My life changed when I became an abuela, a grandmother, thirteen years ago. Becoming an abuela changed my perspective on life, on the future, and the meaning of my life. Author and teacher Carlos Aceves says that sometimes it's difficult to understand the indigenous concept of seven generations. What we do affects our people for seven generations. That seems like a long, long time. Instead, el maestro says we can think of ourselves as existing in the middle of the seven generations. Can you imagine your great grandparents? Yes. Can you imagine your children's grandchildren? Yes. There they are-- the seven generations.
When I became a grandmother, I could feel and see the generations coming after my own generations. Suddenly, the future....the long future... was palpable. I understood in a way that I never had before how we are all responsible for the world we leave... our thanks to the generations before us and our legacy to the generations after us.
In our communities are grandmothers, those who have borne children and those who have not, who work to leave a better world for the generations that follow us. Who vow to fight for justice until the end. Who teach us traditions they have worked decades to protect. Who show us how to live well in the middle of the seven generations.
I am blessed to be here on la frontera where abuelas are respected. Looked after. Loved. Listened to.
May we all learn to take our place within the seven generations
Antonia Morales, 88 years old, who works to protect her barrio in El Paso, Texas where she has lived for over fifty years. She is known as the abuela of her community.
Bea Ilhuicatlahuili Villegas, traditional Mexica abuela, who has spent decades traveling to Mexico to learn from traditional ceremonial teachers so that she could pass on the teachings.
.Filomena Cedillo Parra, Coajumulco, Morelos, midwife, keeper of traditional knowledge. Her family has fought against illegal logging in her beloved mountains.
Diana Bynum was active in Native American politics in the 1960s and '70s. She has worked with youth for her entire life and has spent the past five years homeschooling her grandson who has autism.