Basic Call to Consciousness, written THIRTY YEARS AGO by the Iroquois Federation of Northeast tribes, conveys a perspective that is both forthright and logical, pointing out that Western culture has been horribly exploitative and destructive of the natural world. Following is an excerpt:
|“Human beings are abusing one another as well as the planet they live on. The destruction of the natural world is a clear indication of mankind’s spiritual poverty…Hundreds of species of birds and animals have been utterly destroyed since the Europeans arrived in America…The forests have been leveled, the waters polluted, the native peoples subjected to genocide…Western technology and the people who have employed it have been the most amazingly destructive forces in all of human history….
“The way of life known as Western civilization is on a death path, and its culture has no viable answers. The appearance of plutonium on this planet is the clearest of signals that our species is in trouble. It is a signal that most Westerners have chosen to ignore.
“We, Natives, think even the systems of weather are changing. Our ancient teaching warned us that if man interfered with the natural laws, these things would come to be. When the last of the Natural Way of Life is gone, all hope for human survival will be gone with it. And our Way of Life is fast disappearing, a victim of the destructive processes of so-called progress.
“We know that there are many people in the world who can quickly grasp the intent of our message. But experience has taught us that there are few that are willing to seek out a method for moving toward any real change. But if there is a future for all beings on this planet, we must begin seeking avenues of change.
“The people who are living on this planet need to break with the narrow concepts of human liberation and begin to see liberation as something that needs to be extended to the whole of the Natural World. What is needed is the liberation of all things that support life – the air, the waters, the trees – all the things that support the sacred Web of Life.
“We feel that the Native peoples of the Western Hemisphere can continue to contribute to the survival potential of the human species. The majority of our peoples still live in accordance with the traditions that find their roots in the Mother Earth. But the Native peoples have need of a forum where our voice can be heard. And we need alliances with other peoples of the world to assist in our struggle to regain and maintain our ancestral lands and to protect the Way of Life we follow.
“We know that this is a very difficult task. Many nation-states may feel threatened by the position that the protection and liberation of Natural World peoples and cultures represent, a progressive direction that must be integrated into the political strategies of people who seek to uphold the dignity of human beings. But that position is growing in strength, and it represents a necessary strategy in the evolution of progressive thought.
“Traditional First Nations Peoples hold the key to the reversal of processes in Western civilization that hold the promise of unimaginable future suffering and destruction. Spiritualism is the highest form of political consciousness. And we, First Peoples of the Western Hemisphere, are among the world’s surviving proprietors of that kind of consciousness. We are here to impart that message.
“Wake up. Our lives are part of a sacred web in which everything is connected. When we poison the air or the soil with our lifestyles and technologies, even just a little bit, we are poisoning ourselves.
“Our essential message to the world is a basic call to consciousness. The destruction of the native cultures and people is the same process which has and continues to destroy life on this planet. The technologies and social systems which have destroyed the animal and planet life are also destroying the Native People.
“Through this document, Native Americans are calling for…a shared ideology developed by all people using their purest and most unselfish minds…when the people put their minds and emotions in flow with the harmony of the universe and the intentions of the Good Mind, or Great Creator. Within this principle…all thoughts of prejudice, privilege or superiority be swept away and that the recognition be given to the reality that Creation is intended for the benefit of all, equally–even the birds and the animals, the trees and insects, as well as the human beings, further example of Partnership social model.”
Excerpted from Akwesasne Notes, Eds. “Basic Call To Consciousness” (2005), the Native Voices Series of The Book Publishing Co., Summertown, Tenn. First publication.