RED PAPER, ISSUE 1 October 2013 A message from The Seventh Generation Fund as told by Oren Lyons, boardmember: Walk tenderly on the skin of Mother Earth for the faces of the unborn generations are turned upward, watching all we do from beneath the ground. The Haudenosaunee is founded on the principles of: PEACE, EQUITY, and THE COLLECTIVE POWER OF THE GOOD MIND - MANY UNITED AS ONE. Over a thousand years ago a great peacemaker came amongst our warring nations and people and brought peace. He planted a Great Tree of Peace, the white pine, on the shores of Onondaga Lake. The Peacekeeper established the democratic principles of ordinances by, and for the people. He instructed the people and said that The Great Tree of Peace represents the universal laws of nature. The Peacekeeper warned people to never challenge those universal laws because humanity will not prevail over them. He instructed our leaders and the people to abide, protect, and cherish the Great Law of Peace. The White Roots of Peace reach out in the four cardinal directions of the Earth, available to all who seek the protection of the long leaves of the great peace. Peacemaker instructed our people to work for the health and welfare of all life. He said that the faces of future generations are looking up from the Earth, each awaiting their time, unto the Seventh Generation. This is our mandate and responsibility. Seven generations ago there were people looking out for us, now we in turn must do the same. â€“ Oren Lyons, Onondaga Nation Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoplesâ€™ (SGF) founding principle, our name and our work, is based on the Great Law of Peace of the Haudenosaunee. This precept continues to guide us and inform all aspects of our work today. It keeps us firmly grounded on a clear pathway of serving the people with a particular concern of thinking and planning for the collective health, well-being, and cultural vitality of future generations. Our founders were a dynamic group of grassroots Indigenous leaders who came from a diversity of Native nations, including, chiefs like Oren Lyons, clan-mothers, youth and tribal philosophers. They united for the common purpose to design and establish an inherently Native-centered community support and development model founded on sacred teachings and their own experience of the challenges and realities of Native American existence. Their collective wisdom and inspiration led them to develop a culturally relevant way to identify and direct resources, advocate and support, frontline tribal communities striving to recover and retain traditional relationships to land, community and collective spirit.
Today, SGF continues to advance our work along the same lines as we were created to thirty-six years ago and remains fully committed and oriented on cultural recovery, community empowerment and with a clear focus on social justice. Our decades of frontline, hands-on experience supporting community empowerment, revitalizing traditional cultures, and rebuilding sustainable Indigenous nations has established SGF as a leader in the Native, philanthropic, and social justice fields. Our attention remains on nurturing community based leadership, supporting grassroots initiatives and mobilizing the necessary resources so cultural leaders, activists, tradition bearers, artists, and young people can continue creating and actualizing their own visions for the recovery and sustainability of healthy, culturally vibrant tribal nations. (About Oren Lyons: He is a Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Council of Chiefs, Haudenosaunee, (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) and a boardmember of Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. Oren has been active in international indigenous rights and sovereignty issues for over four decades at the United Nations and other international forums. He is a State University of New York (SUNY) Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the University at Buffalo. He co-founded the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth with the American Indian Institute and continues to serve on their board. Oren co-founded the “Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse” program in 1983 and serves as their chairman of the board of directors. He serves as chairman of the board of directors of “Honoring Nations,” the Harvard program for Native American economic development and also as board chair of “Plantagon International AB,” the leader in urban agriculture. )