We need the wisdom of the indigenous communities to build a better world
GCGI Commemorates and Celebrates International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, their Wisdom, Culture and Spirit
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home”. Australian Aboriginal proverb
"Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, Wisdom is of the future”. Lumbee proverb
"May the guiding voice of Mother Earth, representing all beings of all directions’ expanse of earth, water, air, fire, and space, grant us the nourishment of body, mind, heart, and spirit to serve Her well. May we vow to honor, respect, and tend to the Lands of our Ancestors and the welcoming Lands we call home. May we acknowledge the beings in these lands as Our Kin. May we acknowledge and deeply bow to the rightful stewards of these Lands and wholeheartedly recognize our human and other-than-human relatives displaced and dispossessed of homes and identities. May we become the flourishing garden for all to call home."- Yuria Celidwen
‘There are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples in the world living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 percent of the world's population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.
'Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. Indigenous peoples’ conceptualization of health and well-being is generally broader and more holistic, with health frequently viewed as both an individual and a collective right, strongly determined by community, land and the natural environment. Article 24 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to their traditional medicines, to maintain their health practices and to access social and health services without discrimination.
'In order to raise awareness of the needs of these population groups, including their health needs, every 9 August commemorates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, chosen in recognition of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations held in Geneva in 1982.’- WHO
The Indigenous Peoples’ Wisdom, Knowledge and Connection to Nature are the Key to the World’s Sustainable Future
Their understanding of and respect for Land is telling and timely
"You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.
"Teach your children what we have taught our children -- that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
"This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.
"Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself ..."- Chief Seattle
‘Indigenous peoples live in close harmony with nature, adopting sustainable practices that have been passed down through generations. Their connection to the land, forests, water, animals and mountains is deeply ingrained in their cultural identity. They rely on traditional knowledge to sustainably manage natural resources, ensuring their continuity for future generations.
‘...Indigenous communities have a profound understanding of the ecosystems they inhabit, which allows them to coexist with nature without causing significant harm.
‘They respect the balance of ecosystems and wildlife. Moreover, their social structures and customs often revolve around sustainable living, fostering a strong sense of community and shared responsibility for the environment. By preserving their cultural heritage and traditional practices, indigenous peoples continue to demonstrate a model of sustainable living that serves as an inspiration for modern societies in the quest for a more environmentally balanced future…’- EastMojo
These are the times when we desperately need inspiring and healing words of wisdom, hope and beauty.
Better ways to get better, find inner peace and contentment, lead a fulfilling life in
harmony with mother nature, beauty and wisdom
Let Me Know What is Essential- Let Me Walk in Beauty
‘O Great Spirit,
whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty
and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears grow sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be greater than my brother or sister
but to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me always ready
to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes
So when life fades as the fading sunset
my spirit may come to you without shame.’- Chief Yellow Lark, a nineteenth-century Lakota elder.
‘Man did not weave the web of life – he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.’
‘Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
‘We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family.
‘The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father. The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
‘If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.
This we know the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.’- Chief Seattle(c. 1786 – June 7, 1866), a proponent of ecological responsibility and respect of Native Americans' land rights
‘Earth Is A Mother Who Never Dies’- A saying from the Diné (or Navajo) people
Read more on why the so-called modern world needs the Indigenous Peoples’ wisdom today more than ever before: A selection from our GCGI archive
Inspired by the Indigenous Peoples’ Philosophy of Life
For further reading and information see below:
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'Fall in love with life and the living and the world will be a better place.'- Kamran Mofid
Indigenous wisdom promotes a sense of relationality and belonging. Here, hands representing a diverse community come together to cultivate a garden, representing our interconnection with one another and the natural world. Artist: Sirin Thada
Photo: Via Mind& Life Institute