Curator: Ernestine Cody, Cambridge, Ma
Webmaster: Maria Piacente, University of Toronto,

The People Are My Teachers

When I curated the exhibition, "Ndee: The Children of Changing Woman", I was very much lead by a spirit I came to communicate with through prayer. There were times when people with whom I worked saw the emotions that were evoked in me, for a people I loved so dearly. These are very sacred things to have an opportunity to experience. They are also very special, so special that I do not want to live without them. I have continued to study, ponder, and pray so that I can retain this special communication with a people who care for me. They are willing to impart to the world the knowledge of things that are truly important to us in this day and age.

I hope that the message I want to share, opens peoples' eyes to the beauty of this world and all of creation, especially Uson--Mother Earth. She is the mother of all things we depend upon for our survival. We need to learn or relearn to respect her. We need to praise her for her output, her every effort to put upon this earth the things needed for all living beings, plants, and animals. My people, the Ndee (Apache), always believed in Uson, our Creator. Everything that the Ndee did, they prayed to her first. In this era of our living, she is not healthy. She has been contaminated by human beings for too long. We must work together to let her know that we have heard her cries. The plant and animal kingdoms listen to her every warning and so should we. We have the power to communicate with all living things if we could just become in tune--become in balance.

Every group in this world has had to deal with good and evil. The Apachean people are no exception, the difference being that they take responsibility for their actions and must answer to the tribe. Such actions are dealt with by a law we all support and understand. If our leaders did wrong and did not work for the good of the Ndee in harmony with all things, then they lost our trust. It is only through trust that you can lead a people to respect and honor your word. That is law.

I feel blessed to have been given the gift to know and understand this, however, I know that I am not the only special person in the world with this knowledge. I now have the courage to come and represent to you, a people with whom I have been given permission to be in close association. My gifts to you are many and I urge you to discover this gift that has been given to all human beings. It is by a long and hard struggle that I have found this gift myself.

I share these stories of Ndee with the world, so that all people may have the opportunity to understand one another and be at peace, despite the struggles they have to face. We all have many burdens to bear, however, we have the power and ability to enjoy and celebrate life. You are called upon to come and be the a part of this beautiful creation; become the beautiful child you have a desire to be; and become whole and one with all things. As you do this, you will become balanced and the u ltimate joy you deserve will be yours.

--Ernestine Cody

photo: Ernestine Cody is a Western Apachean woman and curator of the Changing Woman Exhibit