A Message from The Indigenous Elders and Medicine People
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley 1818
OK, I know what you are thinking—the poem, the image, perhaps a bit too dramatic? Possibly, but then again maybe we need such drama to awaken us to a threatening reality.
Shown in the picture below is what is left of a forested area in Seminole County, Florida. I am not sure what is going to be built here—I would guess apartment complexes, or light commercial businesses. It is an all too common sight in Florida. I often rode my bike along the path next to this area when it was a woodland. Ironically, it was marked by a warning sign that there are bears in the area. Not sure that applies anymore.
I do not know if the sight of barren earth and dead trees bothers you, or it is just something you occasionally notice on your way to work. Perhaps you shrug your shoulders and call it the price of progress. And you may think this without wondering what the word progress really means. I am going to remind you. If we ignore the one definition referring to a royal procession, progress as a noun is defined as “a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal). A gradual betterment.” As a verb progress means “to develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage”
It is difficult to understand how wholesale disruption and often total decimation of stable ecosystems equates to either “betterment” or a “better, more advanced stage”. But then, as I am frequently reminded by acquaintances, the progress accommodated by this destruction applies to the advancement of a better and stronger economy. I then ask for whom, and for how long is this a better economy? Certainly the economy for the bears has not being improved, nor for the gopher turtles or lizards, or snakes or owls or woodpeckers and the myriad plants and animals that relied upon this forest for survival. But then they are not people, they are not deemed as important as people, and people’s welfare does not rely upon them—so we would like to think. They are conveniently expendable. So I guess the economy everybody refers to is people’s economy. But what about the earth’s economy?
I think this summer in Southwest Florida, with the heavy blooms of toxic blue-green algae and red tide opened many eyes to the inter-reliance of people’s economy and the earth’s economy. After all the prefix eco comes from the Greek oikos meaning home. We are starting to understand that on our planet there is but one home, and that people’s home and the home of all other living things are not two separate and independent entities.
Teaching this truth was the life’s work of Bobby C. Billie, an Aboriginal Indigenous Person belonging to the Original Peoples and Nations of Turtle Island which in English is referred to as Canada, Mexico and the United States. His Nation is identified as the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples. He was both a Spiritual Leader and a Clan Leader, belonging to the Panther Clan. Bobby made it very clear that spirituality meant understanding, accepting and living according to the interdependence of all life—what he called Nature’s Laws. In a 2001 entry he made to the St. Thomas Law review, Volume 14, number 2 entitled “The Independent Traditional Seminole Nation: Defending our Heritage and our Land”, Bobby stated:
“We need to change the way to think about the future of our kids—what are we going to pass on to them? We can’t pass them just money. They need something else, water and earth to plant the seeds….We are not thinking of humans, but all things. You should speak of them too. Then you can make sense of life yourself.”
Bobby C. Billie Spiritual Leader and Clan Leader Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation of Aboriginal Peoples and Council of Indigenous Elders and Medicine People
I have heard some people say such talk is far too idealistic to apply to our fast moving, resource consuming, i-phone driven, social media world. However, a group of young people (Our Childrens' Trust) have listened to the wisdom of people like Bobby C. Billie and others, including knowledgeable scientists, and have taken on the formidable task of suing the U.S. Government for despoiling their homes, threatening their health, and imposing upon their future welfare through open promotion of fossil fuels. These young people have decided it is time to begin the process of incorporating the so called idealism of the likes of Bobby C. Billie into the foundation of a bold paradigm shift. And they are finding the Courts attentive to their argument. The suit is known as Juliana et. al. v U.S.A. and it is on a path to go to trial, in spite of the government’s persistent efforts to delay or defuse the suit. Using the buttons below you can go to the website for Our Children's Trust and view a recent piece done by CBS 60 Minutes on this groundbreaking lawsuit.
Bobby C. Billie was also a participant in a Council of Elders and Medicine People from a number of Indigenous Nations.The Council enthusiastically supports the young people participating in the suit, as the Elders believe the future relies upon our youth, and their willingness to embrace the wisdom offered by the Council—that all life is connected and is sacred, and that Natural Law will prevail over any laws which deviate for purpose of short-term convenience. Recently the Council issued a supportive statement to the involved young people. The statement of course is intended for modern society in general, and is both a warning and an invitation for reconciliation. As you read this statement, be certain you purge any preconceptions or ancient stereotypes regarding “Native Americans”, for this is a serious writing crafted by intelligent, aware and experienced leaders whose participation in the reconfiguration of our social dynamic and the protection of our survivability is beyond helpful—it is critical and essential.
As always comments are welcomed.
Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples Council
Indigenous Youth Experience Council
Support for Future Generations of All Life
All Creation has a right to live and survive on this Sacred Earth and raise their families where the Creator placed them to be.
We, Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples of the Earth, are from various Indigenous Nations and are spiritually related. We are united under the Creator’s Law and are responsible for protecting and extending Life for all future generations. We speak on behalf of All Creation; the four legged/those that swim/those that crawl/those that fly/those that burrow in the Earth/the plant and tree Nations and all the others. This one life system includes the elements of fire, water, earth and air, the living environment of “Mother Earth”. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited. Today we communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far. The Earth is not the same anymore. The Air is not the same anymore. The Water is not the same anymore. The Clouds are not the same anymore. The Rain is not the same anymore. The Trees, the Plants, the Animals, Birds, Fish, Insects and all the others are not the same anymore. Things have been changed because of human behavior. Modern living and all that it encompasses does not respect the Sacredness of Life, and has ruptured the Sacred Seal around the Earth. This has contributed to extreme weather patterns and the melting of the ice – The Sacred Cooling System of Mother Earth. All that is Sacred in Life is vanishing because of our actions. The truth is we have moved beyond climate change to survival on Sacred Mother Earth. In the earlier days, there was no such thing as schools like we have today. The learning was here on Earth, the vast valleys and mountains, rivers, streams, forests, canyons, deserts, moon, even the great stars above, all of nature was the classroom. This is where we learned the significance of the great spiritual laws that bind All Life. When you look at the school system today our youth are placed in square rooms with square windows and we feed their minds but not their spirits. Knowledge without spirit is just information. What have we done with this knowledge? We have developed a way of living that is destructive and out of balance with the rest of Creation. However, knowledge with spirit becomes wisdom. It is this wisdom that we must plant into the spirits, hearts and minds of our youth so they can become a part of the solution to the challenges we are facing today. Resource extraction for coal, oil, uranium, gas, minerals or any other so-called resource is a very destructive process to the natural environment. Our young people cannot learn about our cultural ways and our sacred relationships when Mother Earth has been destroyed. We cannot teach them about our medicines if our medicines no longer grow. We cannot teach them about their responsibilities to maintain the sacred balance of life when the sanctity of this balance has been disrupted because of the changing climate or resource extraction and pollution.
The young people recognize that a long history of spiritually disconnected decisions and actions are threatening their future today. The pollution of the Earth, Air and Water has diminished the biodiversity that once promoted a harmonious balance between humans, plants, animals and other organisms throughout the world. We see hope in what the young people are doing by standing up to the corporations and governments to protect the future. They are not doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the World of Life and the unborn life. All life has to be born and continue the way the Creator created Nature to be, in harmony and balance. We need to support the young people because they are going to save us, by reconnecting us to spiritually responsible decisions and actions that consider the future generations of All Life, not only human life but All Life. The young people cannot live alone, they cannot do things alone, we need each other’s help. The only way we can get back to understanding the significance of the role we need to play in safe guarding the path of mankind is to be spiritually connected. We must spiritually connect with one another, Mother Earth and the rest of Creation. This is what the young people are doing, they are bringing us together to work for our collective future. As Aboriginal Indigenous First Nation Elders, Spiritual Leaders and those that carry great responsibility for our people we are wondering - What God is this Nation of immigrants following? If there are holy people among them, they must understand we cannot continue to live by violating Mother Earth. We are not scientists, but we do have a connection with the source of Truth and Life, we have our “Prophecies” and the “Signs” of disharmony. All of the things happening today are the same things that were spoken of in the earlier days, the very things the Creator warned would happen, if we failed to respect and follow the Natural Law. The newcomers to this sacred land must respect our ways by always including us, the original spiritual people of this land, to heal the future. Those that have not been born into this way of life and are exploiting our ceremonies and sacred ways are causing serious harm. In order to connect with the sacred and holy you must have faith, discipline and belief in the Creator. These deeply held spiritual beliefs must continue. It’s the diversity of culture and biodiversity in nature that keep this World in balance. Every human step that disturbs, desecrates or destroys Nature’s delicate balance, will destroy countless lives into the future. For Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples destruction of environment is destruction of our culture and destruction of our future. We can no longer wait for solutions from governmental and corporate leaders. They failed us by trying to maintain their profits, economy, and power over the people. Their lack of action to adequately and seriously work to prevent Climate Change has brought us to the state of survival, threatening us all. It’s vital that we support the young people as they have come together to address man-made laws that are in opposition to the already established Creator’s Natural Law. Man-made laws have failed us, and will continue to fail us, because those laws promote profit and power over our sacred obligation to All Life and Our Shared Future. The Creator’s Natural Law is immutable, we have no choice but to follow it. If we challenge or break the Laws of Creation we destroy ourselves. The youth are reminding us of this truth. As extreme weather patterns and events are happening on Mother Earth, she will survive. The question is - will we? It is unlikely that we will survive if we remain spiritually disconnected and do not follow the great spiritual laws of Mother Earth. It is time we start making decisions as parents and grandparents not as governments and corporations. It’s time we follow the Creator’s Laws, not destructive man-made laws. It’s time we stop abusing and start protecting what is most sacred to us – Our Children, Our Mother Earth and Our Shared Future.
Representatives of the Council
Chief Arvol Looking Horse Leland Grass, Dine’ Traditionalist
19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf
Pipe Spiritual Leader
The Great Sioux Nation