Fifty million indigenous people live in the world’s remaining forests and 370 million Indigenous people live in various different threatened wildernesses and ecological biomes across the world. We need to take into consideration, their defence treaties for the last natural wildernesses that they occupy on the Earth. I have found that working with indigenous people involves dealing with many of the front line issues that the larger established charities, governments and academic institutes have forgotten or know little about.
The other great factor is that because many indigenous communities live solely off of the land, many live in isolated regions that are difficult to access therefore they are not money motivated in the way Westerners are and this also goes in their favour to be the world’s best and most trusted conservationists, their lives depend on the preservation and conservation of their ancestral land, not on money. Their connection with their environment is not just dependent on daily living, it is part of their spiritual ancestry, their spiritual ecology. This is what we have forgotten in Western civilization.
Therefore they are the best conservationists to manage and conserve the forests and last great wildernesses as their immediate survival depends on the land and they are attuned to the environment around them, because of this, they are also the most vulnerable when it comes to ecocide, their cultures and survival is ultimately threatened. There are indigenous conservation treaty recommendations supported by many Indian and Alaska Native organisations. A recent convention set up by the Indigenous peoples of all the Americas allowed them to form sixteen principles for building a sustainable and harmonious world community.
This emerged from a 40-year-long process of reflection, consultation and action within Indigenous communities across the Americas. These principles are rooted in the concerns of hundreds of Indigenous Elders, Spiritual Leaders and Community Members, they are also rooted in deep ecology values, they recognise the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and how we affect one another and the Earth with our actions, they recognise how humans must work on internal balance to create external balance and a sustainable world, they recognise the importance of morals, and ethics in communities. These guiding principles constitute the foundation for the process of healing and developing ourselves (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually), our human relationships (personal, social, political, economic, and cultural) and our relationship with Mother Earth.
The senseless annihilation of the Earth’s last Rainforest which is part of preventing a vital equilibrium for the climate, has to stop along with the global unfolding ecocide of other ancient wildernesses where our great indigenous people remain.
All this destruction is for a non-renewable fuel valued over human life and all life on planet Earth. How many of us have to suffer and to what limit of destruction will this planet be pushed to, before we realise human consciousness is now an ecological issue?
by Carlita Shaw, author of The Silent Ecocide-the environmental crisis is a crisis of human consciousness Painting for this article is called ''Ecocide'' by Carlita Shaw, its 31 inches by 23, Acrylic on canvas
We offer these Guiding Principles as a gift to all who seek to build a sustainable and harmonious Global community.
We speak as one, guided by the sacred teachings and spiritual traditions of the Four Directions that uplift, guide, protect, warn, inspire and challenge the entire human family to live in ways that sustain and enhance human life and the lives of all who dwell on Mother Earth, and hereby dedicate our lives and energies to healing and developing ourselves, the web of relationships that make our world, and the way we live with Mother Earth.
THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Starting from within, working in a circle, in a sacred manner, we heal ourselves, our relationships and our world.
STARTING FROM WITHIN
Human Beings Can Transform Their Worlds
The web of our relationships with others and the natural world, which has given rise to the problems we face as a human family, can be changed.
Development Comes From Within
The process of human and community development unfolds from within each person, relationship, family organization, community or nation.
No Vision, No Development
A vision of who we can become and what a sustainable world would be like, works as a powerful magnet, drawing us to our potential.
Healing Is A Necessary Part Of Development
Healing the past, closing up old wounds and learning healthy habits of thought and action to replace dysfunctional thinking and disruptive patterns of human relations is a necessary part of the process of sustainable development.
WORKING IN A CIRCLE
Everything is connected to everything else; therefore, any aspect of our healing and development is related to all the others (personal, social, cultural, political, economic, etc.). When we work on any one part, the whole circle is affected.
No Unity, No Development
Unity means oneness. Without unity, the common oneness that makes (seemingly) separate human beings into ‘community’ is impossible. Disunity is the primary disease of community.
No Participation, No Development
Participation is the active engagement of the minds, hearts and energy of the people in the process of their own healing and development.
Every person (regardless of gender, race, age, culture, religion, sexual orientation) must be accorded equal opportunity to participate in the process of healing and development, and to receive a fair share of the benefits.
IN A SACRED MANNER
Human beings are both material and spiritual in nature. It is therefore inconceivable that human community could become whole and sustainable without bringing our lives into balance with the requirements of our spiritual nature.
Morals and Ethics
Sustainable human and community development requires a moral foundation centered in the wisdom of the heart. When this foundation is lost, morals and ethical principles decline and development stops.
The Hurt of One Is the Hurt of All: The Honor of One Is the Honor Of All
The basic fact of our oneness as a human family means that development for some at the expense of well being for others is not acceptable or sustainable.
Authentic Development Is Culturally Based
Healing and development must be rooted in the wisdom, knowledge and living processes of the culture of the people.
WE HEAL AND DEVELOP OURSELVES, OUR RELATIONSHIPS AND OUR WORLD
Human beings are learning beings. We begin learning while we are still in our mother’s wombs, and unless something happens to close off our minds and paralyze our capacities, we keep learning throughout our entire lives. Learning is at the core of healing and development.
To sustain something means to enable it to continue for a long time. Authentic development does not use up or undermine what it needs to keep on going.
Move to the Positive
Solving the critical problems in our lives and communities is best approached by visualizing and moving into the positive alternative that we wish to create, and by building on the strengths we already have, rather than on giving away our energy fighting the negative.
Be the Change You Want To See
The most powerful strategies for change always involve positive role modeling and the creation of living examples of the solutions we are proposing. By walking the path, we make the path visible.