What does it mean to live in a world where we are all connected? How does one not know that what happens to one of our relatives, be they human species, four legged or tree nation, will impact all? Why would one have such a difficult time creating an appropriate response to the conditions of our earth and its inhabitants?
From an indigenous perspective it is commonly understood that to address any issue, one must first gather the knowledge and wisdom from all. Until recently the knowledge and wisdom of the indigenous populations has been for the most part invisible and when visible, ignored.
We human beings are in a state of emergency. Survival as a species is on the table and yet, to date, we remain divisive in our response. Some are still arguing over the condition itself, caught in the blame and shame of it. Meanwhile, the wisdom of the indigenous voice is often dismissed by those who find it inconvenient, dangerous, and radical. Radical because it requires a complete departure from a current individualistic worldview.
So, here we are today, with all the challenging conditions of the world we live in. We are experiencing the destruction of earth. Some will hold fast to the belief that we as human beings have not made a significant contribution to the destruction. The indigenous understanding of our role in the care of all life appears to be falling on deaf ears. Past and present contributions to healing from indigenous sources is critical to addressing the current world conditions on this earth. Within an indigenous perspective, healing the sacred hoop of humanity, requires all aspects of our human earth walk be attended to; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. An indigenous view embraces the idea that all things are connected.
The connections and inter-relational lines are part of the thought pattern that comes with a world relational view. It is not an individual concern or, a collective concern. There is no “or” there is only “and”. Individual healing is dependent on collective healing, any pandemic will demonstrate that. What holds true in one aspect, in this case, physical, will hold true in another. We see this in the increasing rates of mental health distress. This is all part of natural law.
Let us start with some of the physical aspects of healing. First, let us look at the physical nature of our being. Food and medicine are interconnected for the prevention of illness and the support of wellness. Food as medicine to treat certain conditions is another contribution that indigenous population have and continue to make. The indigenous knowledge around nutrition and medicinal uses of natural substances are not often included in strategies to address health crisis. For example, Mullen, and it’s use as an expectorant and to support lung health. Proper harvesting protocol to ensure its effectiveness has been shared. Medicines are monetized and have become a source of greed and corruption. This demonstrates how when protocol is ignored the results have a negative impact on overall health. Climate justice, including food sovereignty, sacred seed saving and sustainable harvesting practices for food is a place where indigenous knowledge can assist in addressing the current health needs. When one operates out of a respect for natural law there are benefits from food sources that can aid in healing.
Moving into the mental aspects of our healing led me to look at how we define being of good mind. We have learned that cultural connections can aid us and encourage resiliency when we experience loss or trauma. Many risks are present in our communities across the earth. We also have many places that are pockets of resiliency. What is it that can be gleaned from that resiliency? There are some common factors. Creating a sense of belonging, connection and hope are among the strongest indicators of how one maintains a “good mind”. Relying on the collective intelligence beyond the arrogance of the human beings. Natural Law teaches us how to be of good mind. This wisdom is especially needed at this time as we need that collective intelligence from all to inform the future.
When I think of emotions, I think of the heart. I think of the women as the caretakers of the heart. It is said that our human journey is over when women’s hearts are on the ground. The emotions that bring humor, compassion and gratitude are essential to well-being. Imagine the necessary role humor plays when one recognizes the gravity of the situation. There are many examples throughout horrific circumstances that speak to this. The gift of laughter to create a livable levity is significant. Compassion for other human beings and ourselves’ is needed to begin to heal the wounds of the past. Everything is built upon gratitude for being on this earth walk. The emotions are here to guide us in right behavior, in how to be a good relative, walking in a good way, fulfilling one’s purpose.
When I think about the spiritual aspect and contributions of our indigenous world relational view, it is that from the earliest times, the people, all peoples were earth based. Many within indigenous communities believe in a broader definition of spirituality then is commonly practiced. This contribution allows one to expand and honor the spirit that moves through all things. That spark of life that connects us all, even to the very rocks on the shores outside my home. They are called grandfather for a reason. Once one understands that reason, they will be closer to living within a world relational view. Within that view is this idea that we must mend the sacred hoop of humanity and that it is not only the way of the indigenous that is needed, but also the ways of all peoples, from all directions. and from all disciplines and beliefs. In most of our indigenous languages, when we speak of children, we speak of the sacred ones. We are told to look upon our actions with the thought of how it will support the future generations. Every decision should be made with the next seven generations in mind.
Here we are in the time that our ancestors spoke about, where once again, the human being would begin to remember what they had forgotten; We belong to each other. We are relatives and we can love, thank, and respect each other as good relatives do. We can begin by listening deeply to each other even when it is hard. We are all related.