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Tonight the First International Convocation of U*U Women opened. There were greetings in many languages...
Margot Adler

Speakers today were amazing.

Rebecca Adamson of First Peoples Worldwide spoke about the matrilineal culture of her Cherokee heritage. Ruled by the white council, the council of women, in times of peace. The red council ruled in times of war. But the members of the red council get hand-picked by the white council. Because who knows better the leadership qualities of those men than the ones who raised them?

She showed maps of where indigenous peoples are gaining recognition, where their lands are. Indigenous lands comprise 24% of the Earth and they are where the biodiviersity is at its greatest. They are where the big phamaceutical companies are searching for the next wonder drug to come from plants. First Peoples Worldwide is helping peoples take charge of those native plants as their intellectual property, and resisting the drug companies' attempts to come in and steal what's theirs. But there are many indigenous peoples at risk of extinction. Extinction! Why isn't THIS on the nightly news??

The International Convo website has more and better photos, great videos and reports from the event. Please keep checking back at http://portal.icuuw.com. A DVD is being produced, but no word yet as to when it will be available.

Here are some more tidbits from my experience at the Convo:
Barbara BeachBarbara Beach of the ICUUW Advisory Committee announced many of the sessions and introduced speakers. Her wit was wonderful, and her sense of humor infectious.
Dr. Kalpana KannabiranDr. Kalpana Kannabiran of India, is Professor of Sociology at NALSAR University of Law. She spoke of inspiration from her mother, whom she has worked with in the struggle for women's rights. She sang a hymn to Sarasvati as an example of that inspiration.

Dr Misty SheehanThe UUA has been our stalwart supporter and our challenge as we bring women and religion concerns and goals into the Unitarian Universalist system of religion. With changes in the UUA that have recently occurred, UU Women and Religion (W/R) needs to look at what our role will be under the new affiliates' changes.

UU Women and Religion is not an official organization of the UUA, but falls under the category of being recognized as a part of the UU faith tradition. W/R is a free, associated group. Along with a large number of previously UUA affiliated groups, we are no longer given slots for workshops at General Assembly, and must pay more for booth space, crimping and cramping our previous style (in recent years) of having a strong General Assembly appearance.

Northern New England Women and Religion has announced the Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont UU Women’s Spring 2009 Retreat, will take place the weekend of May 29-31, at Rockraft Retreat Center in beautiful Sebago Lake, Maine. http://uuwomenandreligion.blogspot.com

St. Lawrence District: Jody Brown says: I am so excited to have been part of the ICUUW that I want to continue the process by holding a women's conference in the St. Lawrence District, my home district. I'm looking for people to help me plan it. My email address is: jfb523@gmail.com. Please help!

Joseph Priestley District W&R
has a great article called "Finding God/dess in Autism," A sermon delivered by Heather Gehron-Rice, M Div, at the UU Church of Delaware County. Their Fall Retreat dates have been announced! (See CALENDAR). www.jpdwr.org.


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