Each year the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) hosts our Spring Seminar. Our 2014 theme was Sacred Roots: Indigenous Rights, Resistance and Reclamation.
Throughout the seminar participants met in collaboration groups to discuss and process the informational panels and activities. At the end of the conference, each collaboration group submitted a statement which contributed to our annual Spring Seminar Statement. Below is our collective statement from 2014.
2014 UU United Nations Office Intergenerational Seminar Statement
We as Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity and compassion in human relations; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part,
We as Unitarian Universalists turn to earth-centered traditions as a source of spiritual inspiration,
It is contrary to our values that treaty rights of indigenous peoples have been too long denied and their voices silenced,
The histories and current experiences of indigenous peoples have been suppressed by colonialism and western capitalist ideology,
We, as people who have inherited a culture of colonialism, have been ignorant of our interconnectedness with indigenous peoples and the planet, resulting in human rights abuses and an environmental crisis,
The right to land is not only for ourselves but for those who come after us,
Indigenous spiritual practices have been, and continue to be, misappropriated, historically with an intent to undermine the original culture,
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) sets a minimum standard for protection and advancement of indigenous rights,
The need to take action in the promotion of all rights of indigenous peoples is imperative to the future of humankind,
We Therefore Resolve To:
Affirm the self-determination, autonomy and cultural identity of all indigenous peoples and recognize our interconnectedness with the earth in an attempt to remedy the damage we have imposed.
Encourage Unitarian Universalist organizations and affiliates to consult with indigenous peoples regarding the appropriate and respectful inclusion of indigenous peoples’ spiritual principles in our worship.
Demand comprehensive reform of education that is inclusive of many diverse indigenous cultural perspectives in an accurate historical and current context.
Learn from and work with indigenous peoples through developing intergenerational, authentic relationships with indigenous communities to ensure the prevention of cultural misappropriation.
Educate our society, starting with our home communities and advocate for change of the treatment of indigenous peoples.
Advocate in our communities and use our collective voice to ensure just action is taken by governments and corporations to uphold all treaties and guarantee the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples.
Reach out to indigenous community leaders to forge partnerships and learn from their communal approach to life, which preserves the resources of the earth for future generations.
Encourage the endorsers of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples not only to abide by its provisions, but to also go beyond them and to end oppression and misappropriation of indigenous rights.
Aid in non-violent resistance to environmentally unsustainable projects and practices perpetuated by colonial and corporate systems, and include indigenous teachings regarding environmental sustainability in our approach to the environment, health and the economy, in order to leave a healthy earth for all of our descendants.