by Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., Chairperson, Compassion Games International, Jon Ramer Founder Compassion Games International, Joey Crotty, Writer and Editor
At the root of all social, economic, political, psychological and spiritual ills – both historically and presently – are the false beliefs that human beings are separate from one another, and that we are separate from our Mother Earth.
Dispelling such false beliefs, current scientific research upholds the sacred truth of our interdependence and connectivity. With work on the human genome now substantially complete, the clear result is, except for a few superficial surface features, that we – the human family – are 99.9% the same. We are all related! We are much, much more alike than we are different! Even more surprising to many is just how intimately related we humans are to the mineral, plant and animal people, including even the smallest of our insect relatives. We share the deepest origins to every living being in virtually every dimension of our ever-expanding universe!
Until we fully understand and experience that all members of the human family are intimately related and that our greatest honor, privilege, responsibility, and meaning are revealed when we compassionately serve, love understand, and respect our own sacredness and the sacredness of all life, there will be no ultimate justice and global peace.
When our hearts fully and compassionately experience the spiritual and physical reality that there is only one race, the human race – and that Mother Earth is the common spiritual heritage of all living beings – will we then be able to develop the economic, educational, social and political systems that are life-preserving and life-sustaining. Then and only then will we be able to completely eliminate the growing extremes of wealth and poverty that are being supported and fueled by the spirit destroying sickness of unbridled materialism and consumerism. A truly spiritually enlightened and compassionate humanity would never tolerate a world where 80% of our beloved family members live in substandard housing, where 70% of our beloved family members are unable to read and write, where 50% of our beloved family members suffer from malnutrition and survive on less than $2.00 [U.S. dollars] a day, where only 6% of humanity possesses 60% of the world’s wealth, and where our beloved Mother Earth and her many life forms is on the verge of complete destruction in the name of economic progress and selfish consumption by a small minority of the human family.
During the early years of North American’s “new” ecological consciousness, my grandfather had a conversation with an old friend. His old friend, whose first language was Dakota, loved to learn new English words. He asked my grandfather to explain to him what the word “ecology” was all about. “Well” my grandfather said, “you know, Tahanshi, my beloved cousin, we now have these places of education where you can go and learn to read and study books. Then you learn how to write about what you have read about. Finally you learn to talk about what you have learned to read and write about!
This is how many people of today learn about life. Some people learn this way for many, many years. After they have read enough books, written about what they have read about and then talk about what they have written about, they are given a piece of paper that says they are a Doctor or a Wise Person of Life. These Doctors and Wise People of Life then get jobs where they earn a lot of money, so they can read, write, and talk some more. They have even have invented machines that can look at things that are very small and make them look big. There are other machines they have invented that can look at things far away and make them look close.
They even put different parts of Mother Earth in containers and pour them back and forth so they can find out more about the truth of Mother Earth. Anyway, Tahanshi, they have spent a lot of time and money and studied Mother Earth for many, many years. From all this work they have made a new discovery. They found out that everything is interrelated. They found out that when you pollute the air which all living things breathe and pollute the water which all living things drink, you pollute all living things.
What do you think about that, Tahanshi?”
My Grandfather’s old friend smiled knowingly and shook his head. “I was wondering when they would get around to this understanding of Life! Just look at what we do to our beloved Mother Earth. We cut her hair where it should not be cut and rip up her skin where it should not be ripped up, and then we drill holes inside her and suck all of her blood out and put things inside of her and blow her bones up.”
This wise elder then looked deeply into the eyes of my grandfather, shook his finger and said, “And what would happen if you did that to your mother? She would die! And this is exactly what is going to happen to all of us and our future generations, if we do not learn to have compassion, respect and love for all of Life!”
The Golden Rule we know so well, then, is really a derivative of a greater fundamental truth, a truth we can call the “Green Rule.” It doesn’t just apply to how we treat one another, but how we treat our Mother Earth! The Green Rule states, “Do unto Mother Earth as you would have it do unto you.”
The benefits of compassion for Mother Earth reaches far beyond our individual selves to all living beings! To forget this is to try to cure a sick child when the water the little one drinks and the air the little one breaths has been poisoned. We cannot get behind the cause of the problems we face in this critical moment of history without the realization that this poison is our beliefs – beliefs of separation from one another and Nature – which lead to our ways of being in the world. This current way of being withholds us from engaging authentically with one another and celebrating the vast array of life that we each are an integral part of!
The Compassion Games and the Birth of the “First Nations League” and the Nawtsamaat Alliance
The Compassion Games make our communities safer, kinder, more just and better places to live. The ultimate “Compassion Game” is unprecedented, unified, compassionate action to “Protect and Restore the Sacredness of all Life!”
