by Sally Mahé
This article was originally published on July 07, 2014 by United Religions Initiative.
July 1-3, I joined 33 indigenous leaders from six continents that gathered under summer sun and ancient oaks on original Pomo land at Four Springs Retreat Center in Sonoma County, California. Our purpose at this event, called “Hidden Seeds of Natural Healing and Curing,” was to voice a common purpose, to share ceremony and celebrate as one global family, and to strengthen and promote indigenous values and wisdom in order to improve the rights of indigenous people worldwide.
An action agenda, agreed upon by all Hidden Seeds attendees, culminated as a result of this powerful gathering. It was decided that we should work towards repealing theDoctrine of Discovery, a 15th century international doctrine allowing colonial powers rights to native land, which has been used against tribal leaders as recently as 2005.
We also decided that we should work with local legislation to preserve traditional healing practices and protect sacred gardens for growing medicinal plants, in addition to developing alliances with like-minded organizations, employing an effective multi-media platform, and empowering youth through education and leadership.
“Mother Earth is shaking us up now. People with roots can make the difference and hold us together. An antidote to the current focus on money and power are grassroots groups acting from love for Mother Earth and each other.” —Diane Longboat
We experienced ourselves as people rooted. We experienced our actions rooted in Spirit. We answered the following questions:
Who are we? We are indigenous people — a global people who organize together to rehabilitate and promote indigenous values, rituals, sacred practices, and a way of life. We are people who came here to go to work for humanity and the Earth. “Some say we are the ones we have been praying for.” We are a family that has found each other.
What do we want to do? We want to unify our efforts. We want to improve life in specific ways for indigenous people and all people. We want to learn to listen and speak in ways that respect different perspectives, values and ways of life. For this, we embrace spiritual practices. We perform ceremonies that connect with ancestors, the Creator and higher powers. We do our work in circle conversations that help us forget our own importance and open to other human beings as we seek the common good together.
What will we look like? We will look like a movement of circle-makers. We envision that a sacred global circle of all humanity will be born. Within the global circle, there will be many circles of diverse people, a vital network of people treating one another equally, where no one is boss, and wise decisions arise from each person’s contribution. We will look like streams of energy and positive action, not a monument.
What is necessary to move forward? We must not forget to ask how we can become hope for the world. We must not forget to call upon the higher Mystery, the hierarchy of light, the power of Spirit. Our love and mutual care and respect for one another is creating a level of vibration that will affect all that is around us and the outcome of our work. We must integrate this high loving vibrational energy with our concrete actions and with unified intent to bring transformation to the planet.
Working together…We plan to build an action program rooted in Energy, Action and Transformation. One of the young ones among us sang: “We are warriors of the future… we are gathering for the Earth.” An elder prayed: “My prayer is that my ancestors will show your ancestors the beauty of peace on Earth. My biggest prayer is to learn to make a difference in this world.”
No accident…URI: You. Are. I. “Ash ta hay” – I am you being me. “Kapua” – “the other is me.” “Like still water, I see myself in you.” We delighted in sharing our meanings and words for URI: You. Are. I. We revered cooperative action, nature’s cycles and circles, principles of equity and shared decision-making, sharing the Sacred, offering radical hospitality, and feeling appreciation, respect, and love. We reveled in celebrating our talents and what is authentic in each of us. It is no accident that this remarkable event — some believe a prophetic gathering — came about within URI’s global family of Cooperation Circles made up of people who are rooted in the values and practices of URI’s Preamble Purpose and Principles. As in the story of URI’s growing global network, what emerged from the gathering was the power of friendship, determined collective and cooperative action, and the felt experience of spirit in action.
Published with the author’s permission.
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