Indigenous Wisdom

Much of the Cochabamba declaration is about politics, but it is politics with a basis in the spirituality of indigenous peoples. Here is one statement from the declaration expressing this view.  It is very different from the perspective of mainstream society.

It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings.   We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship.   To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:

  • harmony and balance among all and with all things;
  • complementarity, solidarity, and equality;
  • collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;
  • people in harmony with nature;
  • recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;
  • elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;
  • peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth;

Like the Earth Charter, this statement puts peace, social and economic justice, and ecological integrity at the top of the ethical agenda, in the place of the “ethics” of greed, militarism, and exploitation that dominate political decision making in much of the world.  Perhaps it’s time to ignore our leaders and listen to our hearts.

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