Music Review: Grandma Says: Wake Up, World!
Grandma Says: Wake Up, World!
Agnes Baker Pilgrim
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
As the oldest living member of the Native American tribe known as the Takelma, Agnes Baker Pilgrim has been named a “Living Cultural Legend” by the Oregon Council of the Arts and a “Living Treasure” by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz. On her MP3 CD audiobook Wake Up, World!, she shares the wisdom she has accumulated over the course of her 91 years on the planet. As well as telling stories from the days when various establishments in Lincoln County, Oregon, bore signs proclaiming that “Indians and dogs” were not allowed, “Grandma Aggie,” aka Taowhywee (Morning Star), offers her perspectives on subjects like child rearing, drug and alcohol abuse, racial prejudice, ecology, and the use of plant medicines—including ayahuasca and peyote, which she discusses as casually as if she were talking about dandelion tea.
Although she makes numerous references to the “Creator” and to the “Star Nation,” where she believes she will go after physical death, Aggie stresses, “I’m not talkin’ church or Christianity; I’m talkin’ about the freedom of each and every one of us to reach out to our Creator. There’s only one beloved Creator, but there’s many paths.” Pilgrim keeps her spiritual discourses light and often humorous: “It’s amazing how Creator bosses me around. Sometimes I have to argue with Him, but I still do it. So He’s got a cauliflower ear, ’cause I’m always badgerin’ Him about stuff”; and “My sky pilot works for me and is with me all the time, so if yours don’t work, you can borrow mine.”
Throughout the 25 stream-of-consciousness discourses in Wake Up, World!, Pilgrim imparts her messages with humility, kindness, and a touch of playfulness, coming off as every bit the friendly, familial figure that her nickname suggests.