Women’s Assembly Parliament of the World’s Religions
Two excerpts from the 42 page document below (pg 1 & pg 13)
Intercontinental Indigenous Peoples’ Delegation
Inaugural Women’s Assembly at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions
Inaugural Women’s Assembly
Parliament of the World’s Religions
October 14-19, 2015
Salt Lake City, Utah
The members of this delegation convey our gratitude to the Parliament of the World’s Religions and all of the volunteers dedicated to this Inaugural Women’s Assembly and related programing at the 2015 Parliament. We are looking forward to engaging with the other indigenous delegates and sharing our traditional ways with all participants. This feminine confluence will become a sacred space for listening and dialogue in which thousands of diverse faith based people will share their knowledge, remember their common values and pledge to live in harmony with the Web of Life1. Our message to
We, the Human Beings, have been given the Original Instructions (guiding principles2) on how to live in harmony with the Natural Law. To reclaim the heart of our humanity we must change our values3 and shift our consciousness and embrace The Web of Life, the sacred interconnectedness of Creator’s gifts – all Life on Earth. All systems and actions are interdependent; the world’s diverse Indigenous Peoples have lived in harmony and in stewardship of our Mother Earth for millennia, in our traditional ways Life and Spirit are not separate. We understand that Creator is present in every aspect of the world that surrounds us; we are bound by the laws of Nature.4 It is all about sharing and responsibility; we understand that we must give thanks, enjoy life and take only what we need. We acknowledge the responsibility for today’s decisions on behalf of the 7th generation coming; only then will we ourselves have peace. Through the power of good minds, humanity has the power to modify what is happening in this world before it is too late.5
As Pope Francis stated in his recent Eco-Encyclical,“…it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions…We require a new and universal solidarity…everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.”6 Bound by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,7 the Indigenous Peoples have a long history with the Parliament.8 9 Peace is dynamic and requires great effort of spirit and mind to attain unity. Leaders of peace must step forward and set the groundwork for a paradigm change in the way the human species approaches its relationship with the Earth.10 Now is the time for us to pull together, as real human beings, in harmony with all Life.
All our relations.
PWR Indigenous Delegation Guiding Principles
Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff
The essence of the Indigenous Delegation’s message to the Parliament of World Religions lies in speaking many truths that are based on the wisdom and resulting consciousness of living for millennia the guiding principles necessary to be in balance and harmony with Mother Earth. These guiding principles are often called, Original Instructions and Laws for Living, as they flow directly from Creation and inform us of the mutual dependencies and responsibilities that perpetuate life. It is through embodying these principles as the prime determinant in all our daily decisions that we ensure our children and all the generations that follow will be blessed by an Earth that always provides as it did for our ancestors. These guiding principles include: honoring and loving Mother Earth and all her children; being mindful of what you take from her and reciprocating; expressing gratitude for what you take after asking permission to do so; slowing your pace down to better tune into nature and All That Is; talking less, since talking distracts from what is really important; speaking and acting from the heart (rather than the mind alone); striving to be in the present, because this is where the Creator and all of Creation lives; striving for balance in all things; acting from a place of humility and an awareness that the world is too complex for humans to grasp it all; and having complete faith in the Creator, knowing that whatever happens is for the highest and best good of All That Is. These truths and guiding principles are based on recognizing Mother Earth as a mentor and a model and are imbedded in our cultures, languages, science, relational ways of being, and deep reverence for all life. From this way of the “real human being” emerges peace and harmony on Mother Earth. Indigenous peoples deal with intergenerational problems by implementing intergenerational solutions. Thus, the warring Iroquois Tribes were able to establish peace processes more than three centuries ago that ultimately transformed their governance and gave birth to a concept of democracy that was subsequently gifted to the Founders of the United States. However, the Founding Fathers eliminated an essential component of this accord: the central role of women in selecting the (male) Iroquois leaders. This lack of respect for the feminine resulted in an imbalance of power between men and women and a practice of ownership of pieces of Mother Earth intended to be included in the Commons; both of these errors severely and negatively impact current democratic processes in the U.S. Each of these challenges is rooted in hierarchy, the primary organizing paradigm of the ‘developed’ nations. It is these hierarchical cultures that believe in Manifest Destiny, the belief that drives colonization and ultimately institutionalized an unsustainable world. From Mother Earth we know that hierarchical and relational ways of being must be blended and that relationality and mutuality is the stronger of these paradigms. Honoring this truth is necessary not only to re-achieve balance and harmony on Mother Earth, but also to know how to create the kind of social order necessary for surviving the very harsh circumstances we’ve created for present and future generations. We have a climate crisis (as Indigenous Elders call it) and it isn’t just important “in its field;” it is important to and draws from all fields, and is critical for all life on Mother Earth from now into the future. Over the past several hundred years, and particularly in the last five decades, humans have pushed the earth’s life support systems to the brink. As Indigenous Elders everywhere warn again and again, we are at the final crossroads in the human journey; the choices we make now will either spare our children and grandchildren or condemn them to what the world’s scientists have called “an unlivable climate.” Indigenous peoples everywhere know that we must act immediately and dramatically to turn things around; we are hoping “younger brother” (non-Native peoples) will wake up before it is too late.