The Bemidji Statement On Seventh Generation Guardianship
Submitted by Western Shoshone Defense Project
This important document is being published for the first time. The Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship was released July 6 during the 14th Protecting Mother Earth Conference, convened by the Indigenous Environmental Network in Bemidji, Minnesota.
The Bemidji Statement combines the ancient wisdom of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) -- "The first mandate.... is to ensure that our decision- making is guided by consideration of the welfare and well being of the seventh generation to come." -- with the precautionary principle.
The Statement calls for new guardians and new guardian institutions to protect the future of us all. The Statement evolved from a conversation that began in Alaska in December 2005 between Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT), the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN).
Here is an introduction to the Bemidji Statement provided by the Indigenous Environmental Network:
During the winter months of 2005-2006, several handfuls of people from numerous places throughout North America came together at two different locations to create The Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship (Bemidji Statement). While much has been written in the past about the Seventh Generation Principle, the Bemidji Statement is different in a couple of ways.
First, it accommodates some elements from the protection of the Commons and the Precautionary Principle.
Second, it goes beyond most other principles by explicitly assigning guardianship and responsibility for protecting the Seventh Generation of humanity that is yet to be born. But equally important, it assigns the same guardianship and responsibility to the current generations to protect and restore the intricate web of life that sustains us all, for the Seventh Generation to come.
The Statement is written with the intent of being able to adopt it at all levels of our society. It is also written to change the way we think about our future. From the family unit, through community, and institutions on community, the Statement can be adopted and applied. It is intended for individuals or small groups of individuals to take guardianship responsibility for one piece of the web of life and protect or restore that one piece for this and future generations.
Examples of these web pieces could be as broad as the water or the birds or as specific as a certain pond or a certain type of fish. A family may choose to assume guardianship for the area immediately their home, a community may watch over a much larger area, a government or institution may stand guard over all within their jurisdiction.
The important thing is that guardians who assume this responsibility learn everything they can about that which they have chosen, they assess and monitor the chosen piece of the web of life, restore it when necessary, and report the status of their responsibilities to other guardians.
From the smallest unit of society to the largest unit of government, we can protect, enhance, and restore the inheritance of the Seventh Generation to come. Consider becoming a Guardian in your community.
Shawna Larson, Environmental Justice Coordinator,
IEN/Alaska Community Action on Toxics,
Anchorage, AK 99503 USA, Tel: 907.222.1714,
Email: email@example.com, Web: http://www.akaction.org/ and http://www.ienearth.org/toxins_enviro_health.html
Bob Shimek, Mining Campaign Organizer,
Indigenous Environmental Network,
PO Box 485, Bemidji, Minnesota 56619 USA,
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.ienearth.org--
Jamie Kneen, Communications & Outreach Coordinator ofc.
MiningWatch Canada cell: (613) 761-2273
250 City Centre Ave., Suite 508
fax: (613) 569-5138
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6K7
Part 2 of The Bemidji Statement will be posted on Sunday, July 16.
Voting Rights Renewal Bill Passes By Overwhelming Margin
Submitted by Daniel Levitas, Atlanta ACLU
In an overwhelming victory for civil rights advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 390-33, to approve H.R. 9, the “Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006, defeating all four weakening amendments that were proposed.” For more details of the 390-33 vote (with nine members not voting) go here or click on the following link: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2006/roll374.xml
The legislation contained all the measures sought by voting rights advocates to strengthen the VRA by ensuring that the original intent of Congress was preserved in the renewed statute.
Action now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Arlen Specter (R-PA), whose Committee commenced markup on S. 2703 on Thursday July 13 to be completed by July 20. A total of 52 Senators are now official co-sponsors of S. 2703. For the most current list, visit:
Voting Rights advocates urge people to contact their U.S. Senator to urge swift consideration of S.2703 by the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate before the August recess.
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