Out of time # 4: ANGAANGAQ

AM: we come to the day of water, and another exceptional being you bring to honor.

Me: the shaman Angaangaq, from Greenland. A being who expresses his concern for the lack of care of human beings on mother Earth. And his continuous attempt to make us human beings more conscious.

AM: a great challenge ahead of him.

Me: a person with many emotions, a very spiritual shaman, and with whom I resonate a lot.

AM: let’s get to know him a little better. Let’s listen to his conversation

Angaangaq Agakkorsuaq, a Kalaallit elder from Northern Greenland told of how two young men from his tribe went hunting in January 1963. As part of the ceremony, they went to touch the wall of big ice to thank the Earth for the hunt. In those days the big ice was five kilometres thick. (Now it measures about three kilometres.) As one of the hunters looked up at the wall of ice, he noticed water dripping, something that had never been seen before. Upon their return, the people didn’t believe them at first. Nor did scientists take them seriously, as they thought it impossible that ice could melt at those arctic temperatures. It was only much later that it was understood how water could flow under the ice. ’Water is a living thing. She will always find a crack to go down. She doesn’t freeze below, that’s how she could flow out.’

A shaman and a story teller, as a young man, Angangaaq was told by his parents to become a runner, to share the wisdom of his elders with the world and to melt the ice in the hearts of the people. ‘I come from the oldest part of the world; a land where there has never been any war.’ In 1978 he went to New York to speak to the United Nations about climate change. ‘I told them, the big ice is melting.’ On his return, the elders asked him, ‘did the people at the United Nations listen to you?’ ‘Oh yes, it went down very well. They gave me a standing ovation.’

’But did they hear you?’

Angaangaq answered his own question. ‘No, they did not. The sun now comes up four days early in the North. That means that the Earth has begun to shift. I need to tell you that it’s too late. I depended upon you to hear the message. You did not change. Now, at the last minute you say we need to do something.’

He turned to face his audience and pressing his fingertips together, Angangaaq told us straight, ‘It is your fault. He turned and faced another section of the audience. ‘And it is your fault. I am a grandfather. I wanted to have a beautiful place to give my grandchildren. I cannot. It is my fault. Why did you not listen to the indigenous world who told you over and over and over?’

Angaangaq had started his talk lightly, making us laugh about how he had lost his luggage, joking about the state of his clothes, asking if we had ever been to London, telling us not to bother going. Now the hall was electric in its silence. ‘You didn’t look upon me as an equal because I come from far away, because I speak a different language. Did you think you are worth more? Do you think your education is better than mine? Let me tell you, mine is much better than yours. I know how to hunt. Did you know that animals can understand me when I talk to them? They decide amongst themselves which one it should be, so that my family can live. I step with gentle feet in honour of Mother Earth because that is what we are supposed to do, while you rape her, you cut the forest! What’s the matter with you? What went wrong? Why did you lose your ceremony and the ability to honour and respect others?’ Even as he was impassioned and pained, he spoke without rancour.

’This is the spiritual significance of climate change. You are each a spiritual being because you have a beautiful heart. How do we know this? Because when you smile you are stunningly beautiful! It’s not enough to know this though. We have to learn to live together. We have only one earth, one water, one fire, one air. That’s all we have. You are part of Mother Earth. Just because you are a white man, that does not make you separate. You have never been separate.’

And then Angaangaq picked up the Qilaut, the pair of sacred wind drums, and sang out his wordless prayer, evoking the vast empty tundra. He placed a drum either either side of his head and bent in turn to each person in the front row, enveloping their ears between the drums, creating a channel between them. As his calls resonated throughout the hall, strong and yet wavering at times, those sounds were the only response imaginable to what he had just said. 

 As he laid the Qilaut down, his shirt soaked with sweat, he told us, ‘I cry because of climate change. It hurts me that we came so far apart from each other.’ Then he smiled at us. ‘You owe me a cup of coffee.’ And so he ended his talk in an eruption of laughter and tears and applause, causing the audience to get to their feet.

Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq was one of the speakers at the conference for Climate Change and Consciousness being held at Findhorn in April 2019. Keynote speakers included Vandana Shiva, Charles Eisenstein and Jonathan Porritt. Indigenous leaders attended from communities all over the world, including the Arrernte and Anmatyerr nations in Australia, Maoris from New Zealand, the Arhuaco in Northern Colombia, the Kuntanawa tribe in the Brazilian Amazon and people from Zambia, Malawi, Senegal and Namibia.  

AM: honoring the good name of Angaangaq, I encourage everyone to watch the video of the day.

Finally, I encourage everyone to engage in conversation with their own I Am, to listen to what we each have to say to each other. No one else but us can re-signify our own being

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