Indigenous peoples of the Amazon share message with the world

Global Research, April 26, 2017

We, the traditional authorities and elected leaders of the Uitoto, Muinane, Andoque and Nonuya peoples of the Middle Rio Caquetá region of the Colombian Amazon are in Bogotá between the 25th and 28th of April to represent our peoples and our Traditional Association of Indigenous Authorities – the Regional Indigenous Council of Middle Amazonas (CRIMA) in meetings with different State institutions and international agencies. We self-identify ourselves as the “People of the Centre” and heirs of the Green Territory of Life in the Amazon rainforest.

We are here to demand guarantees for our rights and to share concerns regarding forest, climate change and biodiversity projects that affect our territory, including the National Parks Department’s Heart of the Amazon Project supported by the World Bank and Global Environment Facility, and the Vision Amazonia Programme funded by the UK, Germany and Norway. We wish to express concerns that these programmes are undermining our principles of consent and participation and are applying processes that are not appropriate for our way of thinking and decision making.

Asserting our rights: Under our Law of Origin, and in accordance with our uses and customs, we have maintained a respectful relationship with our territory and the natural world. Before colonisation, our ancestors lived well. More than a century ago the cauchería came to exploit, enslave and displace our peoples, and almost exterminated us. We are the survivors of that genocide. We have since been reconstructing our society by building our malocas (ceremonial houses) and practising our ritual dances using the Word of Life and the wisdom of our elders. Since the 1970’s, our Cabildos (Councils) and Traditional Association of Indigenous Authorities have undertaken collective actions to legally securing our territory and to claim our rights.

Messages of the People of the Centre

To the Colombian government: We are not here to ask for projects. We want the national government to fully recognise our autonomy and our rights to govern our territory. We wish to see our applications for the extension of Reserves of Monochoa, Puerto Sábalo-Los Monos and Aduche properly processed and titled in favour of our communities to consolidate the Territory of Life belonging to the People of the Centre. In addition, we seek the formation and legal registration of an Indigenous Territorial Entity under our full jurisdiction in order to manage, administer and preserve our traditional territory and forests and maintain our way of life.

To international institutions: We inform the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, donor governments and cooperation agencies of Germany, the United Kingdom and Norway, that they must reach agreements directly with us, as our ancestors did. They did not talk to outsiders by means of third parties. We don’t want to have the interference of intermediaries such as NGOs and environmental funds: we seek a direct relationship between programmes, international donors and our traditional authorities. We demand that we are recognised and respected as environmental authorities in our own territory, with our own indigenous system of territorial ordering. We demand that the agencies respect our rights to own, manage and control our territory. To this end, we seek formal steps to develop and implement a Safeguard Plan for our peoples.

To the world: These demands are not just our concerns. Many other peoples in the Amazon and the world have similar claims and proposals for protecting peoples’ rights and sustaining the forests. When we say that we manage our territory and have our own government we are not talking about nature as an object or natural resource, but rather as a space with natural beings with whom we relate guided by our Word of Life and mutual respect. We want to let the world know what “territory” means to us. This week we will share the teachings of the Muinane people about our care of territory. The Uitoto, Andoque and Nonuya peoples have been working in the same direction in documenting our ways of managing and preserving the rainforests. We want to invite all the Peoples of the Centre, America and other parts of the world to join us in this effort to defend life and territory.

Contacts:
Hernando Castro, Regional Indigenous Council of Middle Amazonas: hecasu68@yahoo.es
Tom Griffiths, FPP: tom@forestpeoples.org
Camilla Capasso, FPP: camilla@forestpeoples.org

The future of us: why nature, trees, and children matter

By Nina Beety
Global Research, December 23, 2015

This is a magnificent universe.

Everything is alive and conscious. Children know that. Indigenous people know that. And in your bones, you know that. It is your deepest dream and desire.

Atoms and particles are alive. Where else would life and consciousness come from? Everything around us has life, from the atomic level on up. You are surrounded by friends and allies. You are not alone.

How is it that we turn our backs on such a glorious reality? Why do we cut ourselves off from such knowledge, learning, communication, and friendship?

The secret life of plants

Westerners often wonder how indigenous people know what plants to use for healing. The simple answer is: the plants tell them. Indigenous people cultivate relationships with the creatures around them. All of us can do that.

In 1966, polygraph expert Clive Backster hooked up his house plant to a lie detector machine to see if it would indicate when it needed watering. Instead, he made very different discoveries. He found that plants have profound awareness, they feel pain, they have a range of emotions, they go into shock when overwhelmed with events or emotions, they exhibit compassion and love, they communicate with each other instantaneously across distance without regard to distance, they telegraph threats to each other, they care about the people who care for them, and they connect with those people across distances. These discoveries, as well as those by other people, are detailed in The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.

Biophilia is the birthright of every human – real fellowship with all living beings. It is no wonder that many humans, particularly in Western society, feel so lost and alone. This level of relationship is what we’re made for.

Nature is reality and wisdom

Trees, plants, and mycelium are chief examples of the highest species on Earth.

