Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tribute to climate scientist Stephen Schneider


By Suzy Chaffee
Stanford's Dr. Stephen Schneider, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, (shared with his IPCC team), who publicly praised the Native American Elders for saving ski areas from snow droughts since 1963, passed on July 19.  This Climatologist skier also praised the ski areas for reaching out to share the joy of skiing and snowboarding with tribes in their beloved ancestral mountains, which inspired them to lead the snowdances.  
Dr. Stephen Schneider
The first known snowdance, which saved Vail,  was covered on the CBS Huntley-Brinkley Report.  Southern Ute Elder, Eddy Box Jr, whose father so graciously led it, and four generations, who are treated like family, have continued, said, "We wanted to create more harmony between our cultures and Nature." 
Snowdances are prayer ceremonies led by gifted Elders of many tribes.., often with singing and drumming that calls in the Spirits, and magnificent dancers in regalia at the base of the mountains, like Aspen’s Gondola Plaza.  The tribes sincerely thank Creator, Mother Earth and the Nature Spirits/Angels/Divas in advance for the gracious snow blessings.  I was surprised to find this is similar to how Essenes like Jesus prayed, also facing the "Sacred Four Directions." 
Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment was the first university known to exchange environmental wisdom with Indigenous Peoples - the Hawaiians and Maori of New Zealand.  As a Senior Fellow of the Institute, Dr. Schneider went on to create a partnership with many North American Elders through our Native American Olympic Team Foundation (NAOTF), a partnership of tribal Elders and leaders and Olympians.  

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