OUR WILD SETTING

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Dear Bioregionalists,
A message for you from the site of CBC-11. Please read, enjoy, listen, ponder, pass it on………



An enticement from the site

of the 11th Continental Bioregional Congress,

to all new and returning
Congress attendees,

from Chant, your coordinador del sitio


In August, as you ride with friends in multi-passenger vehicles, on your way to CBC-11, you’ll notice the end of pavement by the suddenly  somewhat bumpy ride, enough to wake you up if you were snoozing! Your vehicle slows down, your senses awaken, and you enter the canyon of the  Little Applegate River (it’s quite a little river).

Looking down as the wide dirt road climbs the slope, you see the last little flats of valley bottom-land pinch-out just before entering the canyon. Your road narrows, stays high on the slope, twisting around every ridge and into every side canyon on its winding way upriver. After passing a trailhead for wilderness trails (gargantuan signs courtesy of the Stimulus Package), the road drops steeply and narrows even more, then it finally flattens out along the river, passing another trailhead. One last climb up from the river, through a narrow stretch of canyon with old-growth forest clinging to the mountain, passing the 10-mile post you know you’re already on the site. Coming around the bend you see our funky old pioneer buildings and lots of people to greet you. Welcome to the wilderness; home at last!


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Birch Creek – you will be here…

Looking forward, our dear friend Agnes Baker Pilgrim (Taowhywee),
matriarch of the Takelma and spiritual leader of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz,
will be staying in our home during the Congress,
and will offer prayers at the opening circles on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
Grandmother Agnes, Keeper of the Sacred Salmon Ceremony for her people,
serves as chair and the oldest member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.
A world-renowned spiritual leader,
Grandmother Agnes brings a sacred dignity and warm humor
wherever she travels in service to the Great Spirit and Mother Earth.


You can read  about Agnes and the other Grandmothers in Grandmothers Counsel the World:

Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet by Carol Schaefer.


Looks like the Biocouncil has brought the CBC into the wilderness for this  Eleventh. This will be your opportunity to experience Congress in a wild setting where the benefits of ecopsychology manifest. Birch Creek’s tight little canyon offers an intimate vessel for holding the Congress; Gaian topography that fosters connection among us and a feeling of  being  totally embedded in the wild. I’ve attached a photo of what Birch  Creek  canyon looks like now, with snow covering the higher country  while the  first plum blossoms have finally emerged.

It’s been a special joy to work with your Biocouncil on CBC-11. We met Richard first on the initial site visit last year, and he’s been working hard as the primary liaison with our site crew. Maria has been networking among her colleagues en el Sur. Blake has guided the construction of the on-line registration page. Coco continues to create artistic outreach materials and takes thorough notes of our innumerable conference call meetings. Mary applies her steady hand creating agendas and facilitation. Juan Tomas tested the train connections through Klamath Falls on his way here for 4 days of intensive work parties readying campsites. We’ve enjoyed meeting and working with them all and eagerly look forward to their arrival in August for final preparations.

Juan Tomas has also provided us with a set of proceedings for the first 9 Congress. August here rarely includes rain, which has been a feature of  most Congress past. Other than a passing thunderstorm, it just doesn’t rain here then. Our typical August weather features hot sunny days (80’s-90’s unless a heat wave rolls through) with very low humidity and cool nights with dawn temps in the 40’s-50’s.

We’d like to introduce ourselves so you know where you’re coming and who we are. We are Chant and Bahaar, the long-time stewards of Trillium Farm Community, an intentional community begun in 1976 when a dozen wannabe homesteaders purchased an old trout farm in the middle of nowhere. Bahaar and I formed our non-profit Birch Creek Arts and Ecology Center to create educational and cultural programs. Our mission is to:  Connect  people to Place, Nature, Spirit, and to each other through  creative  expression in the Fine and Healing Arts, and through the study  of  Ecology and Natural History.

Our Land and community has been involved in bioregionalism and environmental activism since the 1970’s, providing a connection to the  history of both these connected movements. In 1976 I created a bioregional communication center for intentional communities in the  Ashland Food Coop, a bioregional vortex for organic food. This block of  mailboxes became the regular node for communication among these communities to share news, announcements, and to stay connected in this dense tangle of mountainous.

