In continuation of the Original Caretakers Program of the Center for Earth Ethics, ICEED carried out the Sacred Sites work of Mt. Etna in Sicily, Italy. As in the work carried out in the Four Corners in 2018 (Mt. Blanca, Colorado) and Japan in 2017 (Mt. Fuji, Fukushima), this work is being endorsed by UNESCO (U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) because it recognizes the work of Indigenous peoples to protect and preserve nature’s most biodiverse areas using their traditional wisdom and knowledge. This trip was co-sponsored by The Fountain.

Mount Etna was revealed as one of the four key geographic locations in the Sacred Sites vision. At 11,000 feet high, Mount Etna is one of the highest mountains in Italy south of the Alps. As one of the most active volcanoes in the world, Etna has had a number of major eruptions over the last 100 years. In ancient times, the volcano occupied a special place in Roman mythology, as the home of Vulcan, their God of Fire. The etymology of the word volcano derives from this deity.
The Original Caretakers team was led by Mindahi Bastida from the Center for Earth Ethics and Ken Kitatani from ICEED. To carry out this work, Mindahi Bastida and Ken Kitatani travelled twice to Mount Etna. A preliminary research trip was made to determine the exact location of the Sacred Sites at Mount Etna, and to prepare logistics, in 2018. A suitable site was chosen for the 2019 ceremony, and the preparations were laid.

After consultation, a small group of elders was selected to conduct the Ceremony. On June 12, 2019 Ken Kitatani accompanied Otomi and Kogi elders to the location in Sicily and successfully carried out the necessary prayers, rituals, and payments. The elders observed that this was the most significant ceremony to date. The elders who participated were three Otomi Toltec elders: Agustin Ranchero, Armando Robles and Mindahi Bastida; and two Kogi elders: Mamo Manuel and Hatte Roberto. Other specialists who accompanied the trip were Fabrizio Frascaroli, a scientist and Stephen Vasconcellos-Sharpe,

This ceremony and work at Mt. Etna concludes Phase One of the Sacred Sites Work. Preparations to continue with Phase Two of the Sacred Sites Program are being made now.