They are integrated into existence, into life. They are rooted and interact and interface with the very elements which are the foundation of life. Think of that.

Their interaction with the earth includes this essential rootedness to a place and to the Earth. Humans, the most mobile species, are the least connected. Mobility comes at a high cost: connection and belonging. When home and rootedness are removed, with its related earth wisdom, humans are lost — uncertain who they are, unhappy, refugees and aliens in their own land, prey to hucksters, reduced to survival, their moral base gone. Look around.

The wise thing to do is to root and land, to learn from trees and plants, to connect to place, and to spend time outside sitting, listening, and seeing.

Children are most connected to rootedness, and they grow deeper, stronger, calmer, wiser, healthier, more compassionate, and more independent the more time they are in nature and with trees. They are our teachers. The most important thing for communities and our world is to free children to spend their time outside so they can show us how to be connected.

In a healthy society, every child would have a connection to trees, would have their own garden, would have special places outdoors, and would be expert in the nuances, the seasons, the species, the sounds, and the wisdom of those places. Those places would be laboratories of learning and study. Each child would be a teacher of his or her discoveries. Children would be leaders in our communities.

The more connected humans are, the more content and capable they are and the less need for material things, for status, or to be placated or soothed. We become free when we are connected.

Freedom is our birthright. Examples surround us — wolves, horses, prairie dogs, coyotes, snakes, streams and rivers, mountains, trees, and children. These are our teachers and mentors.

Happiness and creating the future

Plants and trees harm no one in order to live. Think of that. This is true of bees and butterflies and other species. They are life-positive. They take what they need to live and harm no one. Their lives are a constant and beautiful gift, full of abundance, and they are essential for the rest of us. The oxygen alone from trees and plants makes our lives possible.

What vast wisdom is in these life-nourishing people that use no violence. To create thriving, diverse, happy, and healthy societies, we begin by sitting at their feet and listening and learning.

Universities of life

Skills permeate every bit of life from the atomic level, as well as

  • resources
  • insights, knowledge, and wisdom
  • community
  • values, and
  • love

They are intrinsic to life, a part of the “is-ness” of reality. They are in cells, molecules, atoms, particles, and light. They are part of all beings.

The highest education is the most connected to nature, the most rooted and local-based, the most integrated, and the least technological, with only the most porous of walls. The true universities are outdoors and integrated with nature. The best universities would be the forests.

Can you talk with trees and plants? Can you hear nature’s wisdom and messages? Are you rooted and connected to a place? What do you know about your home? These are the most important skills and knowledge.

Places of learning would be typified by diversity and teaching flowing back and forth; all would be students and teachers. No degrees or pieces of paper. One’s life is the only reliable proof of learning and wisdom.

This type of education would be free. No college debt. And no SAT, GRE, or ACT tests required.

Real world skills would include creating new healthy systems of food, water, energy, building, and production, eliminating waste, and recycling. Each person would discover for themselves what is good and valuable and important.

These learning places would be characterized by languages, community, healing arts. They would be everywhere — vibrant, pulsating with honest, open dialogue, with life and happiness, authentic, open, heart-based, and earth-based, for all ages and species. Each would learn many skills.

Trees, plants, mycelium, and other species transmute elements by the “technology” of their own beings. Water responds to spoken or written words. What incredible skill sets to include in any curriculum.

Trees

Trees are very special among Earth’s people. Wise and beautiful, their deep, abiding qualities have been honored throughout time, and many regard them as sacred.

As a long-lived people, they acquire a deep wisdom and perspective. Because they are place-based, they embody and create home. They are protectors, strong, often tall, fragrant hiding places for people large and small, with fruits and flowers available to all, and amazing voices. They offer deep and soul-nourishing friendship to all who wish it.

They are our hope for the future. The Ents of J.R.R. Tolkein’s stories were not a huge stretch of the imagination. Trees are wisdom keepers, mentors, teachers, and friends.

Trees are people. They are not fuel or building material or oxygen factory. They are not extra or unimportant. They are living, breathing, feeling, tremendously wise and good people. When humans cut down a tree, they murder a person. Protecting trees is of the very highest importance.

Trees can help us be at home, wherever we are on Earth. Their friendship can bring us joy, fulfillment, and peace. Trees are willing to be a part of our lives into the future.

Trees are the master teachers living everywhere who can help us create life and peace, prosperity and health beyond the 7th generation. They stand ready to be partners in creating communities brimming with life and happiness.

Healing life

The only hope for the world is if we realize the reality and goodness that surrounds us, if we start paying attention to all the people, whether they have leaves, bark, fins, wings, horns, fur, scales, feathers, cilia, many legs, or no legs, and understand, in the midst of all the other benefits, that we belong to a community of extraordinary people.

Our partners wait. The future is possible. The rest is up to us.

 

Nina Beety is a researcher, writer, and public speaker on foreign policy, the environment, and wireless radiation hazards. Her 2012 report for public officials “Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems: Legislative Solutions” is on her website http://www.smartmeterharm.org. She lives in Monterey, California.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/our-future-nature-children-and-the-moral-imperative-of-saving-trees/5497589