Good Relations Pledge
Good Relations Pledge
The Good Relations Pledge
A United States Citizens’ Acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples' Right to Freedom, Territory & Self-Determination
In Honor of Carmen Baraka
"The Lakota expression, 'Aho Mitakuye Oyasin' is widely used among many tribes within what is now known as The United States of America; It means, “We are all related; all connected.
In the spirit of connection with all beings, where none are higher or lower in the great web of all life, we offer this invitation to begin healing our relations with the Indigenous peoples of these lands."
~Carmen Baraka, Indigenous Elder and Teacher
This is a time for healing so we are taking the first steps towards reparations by individuals. The formal reparation process is yet to address the role of the individual, in addition to global and national systemic change called for by Indigenous Nations.
The inspiration for The Good Relations Pledge came from the Indigenous cultural leaders, scholars and artists from within the community of The Intentional Creativity Foundation, 501(c)3
We the citizens of the United States humbly offer this acknowledgement as an initial step into a complex, dynamic arena of healing, education and the forming of good relations.
If you are of any descent, other than Indigenous within the United States and you are a US Citizen, then taking this pledge is for you.
If you are an Indigenous person living in the United States, we welcome you to read, to feel, and to know that many of us are reaching to improve our relationship with your peoples and the land.
The Good Relations Pledge is designed to guide the citizen through a process of acknowledging the nature of injury and the Indigenous People’s lived experiences of genocide by way of land theft, racial oppression and historical erasure.
We wish to move through levels of denial to acknowledge that deliberate harm is ongoing, to Indigenous peoples and their lands by every successive government of the United States of America under the guise of colonial progress at all costs.
For many Indigenous leaders, scholars and activists, arriving at a ‘Citizens’ Acknowledgement’ has itself been a long coming and has mostly taken place within local organizations, and individual relationships. Many citizens are not aware, nor do they acknowledge how they may be impacting and enforcing the oppression.
This intention of our Citizen’s Acknowledgement is to awaken those of us who aren’t aware, call into action those who are, and provide a first actionable step towards healing. We recognize that we cannot wait for institutions, corporations, society and government to make adequate meaningful reparative actions. We need reparations that work effectively to heal the hearts and minds of individuals. We seek to begin with individuals in the present, working with what we do know and committing to improve our relations with Indigenous peoples in the future. While we individual citizens have limited power or opportunity to create the vast systemic changes Indigenous leaders are calling for, we support their voice and their struggle for justice by accounting for our individual role and responsibilities.
For those who pledge, sign and share this petition, it is our hope that this will be a beginning that may lead to inspiration to greater levels of awareness and supportive engagement with the Indigenous peoples of United States.
Recognition & Respect
We recognize that there is much to learn about the lands that we occupy and draw our subsistence from, much to learn about and from the peoples who continue to live in relation to these lands ‘since time immemorial’. Our lack of acknowledgement, education and lack of support, willful or not, empowers and perpetuates ongoing land theft, racial oppression, historical erasure, and ongoing genocide of indigenous peoples.
We also recognize that reparative actions in the USA are late, the efforts to achieve meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples have long since begun in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other places in the world. This struggle is ongoing, and by signing this and acknowledging, I commit to being a part of the reparations so needed here.
In the Spirit of Respect
We recognize and respect the tremendous resiliency of Indigenous communities and their leadership, who have fought, endured and negotiated tirelessly for their own survival and freedom from colonial oppression since European arrival on this continent. We respect and honor pre-existing relationships that Indigenous communities maintain, with each-other and with their lands, and we respect the memory of the Ancestors of this land. In the spirit of Respect we are stepping forward now to improve our own relations, as individuals and ultimately for healing as a collective.
Reciprocity & Relationship
As a US Citizen I the undersigned, acknowledge the Indigenous people of the lands and water that now nurture and connect me to this earth. I recognize and respect that their civilizations occupied this area thousands of years prior to European colonization. I acknowledge that early American government campaigns wrongfully harmed Indigenous peoples by removing them from their lands - most explicitly via the 1830 Indian Removal Act- which created a legacy of poverty and violence for indigenous. This led to the path of safe settlement and prosperity for European-American citizens.
I further acknowledge that Indigenous people continue to suffer the greatest disparity in all aspects of human health and wellbeing, due to legal and geographical isolation and confinement, and that denial of this disparity serves to perpetuate it.
I acknowledge that widespread education and media on Indigenous peoples and their lands, as generated primarily through a Eurocentric worldview, has often lacked truth or authenticity; as follows, I acknowledge that Indigenous peoples should be the source of facts, historical, fiction and traditional stories, artifacts, arts, fashions, and goods otherwise attributed to their specific cultures.
I pledge to learn more about Indigenous relations via their own sources to improve my understandings regarding Indigenous peoples, (and)
I urge any leadership or community I am a part of to take steps to improve relations between our governments on all levels of society, (and)
I will share this pledge with others who are ready to begin the acknowledgement process. (and)
I do this work with heart, mind and hope for healing so that we can have good relations.
“When you can hear the stories of the past, the information of the future and the power of the now, understanding that all aspects are in play at all times, this juxtaposition of realities triggers Omni Presence in a way that can be understood. Everything actually isn’t always fleeting, not if you see it as all aspects in play simultaneously. When we can truly understand the depth and breadth, then we can understand that everything that has been and will be, the knowledge of all time, is already within us. We must move through the Corridors – the portals of our timeless mind, body, spirit, the realm of the oneness of creator, of source, the realms of all possibilities.” ~ Carmen Baraka, Indigenous Elder and Teacher