Seen through the eyes of indigenous understandings, this is a story of separation and return. In the famous words of poet, T.S. Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
In the journey into modernity, many have forgotten our deep communion with all of creation. Indigenous wisdom offers pathways of re-connection. Indigenous stories tell us about our Oneness with the Earth and how we are part of an interdependent living system; our Oneness with the animals and plants and how all species are companions on this journey; and our Oneness with the Universe, our cosmic home from which we emerge and into which we transition. Finally, they tell us about our Oneness with Self and the divinity from which we come. Indigenous wisdom brings to everyday life a sacred regard for the natural world that surrounds us, a respectful regard for the plants and animals that travel life’s journey with us, and a conscious regard for the mystery and aliveness of the universe that sustains us.
The Story in Action
Welcome. The fire is lit. We are here to share our stories. The wisdom we share has been given to us by our ancestors: person to person, heart to heart–through stories, chants, and teachings. Our wisdom answers these questions: Where do you come from? Who are you? What is your foundation that guides you…here, now?
This collection of stories and teachings from indigenous spiritual leaders and sources is an opening, an invitation, to drink deeply from the well of wisdom that is as ancient as the presence of humans on the planet. It is an invitation to dive into your own indigeneity. To re-member your divinity in the work and play of everyday life.
They reveal cultures that apprehend and embody the divine essence that infuses all, through dance, chanting, stories, and personal disciplines…Nature cultures.
They all prophesy that the twin streams of our worlds: the technological/rational, and the Nature/spiritual will merge in a transformed consciousness as the creative flow of our planetary evolution brings us home. They speak with one voice: that Time is NOW.
We pass the Awa cup, and invite you to drink, in a spirit of humility and gratitude for the profound communion this sharing of stories and wisdom represents. And we welcome you into re-membering who you are, where you come from, and why you’re here.
Love all you see with humility,
Live all you feel with reverence,
And know all you possess with the heart of discipline.
With love…with love…with love.
(From Hale Makua, Hawaii Kapuna)
Braiding the Sacred – 2016
“I am because you are,” is the deep meaning of Ubuntu, a traditional African philosophy recognizing the shared essence within humanity and life. In this film we visit Dorah Lebelo and the GreenHouse Project, Credo Mutwa, the great Zulu traditional healer and teacher, and the former Deputy Minister of Health, Nozizwa Madlala-Routledge, to learn more about this fundamental understanding of life and its ramifications on how we treat each other, ourselves, and the earth. This film also comes from the Global Oneness Project.
The Natural Way: Indigenous Voices
Filled with grace and eloquence, Sobonfu possesses a charm & modesty that enables her to touch her audience deeply. Her message about the importance of spirit, community and ritual in our lives rings with an intuitive power and truth that Alice Walker has said “can help us put together so many things that our modern western world has broken.”
We Are Caretakers
Bob Randall, Yankunytjatjara elder and traditional owner of Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), explains the real law of survival is caring for the land and each other-for our children’s children’s children. Bob is one of the Stolen Generation of the Aboriginal people, taken from his family at the age of seven. Throughout his life, Bob has worked as a teacher and leader for Aboriginal land rights, education, community development and cultural awareness. In the early ‘70s, Bob’s song “Brown Skin Baby (They Took Me Away)” became an anthem for the Aboriginal people. He is the author of two books: his autobiography Songman and a children’s book, Tracker Tjginji. This film also comes from the Global Oneness Project.
Sequoyah Trueblood: A Meditation
Sequoyah Trueblood, a Native American elder, offers a seven-minute meditation.
Being Present – Native Perspectives on Sustainability
Larry Merculieff (Aleut) tells a story from his childhood about learning through observation of Aleut hunters and seabirds how one profoundly connects with the earth. This clip is part of a series exploring the meaning of sustainability from the perspectives of indigenous leaders from the bioregion of Salmon Nation. For a complete transcript of this interview and more from the Native Perspectives on Sustainability project.
The Eagle and the Condor
A fifteen minute film about the ancient indigenous prophecy. The eagle represents societies that are materialistic, very human oriented and the condor represents more spiritual societies and ones that feel more integrated with their environment. This film is produced by the Pachamama Alliance. See: http://pachamama.org/
Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Peri, is a Maori elder who has been involved in education, community development and language revitalization for the past 40 years. We interviewed her at her home just north of Tuai, a small town in the picturesque mountains of the north island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Rose, as she likes to be called, welcomes people from all over the world into her home to talk about ancient Maori ways and the importance of learning to understand and respect different peoples, cultures, traditions and the environment around us. This film also comes from the Global Oneness Project.
