My ancestors came from lands far from the valleys I am familiar with. My ancestors followed hopes of better farming land and quieter living in the country. My ancestors fought in many of the wars waged by the men who don’t actually fight. My ancestors taught each other the invaluable lessons to be learned by the Earth.
Ancestors tell the tale that once was. The tale that we heard about hearing about. The stories passed on through song, dance, art, food, medicine, and culture as a whole. I believe that we echo the lives and lessons of our ancestors and I live with the intention to lift up the insights and lessons left by our ancestors. Our ancestors are the reasons we have the context of “human,” we can agree on “human” based on the way that our ancestors thought about it and defined it. They made art depicting humans and daily tasks, humans and spirituality, humans and nature, humans and other humans. I believe that we can and have learned more about ourselves from our ancestors than any other source. Our ancestors paved the way for great discoveries and great misfortunes. Throughout time I think that it is safe to say that we have learned from some of our mistakes. Although in some other cases it might have taken a few failed and flawed approaches to learned the lesson at hand. Our ancestors present us with a priceless opportunity to observe our own actions as humans without having to be the one acting. This can lead us to great insights and we can study and learn from the patterns that you might notice in human nature.
To be an ancestor is a position of power that we do not often recognize in our “modern” culture. I do not see people living consciously and thinking about how we should act in respect to the people we will be leaving this earth for. We have the power to leave behind an earth that we sculpt with out intentions. If we live our lives with no regard for natural preservation and treat the Earth with no respect we are imagining the experiences of those around you and of your descendants to come. If we intend to leave this Earth loooking better than when we came we are making less work for our descendants. I think it is important to recognize and support ideas like that promote the bettering of our actions for the sake of those who will live on this Earth when we are gone. I strongly support the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation (The Great Binding Law) or the seventh generation principle. This idea envelopes living with the intention to better the lives of those for seven generations to come. Today the seventh generation principle is often applied to decision made about energy, water, and natural resources, and making sure that those decisions are sustainable for seven generations in the future. I thnk that we should apply the seventh generation principle to relationship as well so that we are creating realtionships that will last for seven generations to come. I am saddened to see people leading lifestyles that disregard respect for the Earth and for each other. It is not difficult to see where our ancestors have left their impact. In some places there are great scars left by the waves of industrialization. Old and discarded mining pits, empty oil fileds, and clear cut forests trying to grow back to what they once were. We pay the consequences of the folly actions taked in the past. But we can also see where our ancestors left a positve mark, or no mark at all. Our National Forests are the product of someones desire to preserve the natural landscape and the wildlife. We can recognize their efforts today by appreciating the lands left untouched, and the lands being worked back into the wilderness. I believe that we should live in a way that communicates our love and appreciation for the earth that we inhabit.
I want to be an ancestor who leaves behind an appreciation for everything living. I want my descendants to know that I take great care in how I act in respect to the Earth. I want to be an ancestor that leaves behind a lifetime of knowledge and lessons learned along the way. I want to add to the great bank of knowledge that my ancestors added to, the bank of knowledge that I believe every human has the ability to tap into. I want my descendants to know that I care about the lives of seven generations to come. I am not solely living my life for my sake; I am living in a way that will benefit my descendants. I want to be an ancestor that can be a learning source, a point of reference and guidance. I want to achieve things in my life that others will be grateful for. I want to be an ancestor who shared music and food and art and love with the people around him. I want to be an ancestor who respoded justly and honorably during the great moments of my lifetimes. I want my descendants to see how my actions benefitted those who surrounded me. I want to be an ancestor who is accountable for the actions taken in my lifetime.