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I organized the first bioregional event in our modern era, a Bioregional Forestry Conference in downtown Jacksonville one day in the spring of 1984. The group decided to hold these gatherings quarterly in each season, a vision that grew quickly beyond just forest issues, morphing into annual multi-day Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregional Conferences, held at Southern Oregon University in Ashland in 1985 and 86, and at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA in 1987. At the 1986 K-SBC, we were treated to a bioregional panel with Peter Berg, Ernest Callenbach (author of Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging, novels about the greater Shasta, Cascadia, and K-S bioregions seceding from the US to become that new nation), and David Rains Wallace (author of The Klamath Knot, a journey into the natural history and mythology of our bioregion)


Those conferences ended with the one in 1987, which lost too much money to keep them going. Hats off in thanks and gratitude to the Kansas (& other) bioregionalists who revived the CBC with #8 (NABC, TIBC) in 2002 after a 6-year hiatus. Our hope is that the bioregional movement will similarly be re-energized here in the Klamath-Siskiyou thanks to CBC-11, which we all hope will be the best one yet!


Permit me to go so far as to claim that the Bioregional Movement originated right here in the Klamath-Siskiyou in 1852 with the first of several attempts by this bioregion to gain statehood separate from California and Oregon based on the obvious bioregional differences. While subsequent early attempts followed the legislative approach under several different names (State of Shasta 1852 and 1878, State of Klamath 1853, Jackson Territory 1854, State of Siskiyou 1910), the most recent was an actual insurrection to create the State of Jefferson in  December 1941, a secession from Oregon and California. Unfortunately the Pearl Harbor attack occurred the day after secession and the revolution was halted, but not forgotten, as the US prepared for war.



When you come to CBC-11 you may notice that the State of Jefferson is still quite alive in these parts. A quick look in the phone book reveals nearly 2 dozen diverse businesses called Jefferson State (Pumping, Mortgage, Behavioral Health, Electric, etc), and that’s just on the Oregon side; there’s many more in N.W. California. If you’re a fan of National Public Radio, you’ll tune in while here to find that our bioregional affiliate is Jefferson Public Radio, which serves the largest geographical area and the smallest population in the NPR system, no small feat here in this most mountainous bioregion, requiring  dozens of mountain-top translators and repeaters to wedge the radio signals between all the mountains to penetrate the canyons and little  isolated  valleys where people live.


Over the years, many new-comers to the bioregion have asked me what’s the deal with Jefferson around here, seeing that it’s pretty far away from Monticello. Then I have to tell them the story of our bioregional secessionist history. If you want to read some of that story, I’ve attached an article I wrote for Siskiyou Country: A Bioregional Journal of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains in issue # 13 Aug/Sept 1984. Coincidentally, in that same issue appears a report from the first NABC written by one of our 2 bioregional delegates to that one, Julie Norman (the other delegate was Bobcat). Here’s what Julie had to report:


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Report From First North American Bioregional Congress

Over 200 bioregional organizers met outside Kansas City from May 21-26, 1984. There were representatives from bioregions all across the U.S. and several foreign countries. Hosted by the Ozark Area Community Congress and New Life Farm team, we were treated to a week of intense activity, massive information exchange, and wonderful face-to-face connections.

Based on consensual agreement from the entire body, the group decided to break up into the following committees: forestry, appropriate economics, water, education, agriculture, green politics, media/communications, community empowerment, arts/culture, environmental defense, native peoples, and the bioregional movement.

Each day the committees met to develop written resolutions to represent the emerging “voice” of the bioregional movement. Members met day and night, struggling with the words to best describe the many aspects of “green thinking”. Taken as a whole, these resolutions are a powerful educational tool we can use here at home as we “spread the word”.

And somewhere in between committee meetings and plenary sessions, over 60 workshops were presented by participants, issue-oriented networks were expanded and strengthened, and neighbors from the Northwest had a chance to make plans for cooperative efforts back home.

For more info, contact Bobcat or Julie Norman, c/o The Siskiyou Regional Education Project, P.O. Box 989, Cave Junction, OR 97523
.


That same year, 1984, saw some of our bioregional activism on the environmental front go national. Locally our Applegate Occupation Team  had been occupying clearcut areas of federal forests with protesters to prevent aerial spraying of herbicides to kill the brush that had grown thick after the forests were cut. Such actions of civil disobedience were among the first in the country. While the AOT kept the feds busy in the woods, SONCAP (Southern Oregon chapter of Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides) worked through the court system all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in our favor and halted all aerial chemical spraying on federal land in all U.S. states, territories, and other jurisdictions. Can you picture our present Supreme Court making such a ruling (for the environment and not corporations)?!?


Backing up a year to 1983, we hosted the first non-violent direct-action training workshops for Earth First!, which had begun its initial major campaign to help local activists stop the Bald Mountain Road in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, located between here and the coast. The first tree sitters learned how to climb trees, build platforms, get arrested, and make the most of the publicity.



