THE GREAT CHIEF IN WASHINGTON sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of the Earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clear and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful Earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the Earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters, the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and the man, all belong to the same family.
This shining water that moves in streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father. If we sell you land, you must teach your children that it is sacred, and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events in the life of my people, and now yours.
The rivers are our brothers; they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember to teach your children that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness that you would give my brother. We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The Earth is not his brother but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father’s graves behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the Earth from his children, and he does not care. His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the Earth, and his brother, the same, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the Earth and leave behind only a desert.
I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect’s wings. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of a whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night. The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of the pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with the pine.
The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath — the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench. But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.
I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be made more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive. If we sell you our land, you must treat the beasts of this land as your brothers. What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the Earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know — the Earth does not belong to man — man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life — he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see. One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover — Our God is the same God. You may think now that you own God as you wish to own our land, but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for red man and the white. The Earth is precious to Him, and to harm the Earth is to heap contempt on its creator. The whites too shall pass, perhaps sooner than all other tribes.
But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are slaughtered, the wild horses tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the Eagle? Gone. The end of living and the beginning of survival.
Chief Si’ahl (Seattle)
We all have seen hungry caterpillars in the garden, making an unsightly mess of our shrubbery as they gorge. Gorging is a necessary evil for caterpillars, which grow more than 30,000 times their birth size in just a few weeks. Despite our annoyance at these ravenous creatures, who among us has not delighted at the glorious butterflies into which they are bound to morph?
But there’s more to the story. The story we want to tell begins after the satiated caterpillar has spun a silky cocoon around itself and set to work releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. Among its tissues are what scientists call imaginal disks or cells, which are so different from the caterpillar cells that its immune system thinks they are enemies and gobbles them up! These imaginal cells have been dormant up until now, but they are at rest no more, continuing to emerge and multiply so rapidly that the caterpillar’s immune system cannot destroy them fast enough.
One by one, these tiny imaginal cells expand, feeding from the liquified engorgement that this creature was, until they begin forming into friendly little groups, passing along information one to the other to the other. Finally, the groups begin clustering with other groups, ever multiplying and passing information one to the other to the other until they simultaneously understand that they are once again a complete being, a family of cells sharing the work of being and behaving in a new way in the world as a marvelous, magnificent butterfly.
Recycling for Newaygo County is one such group of imaginal cells on our home planet Earth, working to share information and expand on the work we are doing until we are one with all the other groups striving to the same ends, enhancing our environment and the beauty of our respective neighborhoods.
Fremont Center Drop-off Service
In addition to our regular business hours, we now have bins outside the center for drop-off service. People may drop off their paper, plastic, glass and tin recyclables at any time. During our regular business hours we can accept trash, deposit pop bottles, batteries, and cell phones in addition to the normal recyclables.
Fluorescent Light Bulbs: We now accept 2 and 4-foot long fluorescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) for $0.75/bulb at the Fremont Center during our regular business hours.
Year-round Electronics Recycling
We accept electronics at the Fremont Center. Items include TVs, VCR/DVDs, radios, copiers, microwaves, stereos, computer equipment, etc. Any device powered by a battery or cord can be recycled. We charge $0.30/pound to cover our costs of storage, transportation and processing. We continue to accept computer electronics, but we recommend recycling them at Goodwill stores where they are accepted at no charge.
We accept cell phones, working or not. There is no charge to recycle them.
We accept household batteries free of charge.
Freecycle™ Network is available on the internet at freecycle.org (don’t confuse it with freecycle.com, another site). Here local people can list items that they want to get or to give away for free. This is a worldwide network made up of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is run by a local volunteer moderator. Membership is free. You simply go to the site and sign up online. The group does have a couple of rules everything must be fee, legal, and appropriate for all ages, and there is no trading. The moderator keeps an eye on things to keep people accountable and aware of the rules.
Newaygo County has a group of freecyclers listed under Newaygo. It has 535 members. Freecycling is an interesting concept, especially in our consumer-based culture. You might find the site useful, or at least interesting.
Used Motor Oil
There are several places in the county that accept and recycle used motor oil at no cost. We have been compiling a list. In Fremont: Tire Wholesalers, Fremont Rapid Lube, Tractor Supply Co., Dave’s Auto Clinic, Miles Automotive. In Newaygo: Super Care Quick Lube & Car Wash.
Special Event Recycling Bins
We have purchased five Clear Stream™ special event recycling bins that we are loaning out for large group gatherings, festivals, wedding receptions, reunions, etc. The bin has a metal frame that holds a plastic garbage bag. The plastic-molded top has holes to drop in plastic bottles and aluminum cans. The bin is collapsible and easily transported. When used next to a normal refuse container, it gives people the choice to recycle their bottles and cans. People who check out the bins are responsible for getting the recyclables to our recycling center and for returning the bins. We provide the plastic bags. We have already used them at the Fremont Rotary Concert and at the National Baby Food Festival. Friends of Recycling members are welcome to check one or more out to use at a special event. Call 924-5822 to reserve one.
Recycled Plastic Bag Crafts
If you are crafty or have children looking for rainy day ideas, there are endless possibilities for fun projects with recycled materials. Plug milk jugs, newspapers, cereal boxes, and so on into your search engine alongside craft projects, and you will be offered a smorgasbord of endless fun for both play and practical purposes. Pinterest provides instruction on creative uses for plastic shopping bags, which no home is short on! Make flowers, rope, slippers, wreaths, beads, pom poms, floor mats… truly, the list is astounding. Enjoy!
What do #1 and #2 plastics mean? The numbers are codes for different types of resins. They are usually found printed on the bottom of a plastic bottle inside a recycling symbol. For example, #1 is PET or Polyethylene terephthalate, and is collected and sold separately from #2 HDPE, high density polyethylene.
Why don’t we have to sort recyclables anymore? We used to ask residents to sort their paper, plastics, etc. because we sold them to companies that only want one kind of material. This still applies, but instead of transporting them to our facility, final sorting, and bailing, we ship them directly to an authmated facility in Grand Rapids equipped to get the job done more economically. We do not have the manpower to sort all of the materials like some larger operations do, so we send it out.
Why don’t you accept all plastic? Kent County Recycling, who take our materials, only accept plastics that they can recycle, that is, sell to a company that uses the materials to make another product. Several of the numbered plastics (#3-7) have limited markets. And some plastics (not numbered) cannot be recycled.
What do you recycle? We recycle office paper, junk mail, magazines and catalogs, boxboard, cardboard, aluminum foil and cans, tin cans, clear and colored glass, plastic grocery bags, #1 clear plastic bottles, #2 colored plastic bottles, #2 milk jugs, plastic film, deposit pop cans, electronics, household batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and cell phones. The last 6 items (emphasis) are only recycled at The Recycling Center in Newaygo during public hours, noon to 5 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and noon to 7 pm Wednesdays.