There are over 476 million indigenous peoples living in 90 countries across the world, accounting for 6.2 per cent of the global population. Indigenous peoples are the holders of a vast diversity of unique cultures, traditions, languages and knowledge systems. They have a special relationship with their lands and hold diverse concepts of development based on their own worldviews and priorities.
In honor of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, we wanted to share the indigenous principles that govern the exchange of life for life is known as the Honorable Harvest. But before we dive into that, we want to explain a brief background on what Traditional Ecological Knowledge is within Indigenous communities.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Traditional Ecological Knowledge or TEK is a cumulative body of knowledge and beliefs, handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and their environment.
Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and other Indigenous peoples have a long tradition of living sustainably with the natural world by understanding the importance of preserving natural resources and respecting the interdependence of all living things.
Many indigenous and local communities tend to have a reciprocal relationship with nature, rather than viewing nature as existing to serve humans like Western culture has historically regarded things.
In Indigenous philosophy, all things are animate, have a spirit, and are all connected. Because of this, Indigenous land practices and cultural knowledge have ensured the conservation of global diversity, being the true creators and conservers of the Earth!
The Honorable Harvest
What does ethical reciprocity between humans and the natural world look like? The Honorable Harvest reminds us how to take, use and share while mindfully honoring the indigenous legacies that teach us how to commune with our planet.
Lessons to Live By:
Ask permission of the ones whose lives you seek. Abide by the answer.
Never take the first. Never take the last.
Harvest in a way that minimizes harm.
Take only what you need and leave some for others.
Use everything that you take.
Take only that which is given to you.
Share it, as the Earth has shared with you.
Reciprocate the gift.
Sustain the ones who sustain you, and the Earth will last forever.