Thursday, July 26, 2012

Be a Good Ancestor

Be a Good Ancestor ~ Declaration & Action Plan
of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples

Keeping the Homefires Burning Gathering
at Tamaya – Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico
June 2012
We are good ancestors. As the original, free and independent peoples of our lands and territories, we reaffirm our fundamental right to self-determination, and our spiritual and cultural relationship with all life forms, knowledge systems, and ways of life within our traditional lands and territories. Indigenous Peoples and Nations are the protectors and holders of every aspect of our cultural heritage and do so as stewards of this sacred birthright for the coming generations.

Honoring the knowledge, experience, and innovation of our ancestors and abiding by their instructions that we have an inherent responsibility to respect, cherish, and transmit this collective heritage to future generations so they may seek and realize their full potential;

Recognizing Indigenous women as the mothers of our nations who carry forward and transmit cultural knowledge and ways of life to future generations, assuring our collective survival and continuity and that women should have full and meaningful participation in planning and decision-making for our Peoples;

Uplifting Indigenous children and youth as the ancestors of coming generations and who must be included as full participants in decision-making processes pertinent to Indigenous Peoples, our cultures and homelands;

Expressing profound concern over the increasing negative impact of globalization including free trade, multi-national corporations, extractive industrial development, unsustainable tourism, militarization, and other external forces impacting Indigenous Peoples, our cultures, lands, territories and resources;

We advance the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with this first statement to the world since the Declaration’s adoption by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007;

Affirming our inherent and inalienable rights derived from our political, legal, economic, and social structures and that we understand these institutions have evolved from longstanding spiritual relationships and cultural perspectives, especially our rights to our lands, territories and resources;
Asserting our treaty and other rights which have been consistently abrogated by states and others;

Recalling the fourth preambular paragraph of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which affirms, “all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust;”

Recognizing that the Doctrine of Discovery specifically, and other such doctrines, lie at the root cause of violations of all natural systems of the Earth, are racist in nature, abrogate Indigenous Peoples’ individual and collective human rights, and have been institutionalized in law and policy on national and international levels;

Echoing the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Final Report (11th Session - 2012) calling upon member-states to repudiate “nefarious doctrines” such as the Doctrine of Discovery, the Doctrine of Domination, the Regalian Doctrine, and others, that abrogate Indigenous Peoples’ rights including dispossession of our lands, territories and resources;

Considering that the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues chose not to adopt the recommendations from the collective statements by the Indigenous Peoples of the world at its 11th Session to conduct an international study on the effects of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples;

We announce our intention to establish an Expert Group Meeting to conduct an international study on the far reaching and ongoing impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery on Indigenous Peoples, our cultures, lands and territories, that shall be submitted to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and other international fora and bodies. To be completed by 2014, this study will include recommendations and action plans that reflect the voices and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples of the world.

Alarmed that UN fora, including the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and others, are engaged in standard setting processes that states wish to subsume Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge systems and cultural heritage into the intellectual property framework of states and transnational corporations, while denying Indigenous Peoples’ full and equal participation in these negotiations;

Witnessing with grave concern the unrelenting degradation of Mother Earth and natural systems in light of climate change and other impacts, and expressing the need to increase measures to restore and protect the environment and the Earth for the survival and continuity of cultural diversity and biodiversity;

We call upon all Indigenous Peoples to demand our right of full and equal participation at all United Nations’ processes that affect the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples and Nations;

And we urge Indigenous Nations and Peoples to set our own legal standards for the protection of our traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and genetic resources in a manner consistent with our traditional values and right of self-determination.

Knowing that climate change and global warming taking place around the world negatively impacts all aspects of Indigenous Peoples’ lives, including our traditional cultures, food systems, ways of life, economies, collective security and ability to protect our lands, waters, biological diversity, ecosystems, and health;
Identifying Terracide as the destruction of the natural systems of Mother Earth that renders our planet incapable of supporting life, threatens our ability to be ancestors, and is thus a criminal act against all of Life. The foundations of Terracide are the perpetuation of unsustainable economic models that exploit natural systems and promote unrestricted growth and exponential development that drains rather than sustains Life;

Calling for the recognition of Water as a human right and essential to all Life; that it is crucial for bio-cultural diversity and for all aspects of the world community’s survival and well being, including assuring our physical health, nurturing our spiritual development and central for the continued vitality of Indigenous cultures and sustainable livelihoods;

We urge participants of all international convenings and fora to take a stand and call for a Declaration Against Terracide & Aquacide that affirms the Rights of Mother Earth and Indigenous Peoples’ human rights;

Expressing that Indigenous Peoples have viable and life-affirming paradigms for continued survival that honors and sustains life systems and engenders Earth healing and renewal;

Joining together in solidarity at this multi-generational gathering of 275 participants from 100 different Indigenous Nations, and allies, reflecting tremendous linguistic, cultural, geographic, knowledge, experiential, and historic diversity;

Upholding our responsibilities as good ancestors to consider the impact on the seventh generation to come in each of our deliberations;

We implore all humankind to adopt and implement the fundamental precepts of Being a Good Ancestor to preserve and nurture foreverlasting Life, and secure the sacred birthright of the future generations of All Our Relations.

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