By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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In it, 13 indigenous grandmothers from the far reaches of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Arctic Circle meet to speak about healing — of people and the rest of nature.
These grandmothers, who formed the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, travel to, among other places, the Pojoaque Pueblo in New Mexico, the Brazilian Amazon, Dharamsala, India, and the mountaintop village of Huautla de Jimenez in Mexico.
They also convene a meeting in upstate New York, where Carole Hart, a woman with her own story of healing, comes to make a documentary about the 13 grandmothers.
The movie “For the Next 7 Generations” will have a public screening at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Elwha Heritage Center, 401 E. First St.
Admission is free to the 85-minute film, and a group of local residents, including grandmothers, invite all comers to a discussion afterward.
More information is available by phoning the center at 360-417-8545 or visiting www.Elwha.org.
Images, a trailer and much more await on the film's website, www.FortheNext7Generations.com, but perhaps most impressive is Hart's inspiration for making the film.
In 1994, Hart was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to her brain.
It was inoperable and terminal within a few months, oncologists told her, though she could have embarked on a highly toxic form of chemotherapy to perhaps keep her alive a little longer.
Then, as Hart explains, she met Jyoti, a woman who wanted to hire her to make a documentary about children and their dreams.
Jyoti was a spiritual teacher, and when she learned of Hart's illness, she asked if she could sponsor a Native American church meeting — a healing ceremony — for her.
Hart agreed to the 13-hour rite inside a teepee.
When she emerged, Hart said, she felt a deep shift in her body. Over the next five years, through many CAT scans, she learned that the cancer had left her.
Hart also learned of the International Council of 13 Grandmothers, to meet in 2004 at the Menla Mountain Retreat in New York.
The Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker wanted to document the gathering of women from the Lakota, Hopi-Havasupai, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Mayan, Yupik and indigenous Brazilian, Nepalese and Tibetan tribes.
“It's not traditional for native people to be filmed,” Hart said.
“But I felt like there was a really deep calling to help them to make a filmed record of this historical meeting.
“I told them where I was coming from,” filled with gratitude, wanting to give something back.
“They agreed. And thus, we have 'For the Next 7 Generations.'”
Dr. Penny Burdick, a Sequim physician, will be among the local women taking part in the discussion Saturday.
Moved by the film's message of healing for the Earth, she attended a gathering of the 13 grandmothers in Nepal last November.
“In keeping with the Grandmothers' urging,” Burdick said, “we would like to open up dialog between elder women of our local indigenous tribes and the non-native community.”
For her, the people in Hart's movie show the way.
“We, the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, represent a global alliance of prayer, education and healing for our Mother Earth, all her inhabitants, all the children and for the next seven generations to come,” the council's mission statement begins.
“We believe the teachings of our ancestors will light the way through an uncertain future,” the council's mission statement says.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.