Manataka American Indian Council

Proudly Presents







Touching the Earth

By Upaava Hohongwitutiwa


Ngungu'taota (greetings, we are relatives), Tutskwa I'qatsi (Land and Life are One),

In the July Smoke Signal News it was stated, in Elders Speak:
“Great Spirit, today, let me touch the Earth so the Earth can touch me.”

I would like to speak to you about “touching the Earth,” as this is a sacred subject worthy of discussion.


Luther Standing Bear was quoted saying that “The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power...The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing..." “...Have you ever noticed the relationship between children and the soil? Watch how happily they are touching the dirt. The children play in it and eat it... Our bodies love to touch the Earth.”

Deep within the core-heart of our Earth Mother is a great dynamo creating the protective magnetic field surrounding our world, and energizing and vitalizing the crust of the Earth, including the topsoil we walk upon. Is it any wonder that children are intuitively drawn to roll, dig, and generally play in the soil, even eating this vitalized substance at times.

Indeed, the bottom of our feet are honeycombed with nerve endings meant to be in “touch with the Earth” to receive Her life giving, healing energies. This is one meaning of “touching the Earth-the Earth touching us,” another is shown in the authority and law-giving power of the Earth, as evidenced in the history of Buddhism.

As recorded, the founder of Buddhism began as Prince Siddartha, who was searching for a way to end suffering. As he sought enlightenment on this path, getting close to his goal, he was confronted by a demonic tempter who asked Prince Siddartha from what authority did he get the right to become enlightened? In reply, Prince Siddartha reached down and touched the Earth! Buddhists call this the Earth Gesture.

For Hopi, Earth Mother was the authoritative power granting Prince Siddartha the right to reach enlightened consciousness. Indeed, as the Hopi understand, the Earth is the giver of life and all we possess, and the one evolving us from age-to-age to our perfected life in the orbit of the Fifth World-- Earth Mother is the Life-giver; She is also the Law-giver!

A further level of meaning- of touching and being touched by the Earth- is glimpsed in Lee Standing Bear Moore's statement: “...we listen carefully to the Earth Mother's heart-beat, her vibrations, like a baby in the mother's womb, so that we may draw close to her with loving embrace.”

In the above we are reminded that in humility and respect we bow to our Earth Mother as Her young children, still growing and maturing within the evolutionary process She has for us; we look for Her words and respond in a good way to Her voice: “Yes Mother, you call me? I stand alert! Show me a sign and I will do my best for you.”

We do not need to hear Her voice to know She wants us to honor all of the Earth and its Life. She is the giver of Life, of Spirit, and we must honor life wherever we find it. It is easy to honor life in our families and friends, even a terrible sinner can do this. We must also honor life in strangers and in our enemies; we must honor life even in those people who abuse that life, because Life itself is sacred, and that it is abused is terribly sad. Where we see life being abused, we can try to guide that person to a better understanding of life.

All of this, and more, is confirmed as we learn to touch the Earth, and then “listen” for Her to touch us.

Umumi pam taaviningwu – may the sun always shine upon you,


Upaava (your brother) Hohongwitutiwa