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Our Grandmothers' Photo Album

Our Grandmothers' Photo Album
“You can adopt a highway, so why not adopt a grandmother?” jokes Grandma Agnes Baker Pilgrim, the chair of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. At age 87, Grandma Aggie is the oldest member of the Takelma Siletz Tribe in Oregon, and she’s just back home from a council meeting in Japan, hosted by Grandma Clara Shinobu Iura. After knee surgery, Aggie will head to Anchorage in May for a gathering hosted by Grandma Rita Pitka Blumenstein, and then she’ll be off to Brazilia in October for a gathering hosted by Grandma Maria Freire. And so the grandmas have been gathering — and growing in adoptees — since their first gathering in New York in 2004. The grandmothers are not rich jet-setters — quite the contrary. They are down-to-earth medicine women, shamans, and curanderos. They travel by donations. They work with prayer and ceremony, with plant medicines, and some with spirit-opening entheogens like ayahuasca, peyote, and mushrooms. They could tell horror stories of hunger and deprivation on reservations, of land and languages stolen, of children lost. Instead, they spre …

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