Hello Everyone. I had the great pleasure of sitting at the luncheon table with Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim and her daughter Nadine, when this May Grandmother Agnes received the Women Helping Women Award from Soroptimist’s International of Ashland. Our picture and story even made it onto the front page of The Ashland Daily Tidings! I am currently a Soroptimist, and I had nominated Grandmother Agnes several months ago for the award. Below is a copy of the nomination letter I wrote, and at the end of this letter is also a link to the article in the Ashland Daily Tidings. Many of Grandmother Agnes’s causes are the causes of List Alumni, I hope you enjoy reading about such a shining example of positive leadership in our time.
Nomination Letter for Grandmother Agnes
I would like to nominate Grandmother Agnes Baker-Pilgrim for Soroptimists International of Ashland’s Women Helping Women Award, for her powerful leadership role as a compassionate and yet highly influential woman, both internationally and locally.
Through her efforts, she has shone the light on women’s capacity to influence and lead throughout the world, leading on such important issues as women’s rights, environmental pollution, racial discrimination, the importance of water preservation, anti-bullying, and how to build positive relationships within the family and the community.
I first heard about Grandmother Agnes from Kathy Garrett Canape, last year’s SIA President. A number of years back, Kathy sent me an email about an upcoming event in Ashland, called a Grandmother’s Council. I immediately felt this was important, and Kathy did too. She was even helping to host the event, and to assist I sent out an email to my email list.
This was one of the first Grandmother’s Council gatherings. Many more have taken place throughout the world, and Grandmothers from many different countries have hosted and participated in these Councils.
In the highly acclaimed book, “Grandmothers Counsel the World,” by Carol Schaefer, many of these grandmother’s stories are shared. Grandmother Agnes is the first Grandmother to be written about, and she is considered to be the leader of the International Grandmother’s Council.
In Aboriginal cultures around the world, this Grandmother’s Council has been prophesized for centuries. One of the main purposes of this Council, so the prophesy states, is to right the imbalance between men and women, and to place women once again into a position of power and authority in the world.
Grandmother Agnes herself hosted a highly successful International Grandmothers Council in Lincoln City. I had the honor and pleasure of attending this Council, and one shining example of Grandmother Agnes’s leadership abilities stands out in my mind.
Part way through the conference, Grandmother Aggie brought up one of her beautiful young granddaughters. In her traditional dress, this young girl danced for everyone at the Council. Not only was I impressed with her inclusion at such an important and prestigious event, but I was really impressed by the way actions like this were so clearly building confidence and a strong and positive self-concept within this young girl.
When the applause ended, Grandmother Aggie shared with us how this young girl had travelled with the Grandmothers all the way to Rome, where they had gone to request an audience with the former Pope. I believe their goal was to the removal of a number of ancient Papal Bulls, which had condoned and led to the decimation of many aboriginal cultures around the world. Also, I believe their goal was to question the status of women within the church, and to talk with the Pope about improving this.
To quote Carol Schaefer’s book again, “In some Native American societies, tribal leaders consulted a council of grandmothers before making any decisions that would affect the whole community.”
But the Pope did not come out to meet them. Instead, the security came; and these brave grandmothers and this courageous young girl had to strongly stand their ground and reiterate their reasons for coming. When the Pope refused to meet them, this young girl said, “He’s not a very nice person.”
I understand that the Grandmothers are planning to travel to Rome again and approach the new Pope in Rome, later this year.
Recently Grandmother Agnes was published in an audiobook through Ashland’ own Blackstone Books, titled, “Grandma says: WAKE UP WORLD!”
The back cover reads the following way:
“Agnes Baker Pilgrim, the oldest member of the Takelma Tribe of Oregon, travels tirelessly around the world to keep traditions alive, to help those in need, and to be a voice for the voiceless…. Transcribed from an interview with one of the most important voices of the First Nation and of the world, Grandma Aggies’s stories and advice mesmerize and captivate while providing a blueprint for how inhabitants of the earth can live together in harmony and peace.
AGNES EMMA BAKER PILGRIM is a Native American spiritual elder from Grants Pass, Oregon. The oldest member of her tribe, the Takelma, she has been honored as a ‘Living Treasure” by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and as a “Living Cultural Legend: by the Oregon Council of the Arts.”
Soroptimists International of Ashland, let’s honour Grandmother Agnes too. We are so lucky to have this inspirational, strong and wonderful female role model, right here in our community.
As many of you know, I attended three of the many Grandmother’s Councils, and I wrote about my reasons for attending in the following post on this site: http://therealitydynamicslist.com/better-world/list-class-vancouver-international-womens-day-sedonas-grandmothers-council/