Backing up a bit further to 1979, our very small watershed group (TELAV:   Threatened and Endangered Little Applegate Valley) successfully stopped  the state from building a dam on our little river, and became the first   conservation organization to stop both BLM and US Forest Service timber  sales. You can read about that in Richard Bach’s best-seller, The Bridge Across Forever. You can also read more about how our intentional community has embraced   environmental activism in my article “Environmental Activism: Securing  Your Community’s Quality of Life into the Future” in Communities Magazine, #143, Summer 2009: http://communities.ic.org/articles/185/


Looking forward, our dear friend Agnes Baker Pilgrim (Taowhywee), matriarch of the Takelma and spiritual leader of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, will be staying in our home during the Congress, and will offer prayers at the opening circles on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Grandmother Agnes, Keeper of the Sacred Salmon Ceremony for her people, serves as chair and the oldest member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. A world-renowned spiritual leader, Grandmother Agnes brings a sacred dignity and warm humor wherever she travels in service to the Great Spirit and Mother Earth. You can read about Agnes and the other Grandmothers in Grandmothers Counsel the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet by Carol Schaefer.

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I’m pleased to announce that Orion Magazine is a CBC-11 sponsor and is publicizing the Congress via their social networking and other venues. As a member of Orion’s Grassroots Network, we hosted Orion’s Forgotten Language Tour here on our Land in October 1998, a bioregional gathering of authors, writers, poets, literary students, and specialists in natural history. The writers and poets collaborated on a wonderful book Intricate Homeland: Collected Writings from the Klamath-Siskiyou, which includes work of authors some of you may know: Robert Michael Pyle and H. Emerson Blake of Orion, Seth Zuckerman (howdy Seth if you’re reading this!), Jerry Martien (one of the “Northern California poets” mentioned by one of you earlier on  this list-serve), Linda Hussa (cowboy poet), and yours truly. We’re  encouraging all the Intricate Homeland writers to attend CBC-11.


Well, enough beating our drum! The last reason why we want to entice new and veteran bioregionalists to the Klamath-Siskiyou, is also the most personal reason. While some of you are attending for the first time, or you may have only attended one Congress past, many of you veterans have participated in a few, many, or maybe even all ten!

This CBC-11 is an opportune moment for you, the cultural creatives, the wise women and men of our time, to gather ourselves (and cells!) to help usher in this time of great change. These drastic times require us as bioregionally rooted to gather once again in Congress. As long distance travel yet becomes more difficult and expensive, these opportunities come as beacons to illuminate the bioregional road ahead. CBC-11 promises to be a great reunion of veteran and aspiring, and an opportunity to welcome the next and 7th generation of bioregionalists. Come, make new alliances, rekindle old friendships in the company of new friends, remembering together a new way forward. We sincerely hope you can join us!


Mary McCaslin, a singer, songwriter, and musician of the traditional
country/folk genre from our bioregion (CA north coast)
expresses our closing sentiments most sweetly.
Her lyrics appear below.

Bioregionally yours,
Chant, Bahaar, and Site Crew, your hosts at Birch Creek

P.S. Take advantage of the early bird discount registration rates in effect through Earth Day, April 22. It’s a great way to celebrate your connection to Mother Gaia and save a few bucks while you’re celebrating!


Old Friends, by Mary McCaslin

I saw an old friend the other day
In San Francisco by the bay.
It took me back to only yesterday,
The years, somehow, that slip away.

We laughed and talked about the days gone by,
Brushed a tear away with a sigh.
We promised not to let it be this long
Like the old refrain from an old, old song.

Remember old friends we’ve made along the way.
The gifts they’ve given stay with us every day.

Lookin’ back, it makes me wonder
Where we’re going, how long we’ll stay.
I know the road brings rain and thunder,
But for the journey, what will we pay.

I often think the times get crazier
As this old world goes round and round.
But just the memory makes it easier
As the highway goes up and down.

Remember old friends we’ve made along the way.
The gifts they’ve given stay with us every day.

Lately word’s been coming back to me
There’s a few I will no longer see.
Their faces will be seen no more along the road,
There’ll be a few less hands to hold.

But for the ones whose journey’s ended
Though they started so much the same,
In the hearts of those befriended
Burns a candle with a silver flame.

Remember old friends we’ve made along the way.
The gifts they’ve given stay with us every day.
Remember old friends we’ve made along the way.
The gifts they’ve given stay with us every day.

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