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Author Katie Mettner

Idle no more! Stand up and be heard!

In Honor of “Indigenous People’s Day” – Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators eBook is on Sale for 99¢ through Monday October 13. 

What is Indigenous People's Day? 

American principalities, such as Seattle, Minneapolis and Berkeley, are setting the precedence to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. More and more communities are acknowledging the devastation inflicted on at least 118 million indigenous North Americans with some estimates being as high as 145 million people killed, since the fateful day when Christopher Columbus mistook America for India as he came to conquer in 1492. As a result, the Native American population dwindled to less than 200,000 by the turn of the century. In addition to catastrophic loss of life, there was a concentrated effort by the US and Canadian governments and religious groups to replace their native customs and cultures with “civilized” European ways. Despite these enormous setbacks, today’s indigenous people are the courageous leaders of numerous grassroots movements, such as Idle No More, which advocate for protection of the land and water.

In recognition of Indigenous People’s Day, the eBook Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators by Shaman Elizabeth Herrera is on sale for 99¢, October 10-13. This fictional story “reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!” says Dennis Nighthawk, healer, spiritual leader and tribe member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee.
Lonny Hall, tribe member of Kon Kow Valley Band of Maidu, said, “Earth Sentinels is gripping, takes the reader hostage, and educates on the cultural similarities and differences of spiritual leaders from all over the world.”

The author’s great-grandfather, Manuel Carinas Herrera, was a full-blooded Apache who raised her father. Shaman Elizabeth is fortunate to have memories of this brave man, who smuggled sugar and flour from Mexico into Texas, exchanged gunfire with Texas Rangers and crossed paths with Pancho Villa.

Shaman Elizabeth incorporates many of her own experiences into Earth Sentinels, which offers insights into current environmental concerns and historical indigenous injustices woven into an epic adventure.

The story begins with a fallen angel searching for people to join his quest to save the planet. He finds a big-hearted teenager, whose family’s organic farm was ruined by fracking, and a mysterious Native American who is the young man’s mentor. The fallen angel also discovers a mystical healer living near the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima; the spirit of a farmer in India who commits suicide after his GMO crops fail; an Amazonian shaman and his beautiful daughter who are fighting against intruders illegally tearing down their rainforest; and a Canadian Indian tribe dealing with an unstoppable oil spill ruining their traditional hunting grounds.

The characters are beckoned to the spirit realm where they meet the enigmatic fallen angel, and form an alliance with shamans, totem animals and earth’s creatures. Together, they use supernatural powers to grab the world’s attention, demanding that the world’s leaders implement their changes...or else. But as the events unfold and governments retaliate, the characters are forced to question their motives, fight for their lives and listen to their hearts.

Laine Cunningham, award-winning author, stated, “This is one of those books that's going to stand alongside classics. Drawing from Native American wisdom and the beliefs of a world filled with respect for nature and its spiritual elements, Herrera has created a global book of wisdom for a global world.”

What do the indigenous people have to say about the earth and what we are doing to it?

Robert Mann is the Executive Director of Heritage Preservation of the Ho-Chunk Nation. His department of the Tribal government works to research, archive, protect and conserve Tribal historical and cultural information. The Ho-Chunk come from indigenous people called the Hochungra, or “people of the big voice” and a sacred language. And their language has passed their history and culture down from one generation to the next.
“Growing up, I was told by my elders that we had to take care of this land,” said Mann. “It is our belief that the Great Spirit created the Earth and has provided all of the land and water for us. We’re blessed, but it’s our responsibility to teach our children to choose the right path and stay in harmony with nature.”
The Ho-Chunk’s history is one of generations of people gaining and losing ground. Originally from the area near Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Ho-Chunk lived throughout central and western Wisconsin and across the Midwest. Migration of generations of Tribal members was a result of pressure from other Tribes as well as the encroachment of white settlers’ land acquisitions like the Louisiana Purchase and years of fraudulent treaties and removal schemes. It wasn’t until the 1960s when the Evangelical Reformed Church (United Church of Christ) donated property in Black River Falls to the Nation, where their headquarters and government is based.
“Almost all of Wisconsin is our ancestral land,” explains Mann, “although our Nation extends into Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. But this is where we are from, where our ancestors lived and where we live now.”
Unlike other tribes who had established treaty agreements with the United States government to have ceded territory and undivided reservation land, the Ho-Chunk’s lands and people are widely dispersed. But their headquarters in Black River Falls is near some of Wisconsin’s largest deposits of silica sand and when mining companies dig for frac sand, they are removing some of the Ho-Chunk’s legacy.
“In our culture, we call the land our Grandmother,” says Mann. “Sometimes what we call progress abuses her. But in the end, the Earth does not belong to Man: Man belongs to the Earth. And it’s our responsibility to take care of her, to be caretakers of this land. “This land is very important to all of us, not just to Tribal members but to everyone in Wisconsin,” says Mann. “We need to care for our land because what we do today will determine our destiny.”
Read more about Robert Mann and the Ho-Chunk Indigenous tribe's view of frac sand mining on Midwest Environmental Advocates page.

Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators

Zachary was driving to the Tipsy Buffalo Pub in his parents’ pickup truck. He was nervous because he had snuck away under the pretense of hanging out with friends, but instead planned to meet a stranger who had the power to appear in visions.

Thanks to Google, Zachary had spent the day learning about Native American spirituality. He wanted to appear somewhat intelligent when he met the man. However, he had no delusions that the crash course was a substitute for centuries of practice and cultural traditions handed down from generation to generation.

He slowed the truck as he entered the city limits. “Turn right onto Meadow Street,” the navigation system on his phone instructed. Zachary followed the directions wondering why he was entering a residential neighborhood.

“Turn left onto Industrial Drive.” The street came to a “T” at the railroad tracks where he turned left. The houses became sparse as the area gave way to a lumberyard, factories and manufacturing plants. The Tipsy Buffalo Pub was discretely tucked away between two commercial buildings. “You have reached your destination.”

Zachary swallowed hard looking at the shabby building surrounded by trucks and motorcycles. After parking, he walked hesitantly toward the entrance trying to decide if he had the guts to enter. A sign over the doorway said, “If you don’t know if you belong here, you don’t.” He disregarded it, as well as the faded, plastic sign nailed to the door that stated, “You must be 21 to enter,” and went inside.

He waited for his eyes to adjust to the dark, smoky room. He tried to appear confident, which was difficult with a half dozen, tough-looking men glaring at him. Zachary recognized the man from his vision sitting at the bar, drinking a beer. The man turned toward him, tipping his black hat. Zachary took a seat next to him.

“What’ll you have, partner?” the man asked.

“A Coke,” Zachary answered, trying to ignore the snickers from the other men.

The bartender poured the soft drink while the man introduced himself, “Name’s Billy White Smoke.” He held out his hand. Zachary shook it, saying, “I’m Zachary Thompson. Nice to meet you.”

Billy began the conversation. “It seems the world’s gone crazy. Never been a sane place, but now they’re not content to just kill people, now they’re killing everything in sight…the trees, water, air. Jesus help us. It’s gotta end.”

“Jesus?” asked Zachary, “I thought you guys believed in the Great Spirit.”

Billy smiled, causing the dangerous look on his face to disappear. “Been reading have ’ya?” Zachary blushed. “Don’t be embarrassed. I’m glad you took the time. Jesus, the buffalo, the trees, our ancestors…all are teachers. Wisdom is wisdom.”

My Review: Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators is not the kind of book I would normally read. However, the premise of the story drew me in because of my own real life experience with fracing in Wisconsin. I recently lost my home to the big oil companies and sand fracing companies who don't care about the earth, clean drinking water or the people in the communities they destroy.

The book begins with several different points of view from all over the world of native tribes, shamans from countries who have experienced natural disasters and tribes from the rainforests. The author did an amazing job of keeping the many different points of view clear and concise and you never felt confused. She made you feel invested in each character before she moved you on to the next and when they all came together into the Earth Sentinels you knew exactly who everyone was and what their reasons and mission were.

The Earth Sentinels used the spirit world and their totem animals to help create storms to bring attention to the damage that these large oil companies, and various governments, were doing to our earth. They didn't demand power, or money, they only demanded that the heads of government wake up and begin to see the damage taking place to the place we live.

The governments of course saw these storms as attacks and decided to retaliate with a war against the native tribes. I won't give spoilers, but the ending was fantastic!

This book raised a lot of questions in my mind as I was reading. Can we condone the acts of few to benefit many when their intentions are good and pure? Can we save our earth and make it a better place for our children and grandchildren? Are our hands tied by the big companies who have all the money and we are therefore left to our own devices in order to continue to live the dream of farming, organic farming and the like? Will we ever be able to recover our earth from the nightmare that is fracing or will our children and grandchildren have nothing but polluted lakes and unsafe drinking water because of what our governments are allowing to happen today?

I can answer a few of these questions from my own personal experience. Secretly, I wish there were Earth Sentinels to help us save our planet and show the powers that be what they are doing to our environment. Since there aren't, it is clear we need to work on these issues ourselves because if enough people raise their voices to the sky eventually we will be heard.

Author Shaman Elizabeth Herrera, is a shamanic healer, poet, activist and author who writes life-changing books. Her stories encourage people to stretch outside their comfort zones and reexamine their own beliefs. 
She is also the author of Shaman Stone Soup, and Dreams of Dying.
Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators, visionary fiction, 272 pages ISBN-13: 978-0692225318

-Media Contacts: 
Shaman Elizabeth Herrera  
Raleigh, NC

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