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Wipe the soot from your eyes

(Editor note: Liza (Guerra) O’Reilly is attending the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change in Anchorage, Alaska, on behalf of IATP’s Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy. Liza is blogging this week from the Summit.)

IndigenousYesterday, Indigenous people from the four directions gathered on day three of the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change (IPGSCC) and continued to explore thematic sessions of health and food security, Indigenous knowledge and decision-making, environmental stewardship, and energy generation on the precipice of climatic collapse. Each thematic session provided the necessary space and meaningful opportunity for participants to help set our top three priorities and/or critical messages through a Declaration anticipated to be announced at the conclusion of the IPGSCC.

One of the top three critical messages reaffirmed in the energy generation thematic session honored our ancestors for their wisdom passed down from time immemorial when they first felt the sun, tasted the sweet water, breathed the fresh air and pushed their hands into the folds of the earth. This very timeless wisdom recognizes our capacity to lead “developed” Nation/states, corporations, and other failed institutions and models out of the dark, wiping the soot out of their infirmed and capitalistic eyes to look at the Indigenous-based model of micro-energy, developed and controlled by the people.

Our ancestral model revolves around community, not upon it. It is controlled by community, not privatized by it. It is locally developed and constructed by the community, not exploited by it. And it transforms large-scale, centralized energy systems from their collective destructive power to community collective power, as we relearn how to “sustain ourselves within ourselves.” This is a “clean” energy paradigm that rejects false solutions propagated under nuclear power, large-scale dam projects and biofuels.

Our ancestral energy model is a teaching moment to our little brothers to look upon our Indigenous communities/nations as we: (1) autonomously assess our energy needs; (2) determine our energy mechanisms and impacts; (3) develop our localized model that best preserves and advances sustenance in our relationship with mother earth; and (4) construct and sustain our localized energy model, bringing true “green jobs” into our communities.

In this way, when we generate the energy necessary to live well, we can still hear the flute’s penetrating and vibrant sound move with the wind, singing our stories of sustenance. Little brothers, we want you to live well too; we will help wipe the soot from your eyes.

Liza (Guerra) O’Reilly

Ben Lilliston