'Indigenous Perspectives' (An overview of this month’s issue)
Chris here, editor of AllCreation.org. This month’s issue aspires to begin the process of better understanding Indigenous religious and spiritual views in regards to nature. We focus primarily on Native American views because of easy access to content (in English) and personal relationships.
We are tremendously honored by Vance Blackfox’s invitation to support the protests at Standing Rock. I encourage you to read his letter to AllCreation readers, now. Vance’s writing is of the highest caliber, his cause the highest priority. There are many Indigenous environmental justice struggles today. Standing Rock is the one most relevant to the rights of people in the United States.
Likewise we are honored to have the poem/film “Pre-Occupied” from Heidi E. Erdich and Jonathan Thunder. This piece is an extraordinary artistic experience that will shake your core.
We’ve also received beautiful poetry from Amie King and Phillip Estes -- I cannot recommend Above All, Wild or God is a Wild Animal highly enough. Rev. Priscilla Austin (ELCA) contributes a short on her recognition of the traditional peoples who once occupied the lands where her church is located, in The Doctrine of Discovery.
Like many, I've recently become aware of a whole other aspect of the world we share. I don’t claim to know much yet about Indigenous people, religions or spiritual identities, but i’d like to highlight three themes that resonated with me throughout the process of assembling this month’s AllCreation.
“We are the least important part.” This is my favorite underpinning of what I’ve learned about the Iroquois worldview thus far, and it appears to be a common basis for many of the dominant tribes of North America. “The world’s best environmental stewards” are Indigenous people because they cultivate a fundamentally egalitarian relationship with all other things in the Creation. See the video about this in post #1 of this month's video library.
There are thousands of Indigenous cultures today, they are gravely threatened. Indigenous people are still present in practically every country, from Sweden to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Virtually all of today's indigenous peoples are threatened by the encroachment of industry and the rapid expansion of humanity. For a small, but high quality visual overview on the world’s indigenous peoples check out this gallery by Jimmy Nelson. I've posted a few select photos below. Visit CulturalSurvival.org for a broad overview.
Since 1500 most of the world’s Indigenous peoples have been wrecked ‘by the white man.' The same values are destroying Earth's last indigenous communities today. What are we gaining? A very unsustainable future and the elimination of human cultural diversity. Ironically, the values and beliefs guiding Earth’s Indigenous peoples, aka. “the sustainable peoples” are practically identical to many of those being discovered by today’s leading thinkers in Faith, Science, Spirituality, Conservation, Ethics, and Ecology.
A few photos from Jimmy Nelson:
We hope you enjoy this month’s small collection of articles, poems, letters and more, expressing and regarding Indigenous spiritual views on the Creation. Please read Vance’s letter and support Standing Rock. We look forward to globally positive changes and presenting more in the future!