Haena: Intense Breath of the Sun
Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Aunty Pua is regarded as a loea (expert) of Hawaiian cultural practices and a living national treasure. A scholar, educator, and practitioner of Hawaiian culture she is an accomplished writer; a music, stage, and film producer; a dedicated community leader; and a renowned kumu hula.
The Meaning of Hawaii
Hawai’i is more than a name, it is a “mission statement” about these islands and how we are supposed to treat each other, the land, and the sea. In this video, Ramsay Taum explains why Hawai’i is such a special place and considered by some to be heaven on earth.
- Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and The Teachings Of Plants (2020)
- Melissa K. Nelson (Editor), Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future (2008)
- Song of Waitaha: The Histories of a Nation (1994)
- Frank Stewart, Wao Akua: Sacred Source Of Life (2003)
- Taupouri Tangaro, Lele Kawa, Fire Rituals of Pele (2009)
- Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele (Aunty Pua), Ka Honua Ola: ‘Eli‘eli Kau Mai / The Living Earth: Descend, Deepen the Revelation (2011)
This book is an Invitation to understand the intimate relationship between Native Hawaiians and the volcanic landscape of these islands. Aunty Pua is a beloved Hawaiian Scholar and Native practitioner.
- Tomoko Iwasawa, Tama in Japanese Myth: A Hermeneutical Study of Ancient Japanese Divinity (2011)
- Hank Wesselman, The Bowl of Light: Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman (2011)
This book is a secondary source. In it revered Hawaiian elder, Hale Makua, reflects on questions posed by Hank Wesselman, a non-native scholar, about the meaning of life. It is included in order to give some access to the traditional ways of knowing and wisdom of Hale Makua who died several years ago. Moreover, this is included as an example of a cross-cultural conversation with the aim of integrating indigenous wisdom. (Editors’ Note: It is our custom to include only primary sources, with this exception.)
- Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi (1977)
- Arlene Nash Ferguson, I Come to Get Me!: An Inside Look at the Junkanoo Festival (2000)
Audio & Video Recordings
- Echoes in the Well, Secret Voices from the West of Ireland (2 CDs), by David Whyte
- The Land Owns Us: The interconnectedness of every living thing is not just an idea but a way of living. In “The Land Owns Us”, we see this important message come to life through Bob Randall, a Yankunytjatjara elder and traditional owner of Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), who explains that all beings are part of a vast family and calls us to be responsible for this family and care for the land with unconditional love and responsibility. This film comes from the Global Oneness Project which produces films, media and educational materials that explore how the simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in today’s complex world. Emmanuel Vaghan-Lee is the project director.
- Ramsay Taum TEDx talk on Hawaiian/Polynesian values and relationships and how they inform our thriving present.
- More videos about indigenous wisdom on the Global Oneness Project website.
- Holo Mai Pele, PBS, Great Performances video.
- The Intelligence of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer, On Being with Krista Tippett.
- Braiding the Sacred: a growing movement of corn growers and allies working to strengthen alliances of corn cultures
- The Cultural Conservancy: a native-led non-profit that works in the Americas and the Pacific, collaborating with communities, organizations and individuals of all kinds, native and non-native.
- International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers
- Waitaha: Traditionally the Waitaha Nation are a Matriarchal people who followed the philosophies of Peace known as Rongomaraeroa. There have been no weapons of war found in the oldest archeological sites in our land of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
- Voices from the Salmon Nation: Native perspectives on sustainability
- Anād Foundation: The Anād Foundation’s mission is to facilitate the recovery and enhancement of the intangible (sukham virsā) and tangible (sthūl virsā) heritage – the fruits of thousands of years – of South Asia.
- Native Spirit Foundation is a UK registered charity promoting education and the protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples. It was founded and is directed by the indigenous Mapuche artist and filmmaker Freddy Treuquil. Native Spirit is an independent organization, run by volunteers and supports Educational projects in indigenous communities in South America.
- Lord Pakal Ahau’s Maya Diaries: This is a blog created by over 200 leaders from 71 North American Indian nations who came together to express their alarm about the earth’s pollution and to offer their indigenous perspectives about how to change our lives.
- Four Worlds International Institute: The Fourth Way transcends assimilation, resignation, and conflict by building partnerships with all nations and peoples.
- Declaration of Commitment to Indigenous Peoples
- Pachamama Alliance