Healing With Indigenous Peoples

Healing With Indigenous Peoples

Stephen Dinan
Stephen Dinan:
CEO of The Shift Network

One of the clear messages I've received over the years with Shift is how important it is for us to support healing work with Indigenous Peoples and to partner with them on bringing their wisdom forward and empowering their communities.

I believe this healing is at the heart of the shift to a sustainable, wise way of living on our planet. The recognition of this truth is part of why we activate trips to Peru and also feature many indigenous faculty such as Grandmother Flordemayo (see previous Shift programs here).

Locally, in Nevada City, where we live, there's an important opportunity in the next few days to support a Land Back moment with the Nisenan, who have not had land since they were disenfranchised as a tribe. They now have the opportunity to purchase 232 acres on historic Nisenan land that is also a functioning retreat center. I invite you to support this effort to raise the final amount of funding by April 4th, as it will benefit not only the local group but they will have a retreat center that can feature more indigenous wisdom voices in the years to come. 

The Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan and Executive Director of CHIRP, Shelly Covert (a friend of ours), said “Returning to this land is a dream we barely dare dream. It is a big ask and there is little time but we have hope because of the ever-growing understanding and allyship about Native Land Back and because of the healing promise of this vision for All of us.”

Can you contribute something to this important effort and be part of healing the collective wounds of the past? You can do so here.

On other fronts, we are blessed to have several indigenous grandmothers, including Grandmother Flordemayo, joining us on this year's Sacred Journey to Peru in December, which still has a few spots left. It will be a unique blessing for what is already a life-changing trip. I'll be there myself!

And I encourage you each to explore ways big and small that you can be part of the healing. In 2012, I co-developed a Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples that 10,000 people signed from the Shift audience and we presented to members of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. That Declaration isn't available on the Internet at the moment but I'm pasting it below so that you can read it and choose to make your own commitment and take your own actions, if you are called.

Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples

Humanity faces a time in our evolving story when we must harvest our deepest collective wisdom in order to survive and even thrive as a healthy, peaceful and sustainable planetary civilization.

In the course of humanity’s journey we have many great achievements to celebrate and honor but we have to acknowledge what has been misguided, damaging to each other and harmful to all life. It is time for healing and a new beginning.

Great skill is now needed to reconnect the bonds of our collective interdependence on behalf of all of Earth’s diverse peoples and cultures and to restore an original contract with our planet’s eco-system and its intricate design for all life.

We cannot evolve skillfully at this vital juncture in our collective story if we fail to integrate the teachings of our wisdom keepers.

Both reason and conscience require that the precious wisdom of Earth’s Indigenous peoples be fully acknowledged. Their skillful ways of living in harmony with Nature and its laws have too often been marginalized and ignored.

Humanity has paid a great price for destructive actions committed against Indigenous peoples. In the name of religion, profit and progress, some of humanity’s greatest knowledge about the interrelationship of all life forms has been placed in jeopardy.

Increasing numbers of people now recognize the importance of supporting the transmission of this essential wisdom.

It is in this spirit of deep recognition and appreciation for the value of Indigenous wisdom that we, the signatories to this declaration, hereby proclaim our commitment to the following:

Apology is due to Indigenous peoples for the suppression and violation of their cultures and ways of being. We invite communities, institutions, local authorities and governments to formally and informally offer sincere apology for past actions that resulted in cultural oppression and denigration.

Responsibility for past violations, wounding and discrimination must be expressed in truthful historical narratives and educational materials. We recommend the formation of local and national initiatives to take responsibility for the past and explore the nature of Indigenous wisdom. We encourage support for the production of a wide array of accessible media and curricular materials to set the record straight and ensure the accurate and appropriate transmission of Native wisdom teachings.

Reconciliation must be sought so that healing may occur between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. We call on representatives of public and private institutions to seek ways to engage in meaningful acts and processes of reconciliation through ceremony, presentations and gatherings.

Collaboration in multiple contexts relating to health, environment, sustainable economies and educational opportunities will constitute an essential dimension of expressing sincere apology, acknowledging responsibility and fostering reconciliation. To these ends we encourage collaboration with Indigenous communities and institutions to optimize our collective learning and healing in this pivotal time for all humanity.

We, the undersigned, pledge our commitment to these ideals and the promotion of concrete actions to support respect for Indigenous peoples, a shared partnership for life on Earth and the transmission of our collective wisdom.