Indigenous Guiding Principles for Building a Sustainable and Harmonious World:
The Sixteen Principles for building a sustainable and harmonious world community emerged from a 40-year process of reflection, consultation and action within Indigenous communities across the Americas. They are rooted in the concerns of hundreds of Indigenous elder spiritual leaders and community members, as well as in the best thinking of many non-Indigenous scholars, researchers and human and community development practitioners.
These guiding principles constitute the foundation for the process of healing and developing individuals (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually), human relationships (personal, social, political, economic, and cultural) and the relationship with Mother Earth. They describe the way members of this Cooperation Circle (CC) must work and what they must protect and cherish.
Members 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.”
“Our Indigenous Peoples and allies need are working to rebuild and reunify the Americas and beyond, utilizing the Guiding Principles of The Fourth Way:
1. We have the ancient prophecies and a clear vision of an emerging future of social justice and collective prosperity for the Americas, and beyond, which we will, as promised, co-create with all members of the Human Family. This new era will occur assure as the sun rises every morning.
2. We have a spiritual foundation of guiding principles and values that empowered us to survive a great spiritual winter that was filled, at times, with the utmost human cruelty, violence, injustice, abuse, and physical and cultural genocide. In spite of this, throughout the Americas, increasingly, our Indigenous relatives are reawakening to their spiritual and cultural identities and are healing their Sacred Relationships with all members of the Human Family.
3. Together, with our allies, we have the cultural, spiritual, scientific, technological, social, environmental, economic and agricultural capacities and wisdom needed to co-create and rebuild our Tribes and Nations stronger than ever before.
4. Our Indigenous Peoples, with the support of our allies, have the collective material resources to bring our greatest dreams and visions to reality and to fully protect and heal our Beloved Mother. Collectively our growing social capital, our land base, our natural resources, including water, petroleum, natural gas, timber, rare minerals and gems, fishing and hunting rights and those rights and resources we have still to justly acquire, will soon enable us to become a major economic and spiritual force not only in the Americas, but around the world. We will then mandate the wise and harmonious ways Mother Earth's gifts should be safely and sustainably developed, as well as, when development is not appropriate, no matter how much profit is to be made. Our Sacred Places and the Healthful Life of our Beloved Mother Earth are not for sale and exploitation!”