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Michael arrived at Millie’s place along with his colleagues. After introductions and tea was made, Millie began to share her insights in her native language, translated by Art Sam. Millie’s first comment to Art was,

“Why do they [Michael and his colleagues] come here to ask us about water, isn’t water important to them as well?”

Millie was puzzled, since human’s are made up of two-thirds water—we all need water, so why were they here. Nevertheless, she understood their purpose and began to talk to the group about water. Millie grew up with knowing and using her traditional teachings about respecting water. She was taught, by her grandparents and parents, to respect everything, which we do not teach our children today.

Throughout, Millie questioned the weather pattern. She was very concerned about the weather change around the world. Examples were too little snow: what’s going to happen? Thunder used to be in May, and now it thunders in December as well. Millie also talked about how artesian, or underground, water was so important to villages.

Logging in the watershed [Millie pointed behind Siska, to the Coast Range mountains, which tower above her house] has caused streams to disappear; when trees are removed, water disappears underground, or dries up. At this point, Millie said,

“My heart is sad, why do they do this to us?”

At that moment her body began to shake, and she fell back into her chair. She had suffered a massive stroke and she died four hours later in the Lytton hospital.

Her sons later told Michael that Millie’s deceased husband and son had visited her, in her dreams, several times, calling her to join them. On the night before October 2nd, they had both come to her all dressed up, and that was the first time they had visited in that form. She had said to them, “not now”; she had told them that her mission on earth was not complete until she met with Michael and his colleagues.

Since that interview, Michael’s research on water and sharing the message of the Elders turned from a curiosity to a mission, and led him to develop the Blue Ecology ecological philosophy.

Michael met Norm Dove 12 years later at Echo Valley Ranch, and the two connected over their shared passion for the natural world. Michael has been the artist in residence for Echo Valley Ranch since 2012. He connected Norm to the aboriginal way of thinking, which inspired him to join Michael and take action. Norm and Michael’s friendship led them to co-found the Blue Ecology Institute Foundation, inspired by the Blue Ecology Philosophy.

Click the button below to read wisdom from Millie and other Elders interviewed by Michael Blackstock.

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