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Native Voices



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Indigenous Peoples Exchange - About


What are the core beliefs that are the basis of a healthy society?

Why do some cultures last a few hundred years while others last thousands?

Who can help humanity think long-term when there is tremendous pressure to seek short term gain?


Despite the conventional idea that indigenous peoples have all but disappeared along with their teachings, throughout the world there are courageous representatives of the First Nations who are presenting a deeply compelling alternate world-view to the one that dominates our lives. During the past few years these humble voices for the Earth are getting louder and Sacred Earth Network has been fortunate enough to listen.

The wisest of these voices recall their own prophecies about a time when humans would be consuming the Earth and in response, the keepers of legend, stories, culture, rituals, and myths, and all the ancient tribal customs would be needed to restore the land and people to health. They would represent all four races and be humankind's key to survival. They were called by the Cree and others "Warriors of the Rainbow" and their main strategy is one of unifying superficial differences and cutting through the illusion of separation.


Chief Arvol Looking Horse, one of Native America's foremost spiritual leaders says it well: "We are the watchers. We are the witnesses. We see what has gone before. We see what happens now, at this dangerous moment in human history. We see what's going to happen, what will surely happen unless we come together---we , the Peoples of all Nations---to restore peace, harmony and balance to the Earth, our Mother."

In Siberia, Ai-Tchourek, the dynamic chairwoman of the Tos Deer Shaman's Society in Tuva, Siberia adds: "I want people to stop killing one another. There are many evil spirits in the world. Shamanism is the root of life and people need to help shamans stop the evil. Shamanism is powerful but sometimes evil wins. For this reason she stressed, people everywhere need to "perceive the healing of Mother Earth." "People must come together, respect the Earth, and make ceremonies" she said. "It will be good for them."

Building on its environmental track record in Russia SEN began coordinating indigenous exchanges between Native Siberians and Native Americans in 2001. Elders, shamans, and leaders from both sides are encouraged to share their traditions with one another and, in the process, find mutual solidarity and support, not only among themselves but from the larger community of Natives and Non-Natives they come into contact with. We remain the only group with this particular, ongoing (and hopefully expanding) project focus.

A compelling statement of the need for continuing indigenous peoples exchange work comes from Valentin Hagdaev, a Buryat shaman who participated in the Fall '03 "Indigenous people of Russia and America have the same problems of preserving language, culture and religious traditions. During our meetings with Navajo, Hopi, Tlinket, and others, we came to an important conclusion, that we need to correct this situation together."

Note 1: As we gain more experience with the Native American & Native Russian exchanges, and as funding permits, we plan to expand the exhange to include indigenous peoples from all parts of the world.

Note 2: A large effort is underway to make the Native American-Native
Siberian portion of this exchange Native-owned and operated. See details in coming months.

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every pine needle, every sandy shore, every humming insect is holy...We are part of the earth and it is part of us...This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.

-Chief Seattle


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