The Role of Women and Indigenous People in Personal, Societal and Planetary Transformation

If there is one topic that major political parties, disparate societies, individuals and the entire planet can agree upon it is that homo sapiens have not done a great job of developing creative and functional individuals or societies.

Back in the 1970’s, Frank Fools Crow, the great spiritual leader of the Lakota Sioux, said to me “There will be a thousand years of peace and prosperity and they will be ushered in by the women.” At that time, I was aware that these were important words – as was everything he said to me – and I held them close to my heart.

I was and am a feminist. Being a Cherokee-Irish-with a little bit of English woman, it was inevitable that I was a feminist. Now, at 83-years-old, I have not only the advantage of many wise elders, native and western, who taught me well, I have the advantage of my own experience of living through several waves of feminism and cultural change.

Frank Fools Crow always exhorted me to be an eagle and see the larger picture. My mother and great-grandmother, both from a medicine line, taught me that we are here to heal, grow and learn, and be of service to others. I have never doubted that my primary relationship was and is with the creator and that the creator is my boss. I know that if I am honest, do my work, participate and trust my process, I will always have more than enough to do and will also have what I need. (Maybe not always what I want – what I need, which is enough).

I grew up knowing that everything is spiritual and that all religions have some pieces of the truth, were developed by men – as are the cultures – and were developed when and because we, as humans, had drifted away from our essence and were trying to find our way back.

As I have worked with women and native cultures all over the world, I have been told again and again that there will be a time when our innate wisdom will be essential to save the planet and that time is now. Women and native peoples have not been key in creating the human cultures we now have on this planet nor have they been listened to. And, because of that lack of influence, have a different perspective than those who have the power and influence in that creation.

Unfortunately, our major role, as women, in the creation of the current male-dominant cultures has been to accept that we had no role. I now see that there was a reason that women’s knowledge and wisdom and that of native people was not accepted, sought after, or listened to. It was because we, as a species, were not ready to integrate it into our cultures and way of functioning.

In 1981, I published my first book, Women’s Reality. In that book, I described three major systems operating in the culture. I called the dominant culture the White Male System (WMS) because the power and influence in that system were held by white males and it was designed by white males (with all our passive – if not active – support). I called the women’s counterpart to that system the Reactive Female System (RFS), because it was not a natural system for women. It was developed to aid, support, and survive in the WMS. Then there was another emerging system I observed and participated in the development of as a second wave feminist. It was a system I saw coming into being as we women shed our brainwashing in the WMS and became clearer and clearer about who we were and what we knew and believed as women. I called this system the Emerging Female System (EFS). The power and wisdom in that system has been growing exponentially as women have trusted seeing what we see and know what we know.

I then became very interested in working with recovering alcoholics. During the years of working intensely with alcoholics throughout the world, I came to see that what I had called the WMS was a one-to-one fit with the addict and what I called the Reactive Female System was a fit with the co-dependent. We were living in a society that functioned just like an addict.

What I had labeled the Emerging Female System was a system that had been submerged by the WMS/RFS and was now emerging as a solution to the WMS (addictive system)/RFS (co-dependent). This new system is built on process and participation and operates out of a deep, spiritual wholeness. It will be transformative for individuals, systems and the planet and is already there, hidden in the ancient wisdom of women and native people throughout the world.

The words of Frank Fools Crow are now emerging as a living reality.

Clearly, we are in a time when the systems and ways of being in this world are not working and, indeed, are quite dysfunctional.

Yet, we have hidden within the very fabric of our social and cultural existence, groups of people – women and indigenous people – who, sometimes even unbeknownst to them, have, because of their oppression, clues of ways to transform the human race and the planet. Recovering alcoholics would call this process “hitting bottom and discovering a spiritual solution.”

We will be led into the solution by the wisdom of those who have had little or no voice in creating the dominant system that is universally destroying the planet.

If we trust the process, we can, indeed, see that God, the creator, the ground of our being does, indeed, have a sense of humor.


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