The Bemidji Statement On Seventh Generation Guardianship
Submitted by the Western Shoshone Defense Project
"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."
Indigenous Peoples have learned over thousands of years to live in harmony with the land and the waters. It is our intent to survive and thrive on this planet for this and many generations to come. This survival depends on a living web of relationships in our communities and lands, among humans, and others. The many Indigenous Peoples and cultures from throughout the world are threatened by the disruption of these relationships.
The exploitation and industrialization of the land and water have altered the relationships that have sustained our Indigenous communities. These changes have accelerated in recent years. We are now experiencing the consequences of these actions with increased cancer and asthma rates, suicides, and reproductive disorders in humans, as well as increased hardships of hunting and of whaling. Places that we hold to be sacred have been repeatedly disturbed and destroyed. In animals and in nature we see changing migratory patterns, diseased fish, climate change, extinction of species, and much more.
Government agencies and others in charge of protecting the relationships between our people, the land, air, and water have repeatedly broken treaties and promises. In doing so, they have failed in their duty to uphold the tribal and the public trust. The many changes in these relationships have been well documented, but science remains inadequate for fully understanding their origins and essence. This scientific uncertainty has been misused to carry out economic, cultural, and political exploitation of the land and resources. Failure to recognize the complexity of these relationships will further impair the future health of our people and function of the environment.
We value our culture, knowledge, and skills. They are valuable and irreplaceable assets to all of humanity, and help to safe guard the world. The health and well being of our grandchildren are worth more than all the wealth that can be taken from these lands.
By returning to the collective empowerment and decision making that is part of our history, we are able to envision a future that will restore and protect the inheritance of this, and future generations. Therefore, we will designate Guardians for the Seventh Generation.
Who guards this web of life that nurtures and sustains us all?
Who watches out for the land, the sky, the fire, and the water?
Who watches out for our relatives that swim, fly, walk, or crawl?
Who watches out for the plants that are rooted in our Mother Earth?
Who watches out for the life-giving spirits that reside in theunderworld?
Who tends the languages of the people and the land?
Who tends the children and the families?
Who tends the peacekeepers in our communities?
We tend the relationships.
We work to prevent harm.
We create the conditions for health and wholeness.
We teach the culture and we tell the stories.
We have the sacred right and obligation to protect the common wealth of our lands and the common health of our people and all our relations for this generation and seven generations to come. We are the Guardians for the Seventh Generation.
"As guardians of the wards over which they were appointed, the manitous [spirits] could withhold from hunters permission or opportunity to kill." --Basil Johnston, The Manitous.
Contacts:Shawna Larson, Environmental Justice Coordinator,
IEN/Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Anchorage, AK 99503 USA,
Web: http://www.akaction.org/ and
Bob Shimek, Mining Campaign Organizer,
Indigenous Environmental Network,
PO Box 485, Bemidji, Minnesota 56619 USA,
Web: http://www.ienearth.org/ J
Jamie KneenCommunications & Outreach Coordinator ofc.
MiningWatch Canada cell: (613) 761-2273
250 City Centre Ave., Suite 508
fax: (613) 569-5138
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6K7
NAJA Convention Set For Aug 9-12 In Tulsa
The Native American Journalists Association will hold its 22nd annual convention in celebration of the continuation of Native journalism after the first tribal paper, The Cherokee Phoenix, was published on Feb. 21, 1828. With the help of the Sequoyah NAJA Chapter, the Cherokee Nation and local community leaders, NAJA plans to honor the successes of Native journalists and tribal media Aug. 9-12 in Tulsa, Okla.
Highlights include: A plenary session, "Mascots and Stereotypes: Solutions," with Bernard Franklin, senior vice president for NCAA Governance and Membership; Louis Gray, president of the Tulsa Indian Council Against Racism; and Suzan Shown Harjo, president of the Morning Star Institute
A luncheon panel, "Free Press in Indian Country," with Jane Kirtley, former executive director of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, and director of the University of Minnesota's Sihla Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication; and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith, who drafted the Cherokee Free Press Act approved by the tribal council in 2000
Student Banquet keynote speaker Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.
A broadcast track.
A student and beginning journalist track.
A free, half-day business boot camp by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.
A guide to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) laws sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Also included will be:
Advanced editing, writing, photography, ethics, reporting and television production seminars by the Poynter Institute, Native American Public Telecommunications, National Public Radio, Society of News Design, The Tulsa Word, The Oklahoman and the University of Oklahoma's journalism department.
A golf tournament.
An ecology tour of Tar Creek, a once active lead and zinc mining area now home to the neighboring Miami, Modoc, Ottawa, Peoria, Quapaw, Seneca-Cayuga, Shawnee and Wyandotte tribes.
Entertainment by comedy duo James and Ernie.
A special screening of "Indian Country Diaries," a two-part PBS series exploring how new-found casino wealth has changed the fortunes of Native Americans.
For more information, go to
TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE or OPINION PIECE to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
NATIVE UNITY - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.
Visit Vietnam Vet. Larry Mitchell at http://www.potawatomivet.com and click on his blog at the site.