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Igniting the Communal Fire: What the SDGs Could Learn from Indigenous Peoples

Igniting the Communal Fire: What the SDGs Could Learn from Indigenous Peoples

Fionuala Cregan

This weekend, world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York to endorse, to much fanfare, celebrity endorsement and self-congratulation, the new global plan for poverty: "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." Otherwise known as The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The indigenous that I have worked with are far more gracious than I. They will share EVERYTHING they have.


Lots of wonderful wisdom in this article.

Some people (including posters in these threads) act like a way to live peacefully has never existed. They presume or pretend that the ways of the Anglo-European male dominator are universal, even indicative of inevitable truths that somehow speak to one uniform premise of human nature. Assumptions of this nature are on a par with “Columbus discovered America,” and/or that “George Washington never told a lie.”

The wisdom teachings that always conferred the means of living WITH the Earth Mother–as opposed to raping, controlling, and holding Her captive–have always existed among wise Indigenous tribes:

“What we need is spiritual and philosophical change,” says Aguirre, “a return to living in harmony and listening carefully to the knowledge of Mother Earth.”

“Indigenous Peoples’ wisdom – still deeply rooted in their cultures despite over 500 years of colonisation and genocide – should be a source of inspiration and guidance that brings our focus to deep structural and spiritual dimensions of change.”



Right here in the states there is a group of people that have the living standards of those in Haiti…a man can expect to live the maximum age of 54, but disease will kill him first, they lack food, clothing and shelter, yes, they live like those in Haiti, right here in america, it is called the Pine Ridge Rez…Bernie used to get my money, what little I have to share, now I send it to the American Indian Humanitarian Foundation, they serve all tribes…if Bernie or HRC or anyone else says all lives matter why the hell are these people living as they are?..the reservations are worse than slums, even in a slum in the inner cities across american you can call 911, or take a bus to go shopping or shop goodwill stores, They Can’t…there are 1,000’s of Navajo without running water, electricity and indoor toilets…right here in america, right here in our own backyard, right next door…


The ongoing genocide of the indigenous Guarani Kaiowa and Terena peoples in Brazil is hideous. “Fazendeiros” plantation owners contracted with agribusiness for export (another example of that pesky GDP metric ‘externalized costs’) with one of the most corrupt political blocks of the most corrupt in the Brazilian government - grinding out sugar cane and soy, spraying agrotoxins, polluting the water and killing those whose land they are on - that has already been verified as as being of traditional occupancy. The system is mad. The Brazilian Supreme Court after forty years of delay finally said that “good faith” occupants could be compensated in order to get the plantation title holders off the traditional land - and yet the latter still contract gunmen and terrorize and murder them. Keep the pressure on!

BBC Brazil’s Guarani-Kaiowa tribe allege genocide over land disputes


This article is so true. There is a book called Drug War Capitalism that shows how ancestral/indigenous lands are taken through the so called war on drugs. The corporate taking of the commons, also known as ancestral lands has become very sophisticated. Kill and evict indigenous peoples such that there is no way to authenticate there claim to the land. Setup judiciaries that sustain corporate claims to land and resources and by all means let the tax payers of the first world pay for all this via the Drug War and so called War on Terror.

Truth is no longer are treaties negotiated with indigenous people the way it was done in the USA during the 1700s and 1800s. What ever the flaws of those treaties, they treated the native peoples as sovereign nations. Now corporations with the help of War on Drugs/Terror just kill and destroy the first people. There is no paper trail.

Thanks for shinning the light on this issue.


Nothing puts out the communal fire like the dung of the devil.

"You ask me to plow the ground. Shall I take a knife and tear my mother’s bosom? Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest.

"You ask me to dig for stones! Shall I dig under her skin for bones? Then when I die I cannot enter her body to be born again.

"You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it and be rich like white men, but how dare I cut my mother’s hair?

“I want my people to stay with me here. All the dead men will come to life again. Their spirits will come to their bodies again. We must wait here in the homes of our fathers and be ready to meet them in the bosom of our mother.”

Wovoka A Paiute

“When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don’t ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don’t chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. … the White people pay no attention. …How can the spirit of the earth like the White man? … everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore.”

Unknown Woman of the Wintu tribe.


Thanks for the tip: Drug War Capitalism.