I thought of this story that Calvin Grinnell shared with me last summer. Factually true or not, its implications are relevant. Calvin told us a story of a Hispanic man was out working in the oil fields and had to make a call but the spotty reception let him up to the summit of a nearby butte (this is, an already spiritual place and the action may be an exercise of native spirituality). While he was up there, an elderly native woman approached him as if from nowhere and asked him, “When will they feed us?” Confused, the man finished his call and the woman was gone. When he relayed the vision to the others, the elders took this as a sign from the earth that so much was being taken from her without feeding her a sustaining diet. They subsequently when back to the butte and made an offering.
I am not an expert in Native spirituality, and I am not sure what to do with such stories and claims. But I am ok to let them live as guides for our lives and interactions with creation. Perhaps the groaning of the earth in North Dakota is because is skin is being pulled continually scraped off or stomach growls because she is hungry from all the oil pulled from the earth each day without thanks, without blessings, without care, without concern for her well-being.