We need the wisdom of the indigenous now more than ever. The “first people” in Santa Barbara and around the Earth believe that human beings were placed here by the Creator to take care of our Mother, the Earth, and all who reside here with us: the fish people, plant people, creepers, crawlers, winged, four-legged, and two-legged. We are all part of Her, Our Mother the Earth.
We are here to take care of “everything that gives us all life, sustains us all, nourishes us all” in many ways as in the Beauty of Nature.
We are here to give thanks to the elementals through our gifts, talents, tribute for being alive, for everything that make life possible: the water, air, earth, and the gift of fire, which was never to be used to harm another human being.
We are all in symbiotic, interconnected relationship with everything in Nature. We are dependent on good relations with everything in Nature for our very existence today and for our children for generations to come.
As human beings, we are all responsible and authorized to be “caretakers” for the greatest good of all. We must abide by natural law. Who can believe, or accept, that our forefathers thought they had a divine right, given by a spiritual leader, to take from another human being that did not speak like them or look like them, and believed in a different way of being in and with the world. Our forefathers used the words savage, pagan, heathen, idol worshipper to describe the “first people” here and around the world, who had occupied the land since the beginning of human existence.
Our forefathers were deluded by greed to believe they could take by force or deceit that which belonged to the “first people” and to all of us.
The manmade law today is ownership to the exclusion of others.
We now need the wisdom of the indigenous now more than ever. We have created great harm, injustice, and trauma by removing the First People from the land they are a part of. This historical trauma still exists here and around the world and will continue unless we can all join together to heal the wounds that affect the land and all who now reside here. It is time to disentangle.
There is much to consider in the future to make amends for all that has been taken without permission, and to begin the process to heal the intergenerational, interdimensional wounds that affect us all. Reconciliation will require participation by the entire community here and around the world.
Cities throughout the United States have been inspired to acknowledge the historical trauma of First People by declaring an Indigenous People’s Day to be celebrated in October. We are hopeful that you will join us on Sunday, October 8, when Mayor Helene Schneider makes a formal proclamation naming Monday, October 9, 2017, as Indigenous People’s Day in Santa Barbara. She will give this proclamation at an hour-long celebration at the Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara Street, on Sunday, October 8, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Together, we can unite through kindness, compassion, and love to create peace on earth.
Suna sil, meta tantay. (Health and happiness, walk in peace.)
Art Cisneros is a Chumash elder and firekeeper for the Tribal Trust Foundation.
Declaration of Indigenous People’s Day
We, the people of Santa Barbara, CA, propose to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day in our city. We will be joining with 22 other cities across the nation who have already made this change. With this change (or reconstitution) we honor, celebrate and support the rich and diverse cultures and contributions of Indigenous peoples. Locally, we will be recognizing and honoring the Chumash people as the first people of this region, who have contributed so much richness and wisdom to the environment, culture and community of Santa Barbara.
By changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, we commemorate the survival and renewal of Native cultures in the face of political and cultural repression. We acknowledge the true historical legacy of Christopher Columbus as having initiated this repression through colonization, genocide and enslavement of Native peoples. Through this action we begin the process of reconciliation to heal the historical trauma that affects us all and the land we are a part of.
A draft proposed by the Tribal Trust Foundation, which is leading a group of local allies in making this proposition to the Santa Barbara City Council.