stay on, there are also hundreds if not thousands of sideway paths into other shrines, other bamboo-filled forests to wander and reflect. Ultimately, all is sacred, all is illuminated."

Upcoming Events

Work That Reconnects
Begins Sept. 2017

Presencing Institute
Begins Sept. 13

Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance
Oct. 1-6
Denver, CO

Finding the Gold Within

Wilderness Torah
Aug. 29-Sept. 4
Felton, CA

Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival
Oct. 6-8
Sanger, CA