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13 Globe-trotting indigenous grannies carry message of unity and prayer

Nicola Graydon

1st January, 2001

Grandmother Earth - Thirteen matriarchs from indigenous cultures are currently touring the world, promoting peace, unity and a respect for nature. nicola Graydon meets one of them, Mona Polacca

Mona Polacca was 14 years old when she first heard the Hopi prophesy, but she remembers it as though it were yesterday.

‘An elder came to our village and told us there were big changes coming,’ she recalls, ‘He told us that the things we relied on were being consumed at such a rate that we may be left with nothing. He taught us to know where our resources are: to know where our sacred water is; to know how to build our sacred fire; to know our herbs and medicines. It was all about survival on the most basic level.’

Mona remembers it so well because, as he was leaving, the elder predicted a big storm would hit her village by sundown.

‘And that’s what happened,’ she says. ‘It was an affirmation of his message that shook me to the core. It made me believe that what he was saying was real, not just talk.’

That, almost 50 years ago, was where Mona’s journey began. Blessed with the gift of nearperfect oral memory, her elders spent hours teaching her the old ways and prophecies word for word, trusting their information would be safe in her hands. ‘And that is pretty much the work I am doing today,’ she says.

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