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Original Instructions
Cover of Original Instructions
Original Instructions
Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future
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Indigenous leaders and other visionaries suggest solutions to today's global crisis • Original Instructions are ancient ways of living from the heart of humanity within the heart of nature...
Indigenous leaders and other visionaries suggest solutions to today's global crisis • Original Instructions are ancient ways of living from the heart of humanity within the heart of nature...
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  • Indigenous leaders and other visionaries suggest solutions to today's global crisis
    • Original Instructions are ancient ways of living from the heart of humanity within the heart of nature
    • Explores the convergence of indigenous and contemporary science and the re-indigenization of the world's peoples
    • Includes authoritative indigenous voices, including John Mohawk and Winona LaDuke
    For millennia the world's indigenous peoples have acted as guardians of the web of life for the next seven generations. They've successfully managed complex reciprocal relationships between biological and cultural diversity. Awareness of indigenous knowledge is reemerging at the eleventh hour to help avert global ecological and social collapse. Indigenous cultural wisdom shows us how to live in peace—with the earth and one another.
    Original Instructions evokes the rich indigenous storytelling tradition in this collection of presentations gathered from the annual Bioneers conference. It depicts how the world's native leaders and scholars are safeguarding the original instructions, reminding us about gratitude, kinship, and a reverence for community and creation. Included are more than 20 contemporary indigenous leaders—such as Chief Oren Lyons, John Mohawk, Winona LaDuke, and John Trudell. These beautiful, wise voices remind us where hope lies.

About the Author-

  • Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D., is an ecologist, writer, educator, and social activist whose work is dedicated to indigenous revitalization and cross-cultural reconciliation. She is a professor of American Indian studies at San Francisco State University and president of The Cultural Conservancy, a nonprofit indigenous rights organization. She also coproduced the award-winning documentary short film The Salt Song Trail: Bringing Creation Back Together. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Table of Contents-

  • Acknowledgments

    About Bioneers

    Bioneers and Editor's Statement on Indigenous Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights

    Preface: Remembering the Original Instructions

    Kenny Ausubel

    Introduction: Lighting the Sun of Our Future—How These Teachings Can Provide Illumination

    Melissa K. Nelson

    Part One



    1 Listening to Natural Law

    Chief Oren Lyons

    2 First Nations Survival and the Future of the Earth

    Rebecca Adamson

    3 Acoma Coexistence and Continuance

    Petuuche Gilbert

    4 Ethics from the Land: Traditional Protocols and the Maintenance of Peace

    Marlowe Sam

    5 Indigenous Knowledge as the Basis for Our Future

    Priscilla Settee

    6 Clear Thinking: A Positive Solitary View of Nature

    John Mohawk

    Part Two


    7 The Iroquois Confederacy

    John Mohawk

    8 A Democracy Based on Peace

    Chief Oren Lyons

    9 An Okanagan Worldview of Society

    Jeannette Armstrong

    10 Peace Technologies from the San Bushmen of Africa

    Megan Biesele, Kxao =Oma., and /'Angn!ao /'Un

    Part Three


    11 Where Is the Holy Land?

    Leslie Gray

    12 Restoring Indigenous History and Culture to Nature

    Dennis Martinez, Enrique Salmón, and Melissa K. Nelson

    13 Protecting Water Quality and Religious Freedom at the Isleta Pueblo

    Verna Williamson-Teller

    14 The Art of Thriving in Place

    John Mohawk

    Part Four



    15 She Is Us: Thought Woman and the Sustainability of Worship

    Paula Gunn Allen

    16 Ethiopian Women: From Passive Resources to Active Citizens

    Bogaletch Gebre

    17 Powerful Like a River: Reweaving the Web of Our Lives in Defense of Environmental and Reproductive Justice

    Katsi Cook

    Part Five




    18 From the First to the Last Bite: Learning from the Food Knowledge of Our Ancestors

    John Mohawk

    19 Re-Indigenizing Our Bodies and Minds through Native Foods

    Melissa K. Nelson

    20 Dancing for the Apus: Andean Food and Farming

    Julio Valladolid Rivera

    21 On the Importance of Our Connection to Food

    Jacquelyn Ross

    22 Protecting the Culture and Genetics of Wild Rice

    Winona LaDuke

    23 Cultural Change, Climate Change, and the Future of Civilization

    John Mohawk

    Part Six



    24 Protecting the Web of Life: Indigenous Knowledge and Biojustice

    Tom Goldtooth

    25 Return of the Ancient Council Ways: Indigenous Survival in Chiapas

    Ohki Siminé Forest

    26 Front Line of Resistance: Indigenous Peoples and Energy Development

    Clayton Thomas-Muller

    27 Speaking for the Voiceless

    Richard DeerTrack

    Part Seven


    28 Re-Indigenization Defined

    Greg Cajete, John Mohawk, and Julio Valladolid Rivera

    29 El Poder de la Palabra/The Power of the Word: Toward a Nahuatl/Mestizo Consciousness

    Francisco X. Alarcón

    30 Mending the Split-Head Society with Trickster Consciousness

    Melissa K. Nelson

    31 Re-Nativization in North and South America

    Tirso Gonzales

    32 Taro Roots Run Deep: Hawaiian Restoration of Sacred Foods and Communities

    Mark Paikuli-Stride, Eric Enos, and Nalani Minton

    33 The Power of Being a Human Being

    John Trudell

    Indigenous Resources





  • Booklist

    February 15, 2008
    This historically and environmentally edifying volume consists of essays and talks presented between 1990 and 2006 at the annual Bioneers Conference, an annual gathering ofnative leaders and eco-visionaries from over 20 nations who collectively seek ways to avert a global environmental catastrophe. Stemming from the indigenous ecospiritual concept that when we corrupt and poison the environment, we make war against Mother Earth, speakers address such diverse issues as the loss of Acoma shrines to coal and gas mines, the impact of mega dams, mines, and deforestation on the land belonging to the Canadian Cree, and the pollution of water sources at the Isleta Pueblo, downstream from Albuquerque. The reader becomes familiar with projects like RAFT (Renewing Americas Food Traditions), which works to protect heirloom seeds and conserve native ecosystems, and the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), which focuses on environmental and economic justice issues affecting indigenous peoples, who are disproportionately impacted and burdened by toxic contamination. These indigenous activists have much to share, and they serve as crucial voices in the worldwideeffort to restore our ailing planet.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2008, American Library Association.)

  • Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and the forthcoming The Bill McKibben Reader Buckminster Fuller once complained that the earth had come without a good operating manual. In fact, though, there are an awful lot of instructions that have stood the test of time. Since we're clearly making a mess of things at the moment, it might be wise to pay some attention.

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Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future
Melissa K. Nelson
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