We live in extraordinary times. There is a global seeding of potent possibility and a totally new way of being in the world. People are waking up to the urgent imperative to protect the environment and come together as communities to assert power in the face of mass destruction of the natural world.
Following from last year’s unprecedented gathering at Standing Rock to protect the water, which was the largest gathering of Indigenous tribes in the last 150 years, actions around the world have been galvanised by the powerful community that was created. This peaceful action sparked an outpouring of support and inspired other environmental actions around the world, highlighting the importance of defending what is sacred.
Recently an international gathering on sacred activism took place in Portugal, focusing on envisioning a global alternative that supports all life. Indigenous elders and youth from around 40 countries with experience in sacred activism, joined together to reconcile indigenous wisdom with futuristic thinking. They united to share what is sacred to them and decide how to defend it against today’s threats of war and exploitation. This meeting was convened to hold ceremony and build community, to heal wounds of historic trauma, and work on visions for a healed Earth.
Nature Shows Us the Way
The event was organised by Tamera, a peace research project with the goal of creating a model for a future society that is free from hatred, lies, violence, and fear, and has been working for peace since the 1970s. Co-founder, Sabine Lichtenfels, says it is vital that we rediscover trust and community and embed the family in a bigger organism, just like nature shows us.
There is a deep wound in humanity where we all are traumatised in a way…we all lost our tribal community and living together in trust. So to feel compassion, we have to find out way back to trust.
We stand up to protect life wherever we are. From the depth of our being comes a NO against the insanity of this world. No to any violence, to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people. No to a system of injustice, racism, and war, to all hypocrisy and lies. – Tamera
A Planetary Movement
Activists came from all over the world to be part of the 10-day journey to come together in a peaceful setting, to connect, reflect and work out how what began at Standing Rock last year can turn into a planetary movement.
We come together to connect with the original indigenous wisdom of building community within all of us. Beyond all religions, we want to rediscover the sacredness of life and root our political activism in it. To defend the sacred, we need to know what is sacred. – Tamera
LaDonna Bravebull Allard, initiator of the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock said at the event:
I stood up for the water and the world stood with us, so I came here to stand with you. We have no choice, we must stand up for the water and we must stand up now!
Sacred activists from as far apart as Palestine and the Philippines, along with Native Americans, and leaders of social movements across the globe, took an amazing step for the planet in the creation of an agreement for defending all life.
An Agreement for Defending All Life
The key points of the manifesto were collectively agreed upon as a foundation for a global alliance to defend the sacred:
- Building upon the peaceful opposition seeded during the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock in 2016, we work on building a globally unified alliance that transcends cultures, borders, and beliefs.
- We unite as a planetary community to midwife a transition to a world where we humans no longer dominate but cooperate with the sacred alliance of life.
- Evoking our indigenous wisdom, we work to acknowledge the rights of the Earth and live in communion with nature and all beings, embracing this planet as one interdependent family.
- We acknowledge that our collective trauma keeps us in a cycle of continued violence and separation and work to consciously address and heal it. Healing the wounds of the past is essential to creating a culture of peace.
- To catalyze a global system change and create a culture of peace, we develop social and ecological systems aligned with the matrix of life that unify and interconnect all that lives.
- We support the emergence of regenerative models, like Healing Biotopes and a network of interconnected, autonomous communities of trust, to contribute to global peace.
- We commit to defending the sacred—for the water, the earth, the air, for our children and all generations that will come after us. Mni Wiconi—water is life. Life is sacred. It is this sacredness that we defend.
The manifesto is signed by leading activists from around the world–indigenous elders and youth from North America, (including initiators from Standing Rock), Colombia, Israel, Palestine, Brazil, Bolivia, Kenya, the Philippines, and Europe. You can read the full manifesto here.
Indifference is the fascism of our time. It’s time for us all to stand up for the world we live in, to do what is right and to rediscover our shared humanity, opening our hearts to each other in an unprecedented way that could change the face of the world forever. We owe it to future generations to defend what is sacred and to preserve it for the ones to come. – Hans de Boer
A Powerful Stand for the Earth
It is a courageous and powerful stand for the Earth. The manifesto is part of a growing movement and conversation taking place around the world, and Tamera is encouraging people to study the manifesto with friends and community, and share insights, questions, and ideas on how we can work together to protect nature and all of life.
For me personally, I love to go to crisis areas with small groups to face the pain. We have to learn to face the pain. As long as we don’t face the pain in the world, we shut our door and we don’t want to know. And by facing the pain, I also need hope. So I have to work out where I can be nourished. And nature teaches us this. We can look at nature and work out how peace arises. – Sabine Lichtenfels