the lakota people's definition of sustainability

“…honoring those who came before us. Meeting the needs of the present generation, not compromising the future so that the coming generations are able to meet their own needs and guide our vision and renew each cycle of life.”

i’ve heard these words before, but most recently i heard them from crystal lameman on think indigenous who was quoting them from her mentor, winona laduke, who was quoting them from the oglala lakota people in the thunder valley community development plan.

on monday night at ceremony for adrienne’s time with us here in boston, zumbi was speaking and said that he believed the way forward would be found in indigeneity: with folks indigenous to this land in north america as well as folks with indigenous connections to africa who were stolen and brought here against their will. in some ways, i have been coming to that conclusion myself (though i’m actually not sure of the role of stolen africans here - in some ways, we know the land differently and more intimately than slaveholders, but is that enough?).

anyway, i’ve been gravitating towards indigenous knowledge lately because it seems that it is the way forward along many axes (axis plural?). this statement of the lakota people may have to make it into my vision statement review in early january. it seems so simple and yet so life-consuming. there’s so much for me to learn. each little subphrase of those two sentences is like months of work. how do i honor those who came before us? how do i work to meet the needs of the present generation? how do i live in a way that doesn’t compromise the future (and am i responsible for making sure others in my community do the same)? etc. etc.

this also makes me think of the 7 generations frame of thinking from… i’m not sure which people (but i intend to find out). and it makes me wonder what language like this my ancestors had/have.

regardless of where it comes from, i deeply believe that life creates the conditions for more life (i heard that somewhere, too). and things that diminish the possibility for more life are antithetical to life and goodness. so the question really is how to live in a way that makes more life possible?

maybe this is my framing question for next year…

words / writing / post-processing
388w / 11min / 14min