Haudenosaunee Environmental Restoration:
An Indigenous Strategy for Human Sustainability
A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE...
We Give Greetings to the Natural World.
We, the Haudenosaunee, bring our case to the United Nations to draw international to the environmental issues affecting the indigenous communities in North America¹
The Earth Summit was held at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Under the initiative of the Chiefs of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Faithkeeper Oren Lyons proposed to launch an environmental strategy to initiate the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1994. The environmental strategy of the Haudenosaunee constitutes one of the first comprehensive indigenous responses to Chapter 26 of Agenda 21 formulated at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy has an ancient tradition of nationhood developed long before European settlement. A messenger called the Peacemaker inspired the union of five indigenous Nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca. This matrilineal system of clan families established a great league of peace under laws and protocols of the Gianashanagowa: The Great Law of Peace. This council of women and men govern today to carry out sacred ceremonies and to meet in council for the welfare of the people. The Peacemaker made a house and the rafters of the house symbolized the laws set down. We are called the Haudenosaunee: The People of the Long House.
The Tuscarora Nation came under Haudenosaunee protection between 1713 and 1722 under the Oneida Nation. They became the Sixth Nation.
The environmental philosophy is to harvest only what you can eat or use, consider the Seven Unborn Generations, and give thanks.
The first Section of the Haudenosaunee Restoration Strategy, we discuss treaties signed with Great Britain and the United States of America. Treaty relationships brought about respect, honor, integrity and the ability of the Haudenosaunee to move around our original Territories unimpeded, without any interference from outside governments. As a result, we gave up some of our Territories in the United States and Canada in return for peace with our neighbors.
The Haudenosaunee Restoration Strategy reflects the environmental issues facing the Haudenosaunee encompassing traditional Haudenosaunee Territories. The Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force has members appointed by their traditional councils from the Six Nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora. Under the organization of a 'tribal consortium' the United States Environmental Protection Agency has funded HETF under their General Assistance Program to work, in part, on various environmental issues.
[1 Whitney Annunzita, Janice, Haudenosaunee Environmental Restoration: An Indigenous Strategy for Human Sustainability, Indigenous Development International, Cambridge England, 1995 p 3]
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