In the 2014 Compassion Games we unveiled the First Nations League, with the Nawtsamaat Alliance being the first official team to participate. Indigenous Leader Sundance Chief Rueben George and I called for the birth of this Salish Sea alliance to unify and come together to protect the Salish Sea.
The Nawtsamaat Alliance – located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest around the Salish Sea – formed and joined the Compassion Games in a time when our beautiful region is presently under attack from a fossil fuel industry looking to expand exponentially the volume and transportation of fossil fuels through our lands and waters. These expansions seriously jeopardize further the health and well-being of the land, water, and communities in the region who lovingly call the Salish Sea home.
Led by the Coast Salish Indigenous Peoples, the Nawtsamaat Alliance is made up of Native and Non-Native community members who are coming together and calling for “Unprecedented Unified Action” to protect our home. This is a story about Indigenous leadership utilizing Compassion Games to strengthen how all members of the Human Family can come together to care for our Mother Earth!
Nawtsamaat is a Coast Salish word that can translate to, “One House. One Heart. One Prayer. United in Power to Protect the Sacred!”
The Compassion Games can literally help us “change the game” and ignite a community to move to the positive with a new approach to organizing and working together. And it is working!
The 4 Days of Action to Protect the Salish Sea
During the 2014 Compassion Games, the Nawtsamaat Alliance (NA) organized its inaugural launch and blessing at Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, followed by the 4 Days of Action Campaign to Protect the Sacredness of the Salish Sea.
The 4 Days of Action connected and supported many people and organizations for a variety of events aimed to raise awareness of fossil fuel threats in the Salish Sea, and to build unity across the region. The 4 Days of Action also stood in solidarity with the People’s Climate March. Alliance members, 350.org, Rising Tide, and the Georgia Strait Alliance hosted the International Rally to Protect the Salish Sea, a cross-border rally at Peace Arch Park the day before the historic Climate March took place around the world. Indigenous peoples lead the People’s Climate March in New York City, where over 311,000 people gathered in the largest march on climate in history.
Over 2,600 rallies took place in more than 160 countries. See the Report Back video on the People’s Climate March here.
Out of this global movement and inspiring display of love for our Mother Earth, the Compassion Games 10 Year Solar Challenge was born!
Sun-Up! The Compassion Games 10 Year Solar Challenge
The Compassion Games 10 Year Solar Challenge was proposed in order to “Sun-Up!” our communities as we “Warrior-Up!” to protect Mother Earth. The Solar Challenge will help inspire and move us all toward 100% clean renewable energy – for all purposes and for all people – starting with the Sun-Up Our Sanctuaries campaign in 2015. Each year a campaign and “coopetition” will be revealed to solarize a different part of our society. When communities mobilize together in this way, the price of solar becomes even less expensive through bulk-purchases than it is already becoming in the global market.
If you are interested in learning more or want to participate in this incredible opportunity, we warmly encourage you to do so here!
Looking Forward with Hope: Earth Week and Future Coopetitions with Indigenous Peoples and their Allies
As we build toward the Global Compassion Games in September of 2015, there are an inspiring lineup of coopetitions happening around the world. In February, World Interfaith Harmony Week is taking place, a major event for the United Nations. In April, Earth Week will happen in celebration of Earth Day (although every day is Mother Earth Day!) The First Nations League will participate in Earth Week, encouraging many other First Nations and Indigenous peoples and their allies to form and participate.
In support of Earth Week, the Nawtsamaat Alliance will be launching the “Love This Place” campaign, to move and inspire all peoples who live in the beautiful Salish Sea bioregion to make a pledge of solidarity to protect what they love; their land, waters, fellow human beings and all living beings. As the International Treaty to Protect the Salish Sea was first signed by Tsleil-Waututh Nation and their allies in the culmination of the 4 Days of Action, a Salish Sea tour will also take place during “Love This Place”, inviting and encouraging other allies to sign and uphold the International Treaty in pledges of support!
A Love for Our Mother is a Love for All
As a human species, we are remembering what it is like to have an ecological and spiritual literacy that serves and deeply connects us all, with all living creatures of Mother Earth. Indigenous relatives around the world are offering this wisdom in peace and unity. Yet for such a remembering and re-learning to happen, we have to have the hope to act toward it, and to believe it is possible! We must unify to develop a way to get there, and do it in accordance with what calls to the deepest aspects of our spirits and our hearts: the need for meaning and purpose, for love and for wholeness, for community and justice and peace. The greatest vision of all for such a world is one where all living beings can thrive on a planet that is looked after compassionately… for when she is loved and cared for, all living beings shall feel the same.
Starting from Within, Working in a Circle, in a Sacred Manner, We Heal and Develop Ourselves, Each Other, and the World.