Dear GCF Community,
We are proud to celebrate the past and present traditions and environmental leadership of Indigenous communities this Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 9th, 2023). Recognizing the impacts of colonialism and systemic racism on Native Americans, this national holiday reframes how we understand American history to commemorate Native American history and culture.
As we reflect on ways to uplift Indigenous communities and honor those who came before us – acknowledging that GCF Eco-Hubs exist on Canarsie, Wappinger, and Munsee Lenape lands (learn about the Native land where you are with this interactive map) – we appreciate Indigenous ways of respecting, learning from, and stewarding nature, our shared home Mother Earth.
We pay tribute to historical tribal communities and current members of the Lenape Nation, as well as Indigenous leaders such as Shina Novalinga, a contemporary Indigenous activist, on GCF “Each One, Teach One” farm bed signs at each Eco-Hub. This project, inspired by an African proverb that originated during the height of slavery to share knowledge, highlights past and present social justice leaders and community figures (see the original virtual gallery here).
GCF Eco-Hub “Each One, Teach One” sign featuring the Lenape Nation
Indigenous American agriculture practices such as the Three Sisters companion planting method of growing corn, beans, and squash close together in an arrangement that allows them to be mutually beneficial and enables a more abundant, nutritious harvest than when grown apart is also connected to Indigenous stories imparting lessons about balance, adaptability, cooperation, support, and sharing one’s gifts so everyone can thrive – a value echoed in GCF’s mission.
A GCF Astoria Houses Eco-Hub “Each One, Teach One” sign featuring Shina Novalinga, a contemporary Inuit Indigenous activist, at a farm bed utilizing a version of the ‘Three Sisters’ planting method.
The Three Sisters planting technique is modeled at GCF Eco-Hubs and is just one example of Indigenous wisdom tied to sustainability, and the parallels between ecological and social healing and communal prosperity. We can learn so much from Indigenous peoples’ deeply connected and reciprocal relationship to our environment – starting with framing our work as a partnership with both nature and our community members, something that is critical to our collective goal of building a more environmentally just and equitable society.
In service and solidarity,
The GCF team