FILMS FOR ACTION
FILMS FOR ACTION NEEDS YOUR HELP
We don't run on ads. We run on donations. Please help us by committing $5 a month.

The Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship

By Indigenous Environmental Network / sehn.org
Jul 5, 2018
0
The Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship

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.

THE BEMIDJI STATEMENT ON SEVENTH GENERATION GUARDIANSHIP

"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 the underworld?

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, Tel: 907.222.1714, Email: shawna@akaction.org, Web: www.akaction.org 

Bob Shimek, Mining Campaign Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network, PO Box 485, Bemidji, Minnesota 56619 USA, Tel: 218.751.4867, Email: ienmining@igc.org Web: www.ienearth.org

Trending Videos
Emotional Literacy
Documentaries that Inspire Ecological Consciousness
Free Movies to Watch This Winter
Featured Documentaries

Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

Founded in 2006, our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

  • To dive in, click the Explore button above. You can filter by subject and category at the same time, and sort by newest, most viewed and top-rated.
  • Help us keep the quality of the site high by rating content 1-5 stars.
  • Add videos to our library! Half of our best content was added by members.
  • Have a question or suggestion? Feel free to get in touch.
  • Want to support us and watch some great films in the process? Our $5/mo Patrons get access to 15 of our favorite documentaries.

 

Why join Films For Action?

Goal: To rapidly transition to a just, ecologically sustainable, holistic way of living as fast as possible.

We believe the first step to achieve this goal should be an information delivery network that can amplify the impacts of all our efforts 1000 fold. 

Although Films For Action is centered around film - its true objective is the transformation of the world. This means moving away from the unsustainable paradigm we have now to a regenerative paradigm, as fast as humanly possible.  

Film is the medium of delivery -- the catalyst, the metabolizing agent to speed up, amplify and multiply the effects of every transition movement on the planet. And of course, "transition" contains it all - social justice, ecological regeneration, true democracy, egalitarian economics, universal empathy, less cultural insanity and more happiness and well-being.

All of these movements need a media ecosystem that supports this transition, rather than the media we have today which marginalizes it, ignores it, sanitizes it, suppresses it, or actively fights it. There is certainly good coverage across many different news outlets, and the quality and depth varies, but in terms of volume, the good stuff is easily lost in the deluge of superficial concerns.

Watch any network TV channel for 24 hours or read the newspaper for a week, and you will see what we mean. The dominant narratives which drive the national debate and become "common knowledge" is more often superficial, focused on symptoms rather than root causes, and reinforces the conventional "two sides" within the status quo. The lies and spin promoted by figures in power become well known, while voices that challenge and expand the range of debate rarely get heard. But most importantly, the level of repetition and volume of coverage is what counts. What gets covered day after day, and what gets covered once and is forgotten, or not covered at all? That's why we need a media movement that's dedicated to elevating the voices that aren't getting heard. We need media alternatives that make social change its primary focus. That's why Films For Action exists.

Ultimately, we're just one star in this growing constellation of new media, but we aim to do our part by cultivating the best video library dedicated to transition online, and we hope you'll join us