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  Seeing God everywhere—the sanctity of nature Back to the List of Slideshows
slide 8 of 17

Oren Lyons’ moving essay “Our Mother Earth” makes a plea for the rights of nature to be balanced with the “human rights” that we are so quick to support, and he warns of the consequences if this does not happen soon:
We went to Geneva—the Six Nations, and the great Lakota nation—as representatives of the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere.  We went to Geneva, and we spoke in the forum of the United Nations.…And what was the message that we gave?  There is a hue and cry for human rights—human rights, they said, for all people.  And the indigenous people said:  What of the rights of the natural world?  Where is the seat for the buffalo or the eagle?  Who is representing them here in this forum?  Who is speaking for the waters of the earth?  Who is speaking for the trees and the forests?  Who is speaking for the fish—for the whales, for the beavers, for our children?  We said: Given this opportunity to speak in this international forum, then it is our duty to say that we must stand for these people, and the natural world and its rights; and also for the generations to come.  We would not fulfill our duty if we did not say that. It becomes important because without the water, without the trees, there is no life.…You think about it.…When you are sick and when your children are sick, you remember what the Indian said to you about water.

We are indigenous people to this land. We are like a conscience. We are small, but we are not a minority. We are the landholders, we are the land keepers; we are not a minority. For our brothers are all the natural world, and by that we are by far the majority. 
Blackfoot Indians

photo by Roland Reed, 1915
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