Seventh Generation

To the editor:

Winona LaDuke addressed a large group on MTU’s campus recently. She inspired us to follow the Green Path in covenant with the Creator. “We are good people,” she said, “but we must free ourselves from the old paradigms and embrace a worldview that doesn’t involve empire.” Winona reminded us that America WAS great a few hundred years ago, when we had 8,000 varieties of corn (mostly developed by women), 50 million buffalo, and, in this area, thousands of pounds of maple sugar.

“We are seeing the results of our dependence on fossil fuels,” Winona said. She was part of a large, diverse group of people who successfully fought the building of an oil pipeline across reservation land in Minnesota. She encouraged us to notice that the shift to renewable energy is happening rapidly. “I want to walk out of my teepee and into a Tesla,” she said.

When I remember how badly my English ancestors treated Indigenous people on this hemisphere, I think that one way to make amends is to learn from the wisdom of a culture that considers the Seventh Generation when making decisions.

I welcome the spiritual transformation that will be necessary to follow the Green Path. First, we’ll have to burst the bubbles that have enclosed our minds for too long. Our culture distracts us, but it’s time to face the trouble that surrounds us and that compels us to change.

Perhaps our greatest freedom is to look for the goodness in each other. We can’t do this if we deny the truth about ourselves. Humbly admitting our mistakes softens us and gives us the courage to work together for peace with justice for all.

“We should not be so arrogant,” Winona said. “I know how powerful the Creator is. It is a good thing to pray, but I will not tell you how.”