Each indigenous culture is distinct and unique. While many peoples may express similar worldviews and a common indigenous identity, their cultures are nonetheless based on different histories, environments, and creative spirits.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the inherent dignity, equality, and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. The rights of all members of indigenous populations are included in this declaration. However, Indigenous Peoples also have rights as distinct cultural groups or nations.

 

Indigenous people are people defined in international or national legislation as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory, and their cultural or historical distinctiveness from other populations that are often politically dominant. The concept of indigenous people defines these groups as particularly vulnerable to exploitation, marginalization and oppression by nation states that may still be formed from the colonising populations, or by politically dominant ethnic groups. As a result, a special set of political rights in accordance with international law have been set forth by international organizations such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the World Bank. The United Nations has issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to guide member-state national policies to collective rights of indigenous people—such as culture, identity, language, and access to employment, health, education, and natural resources. Although no definitive definition of "indigenous peoples" exists, estimates put the total population of post-colonial indigenous peoples who seek human rights and discrimination redress from 220 million to 350 million.

"In the world of the powerful there is no space for anyone but  themselves and their servants. In our world everyone has a place. Only those who give up their history are consigned to oblivion. On the vacant ground of today, there will grow a flower of tomorrow."

Mankind 'IS' the product of his ancestors."

 

 

 

First People of America and Canada Turtle Island

 

 

This Week in North
American Indian History

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"Mankind must be a steward of the Earth - Caretakers for all that dwells upon it."

 

"Whenever we walk on the Earth, we should pay attention to what is going on. Too often our minds are somewhere else, thinking about the past or thinking about the future. When we do this, we are missing important lessons. The Earth is a constant flow of lessons and learnings which also include a constant flow of positive feelings. If we are aware as we walk, we will gather words for our lives, the lessons to help our children; we will gather feelings of interconnectedness and calmness. When we experience this, we should say or think thoughts of gratitude. When we do this, the next person to walk on the sacred path will benefit even more."

 

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." 

 

"Treat this earth well: it is not a present from your parents, it is on loan to your children. The people who enrich their minds are those who keep their history on the leaves of memory. Not to be aware of the past is to be eternally a child, but for those of us who forget the past will be condemned to repeat it."

 

"In this spiritual culture of the Sun, God as Father is wisdom and He lives in the throne within us between the two physical eyes known as the third eye. That is the eternal spiritual Father, who never leaves us. God as Mother is love and she lives in the Temple of the love. Our Father and Mother are one. They never separate and they never divorce, because they are conscious."

"When will we ever begin to understand the meaning of the soil underneath our feet?
From a tiny grain of sand to the largest mountain, everything is sacred.

Our living saints are the evergreen trees. We have no buildings or steeples. The landscape and lakes are our churches and cathedrals. These are our sacred buildings.

Yesterday and tomorrow exist forever upon our mother, the earth."


"Not to be aware of the past is to be eternally a child, but for those of us who forget the past will be condemned to repeat it.

We are more than the sum of all our knowledge, we are the products of our imagination.

"When the last red man shall have become a myth among the white men, when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, upon the highway or in the silence of pathless woods, we and our ancestors will be there standing among them. We have lived upon this land from days beyond history's records,far past any living memory, deep into the time of legends."

 

"I prefer my journeys into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty brooks, and the sweet fragrance of flowers. If this be Paganism, then I am honored to be called a Pagan."


It is estimated that there are more than 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 countries worldwide. Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Spread across the world from the Arctic to the South Pacific. They are the descendants - according to a common definition - of those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. The new arrivals later became dominant through conquest, occupation, settlement or other means.

 

DEFINING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
There is no rigid definition of what makes a group Indigenous, but the United Nations and the International Labour Organization have outlined a few characteristics that usually define an Indigenous group:

● We are descended from the pre-colonial/pre-invasion inhabitants of our region.
● We maintain a close tie to our land in both our cultural and economic practices.
● We suffer from economic and political marginalization as a minority group.
● A group is considered Indigenous if it defines itself that way.

Each Indigenous group is unique. We speak thousands of different languages, and our traditions are as diverse as our lands. However, there are basic principles that all Indigenous communities share. These principles are the foundation of all Indigenous practices, and it is because of them that our economies and our societies are equitable, balanced, and sustainable.

 

On individual basis, an indigenous person is one who self-identifies as indigenous (group consciousness), and is recognized and accepted by these populations as one of its members (acceptance by the group). This working definition is recognised and employed by international and rights-based non-governmental organizations, as well as among national/sub-national governments themselves. However, the degree to which indigenous peoples' rights and issues are accepted and recognised in practical instruments such as treaties and other binding and non-binding agreements varies, sometimes considerably, from the application of the above definition.

Academics who define indigenous peoples as "living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. They are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler societies born of forces of empire and conquest" have encountered criticism as they fail to consider regions and states where indigenous peoples constitute a majority as in PRCFijiBolivia, and Mexico, or where the entire population is indigenous, as in IcelandTonga and the Papua New-Guinea.

 

Legal definitions of indigenousness have changed over time to reflect the changing perceptions of the people within the framework of conceptualisation Indigenousness.



 Today I will share the Seven Directions as I was taught when I was young. Though some tribes use different colors to mark the cardinal points and different herbs to cleanse A good example is the Cherokee who use blue to designate the West instead of Black. Probably because they were the only tribe I know of that owned slaves and thus see black as a danger be it skin color or what ever.


I will start in the North. I was taught that North represents both beginning and endings. It is the direction of all things material. The direction where anything found in the material. In fact Grandmother told me of a Seneca tale that in the far north is a place of power. It is a swirling field of power in which all things found on Earth come from. It is interesting that Seneca women when I was young wove baskets to sell to the tourist, which depicted this place as a cornucopia. This is where the human spirit enters the world from. The color representing North is White and it's herb is Sweetgrass, which has a delightful odor and is used when calling for any material change in life.


In the East is the child and the future. the direction of the Sunrise. This is the direction of the Eagle or hawk who carry our prayers into the sky. It is the direction we face and the spirit we call upon when we are beginning anything new. That our actions will be best for all. Thus the burning of tobacco when beginning a council, which carries our prayers skyward. That the desired results will benefit all. anytime I am about to start something new I go to the East and seek guidance that what I am about to do will be good for all.


In the South is the adult, both men and women and all creatures who reproduce them self. It is also the place of the Wolf spirit which signifies love and respect for all. I use burning cedar to overcome negativity in any home, office or any dwelling which people congregate in. I also burn Cedar to help bring people closer and in marriage ceremonies. It was used when me and others had our coming of age ceremony.


In the west is the home of the elders, it is the home also of wisdom and strength. It's color is black. It's Spirit is either the bear or the Ant. It's herb is Sage. Burnt to cleanse the spirit prior to all ceremony. It is also used in healing and before any telling of the old ways. It is also the place we call on the ancestors to intervene on our behalf.


The next direction is the below. Our mother the Earth. The direction of being connected. The place where all foods and all medicine come from. It's spirit is the corn mother and such is used in some ceremonies including the beginning of healing for anything or any body.


The next direction is above. This is the direction of all energy and all growth for it was grandfather sun who made mother earth pregnant that we her children might have life.


The final direction is within. the place where all the other directions meet and manifest. the place of meditation and renewal of body, mind and spirit.