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Agnes Pilgrim believes she is the oldest living member of the Takelma tribe that lived for centuries along the Rogue River.
She is an advocate for clean water on our planet, and as one of the International Council of 13 Grandmothers, she has a vast platform for her message.
The 13 Grandmothers come from indigenous cultures in Alaska, North, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. The Grandmothers Council was brought together by a common vision of “prayer, education and healing for Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, and all the children for the next seven generations to come.”
The 13 Grandmothers travel the world and their stated goal is to “uphold the teachings of their ancestors to light our way to an uncertain future.” They have had audiences with the Pope, the Dalai Lama and President Barak Obama, among many others.
“He’s a nice guy,” Pilgrim says of President Obama. “He’s easy to talk to.”
When Pilgrim travels, she collects samples of water. She keeps that water in her refrigerator. She prays over the water and blesses the water.
“I’m always blessing the waters; even when I’m riding in the airplane I look down and I see all the water, I thank the water. When I’m riding in my car, I thank the water when I go over the bridge.”
Pilgrim has blessed the Rogue River and many of its tributaries. She feels when the Rogue empties into the Pacific Ocean, it carries her blessing and her message to all the waters of the world.
“All of us humans are water babies. We’re all born in water, in the amniotic sac of our beginning life,” says Pilgrim. “No matter where you are, take care of the rivers and streams, because it has life and it lets people drink from the banks. So let’s take care of our water because, water babies, that’s your job.
To learn more about the Takelma tribe’s life on the Rogue River, tune in to “River of the Rogues,” a new Oregon Field Guide special airing Thursday, February 7 at 8:30 p.m. on OPB TV.