Toward The Next 500 Years

From The Gathering Of The 1003 United Indigenous Peoples
At The Parliament Of The World's Religions, Chicago, Illinois

"We are indigenous people and Native Nations, honoring our ancestors and for our future generations, do hereby declare our present and continuing survival within our sacred homelands in the Western Hemisphere.

Since time immemorial, we have lived in a spiritual way in keeping with our sacred laws, principles and values given to us by the Creator. Our ways of life are based on respect for Mother Earth, a sacred regard for all relations and the survival of our languages, cultures and traditions.

In the Year of Indigenous Peoples, while the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still being prepared, we ask for solidarity in our cause from the religions of the world.

We call upon the people of conscience in the Roman Catholic hierarchy to persuade Pope John II to formally revoke the Inter Cetera Bull of May 4, 1493, which will restore our fundamental human rights. That Papal document called for our Nations and Peoples to be subjugated so the Christian Empire and its doctrines would be propagated. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Johnson v. Mclntosh 8 Wheat 543 (in 1823) adopted the same principle of subjugation expressed in the Inter Cetera Bull. This Papal Bull has been, and continues to be, devastating to our religions, our cultures, and the survival of our populations.

We call upon the people of conscience in the many other organized religions whose historical actions have participated in the dehumanization of our Indigenous Nations to help us put an end to the violation of our people's human rights. We call for an end to the deafening silence of religious denominations and groups regarding the violations of our peoples' human rights, because this silence implies complicity and tolerance of the effects.

One hundred years ago daring the 1893 Parliament of World Religions, the profoundly religious original (Native) peoples of the Western hemisphere were not invited. We are still here and still struggling to be heard for the sake of our Mother Earth and our children. As our spiritual and physical survival continues to be threatened all over the hemisphere, we feel compelled to ask you to join us in restoring the balance of humanity and Mother Earth in these ways:

  1. Acknowledgement of the myriad of messengers of the Creator, the Great Mystery, to the peoples of the Western hemisphere.

  2. Support in promoting, preserving and maintaining our lndigenous languages and cultures.

  3. Involvement in the world outcry against the continuing genocide of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas by taking direct action in support of the International Conventions prohibiting genocide in their various countries.

  4. Protection and return of the sacred sites and traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples.

  5. Reversal of environmental degradation that endangers our traditional lifeways and threatens our very existence.

  6. Repatriation of our ancestors and sacred objects from the museums and holdings of the world.


DOCUMENT SOURCE: "Declaration of Vision." Turtle Quarterly. Fall-Winter 1994, p. 8.

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