The Spiral Comes Full Circle: How Nation-to-Nation Relations with First Nations Can Lead to Economies that Work for All of Us
- What would it be like for our human economy to be in harmony with the Earth’s economy?
- What would our communities be like if we put energy into personalized and localized resources that benefit everyone around us?
This final Unify Toronto Dialogue of 2015 deepened a year long enquiry into money and meaning inspired by the learnings from our Remaking a Living dialogue series. What have we learned from the practices of community stewardship, reciprocal caring economies, and transformation (e.g., Theory U) that we’ve explored that might guide our design of enlivening, human-scale economic systems?
Guided by Kevin Best, we grounded the session again in the indigenous world views that laid the foundation for our series with our January dialogue inspired by Idle No More: A Love Story. Almost a year after that January dialogue, our new government has promised ‘nation-to-nation relations’ with First Nations in Canada, committed to adopt all the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and pledged to implement the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The following points were revealed in the dialogue:
- Flow is key. Learn from the future as it emerges.
- Come together with the people you love.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report and the United Nations Declarations and Treaties are a basis for moving forward together.
Well-meaning settlers need to go beyond tokenism to address injustice.
- A nation-to-nation relationship between the First Nations, Métis and Inuit and the Canadian Government will be profoundly important.
- Led to 94 recommendations, and Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to implementing them all.
- Need curriculum of identity restoration.
- The TRC report provides an entry point into the conversation.
- The full report will be released on Dec 15 and presented to Canada in Ottawa at noon, Shaw Convention Centre.
- The indigenous view is individualistic for all that does not affect the group
- Reference the film: Schooling the World
- Focus on the manageable connections – housesharing, shared space and land, make local economies work for all
- Tribing up frees energy and resources
- The TRC used non-Indigenous ways to deal with Indigenous issues
- We need to shift toward a reciprocal relationship
- The disconnect from self is core
- Each action contributes to a shift in consciousness
- This process is slow, but it reaches a tipping point
- Change requires us to use new concepts
- We need someone else’s ideas
- Few are willing to be transformed
- We need to see with both Indigenous (grounded, emotional) and Western (materialistic, intellectual) eyes
- Structure and individual feed and support each other
- When you’re ready, you’ll be able to hear and change
- You will reach a threshold – keep working toward it
- Need to create a space within ourselves, between agreement and disagreement
- Also need to create shared meaning across generations
- Focus on building relationship
- Be present to hold the space for the future generatively
- The community provides the context for action
- Personal change can happen within that and can in turn influence the community.
- Openness allows for the unexpected
About the Host
Kevin Best has focused on how to create a sustainable world through activism, innovative business and restoring Indigenous society for over four decades. He has worked with Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island, consulted to Greenpeace and pioneered green energy in Ontario. He is currently working on a start-up called Odenaansan (Village or “the little places where my heart is”), an integrated, culturally-based approach to restoring Minobimadzin (the good life) through sustainable food, energy, housing and water in Anishinabe communities. Ceremonially adopted into Bkejwanong (Walpole Island) in the late 1990’s, Kevin is a member of the Martin clan and is Neegunneechgun (the one who goes before the people). He is passionate about decolonization and re-indigenization and committed to spreading understanding of these life-giving possibilities.
Lambert Lounge, OCADU, 100 McCaul St. Toronto
Suggested freewill offering for our guest(s): $10-20.
Remaking a Living Series Overview
Since the Occupy movement announced “We Are the 99%” in 2011, the "Too Big to Fails" have become even bigger. The mountains of personal and nationalized debt have become a commonplace, and society has ignored the immanence of another financial collapse. The 1% are richer (in monetary wealth) than ever in history. But the global economy is engineered to grow inequitable wealth while destroying the natural wealth that we all depend on for our survival.
At the same time, we are seeing the emergence of new ways of thinking about wealth and money, of doing business, of exchanging with each other and with the earth, that reflect the age-old world views of connectedness held by indigenous peoples throughout the world.
So our questions are: What will the new economy look like? How can we reclaim our rights to economic arrangements that work for our planet, and for us, for our families and citizens in urban communities?
How might we extract ourselves from the colonizing effects of globalized capitalism? What would our communities be like if we could grow our food, produce the energy we need and create structures that enhanced the interaction with each other and the environment?
For us to survive on this planet, a new economy would have to reflect the Earth's economy where nothing and no one is wasted. For we know that the human economy is entirely dependent on the health of the Earth's economy.
So our questions as Unify Toronto were:
What might an economic system based on the traditional teachings of balance, reciprocal relationships with the land and harmony with all creation look like in a modern urban context?
How best can we indigenous and non-indigenous city dwellers learn to bring about the necessary changes in governance and economic relationships that will enhance the quality of life for all of us?
How might we extract ourselves from the colonizing effects of globalized capitalism? What would our communities be like if we could grow our food, produce the energy we need and create structures that enhance the interaction with each other and the environment?
Since then, we have been on a journey of shared discovery, growth and learning (see below). Meanwhile, the context of life on Earth itself has been shifting, politically, environmentally and socially, with mass migration, fires, floods, new faces in the Canadian parliament, as well as civil society increasingly focused on carbon reduction and terrorism.
Yet the basic questions remain, although somewhat better informed.