Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future (Paperback)
Indigenous leaders and other visionaries suggest solutions to today’s global crisis
• Original Instructions are ancient ways of living from the heart of humanity within the heart of nature
• Explores the convergence of indigenous and contemporary science and the re-indigenization of the world’s peoples
• Includes authoritative indigenous voices, including John Mohawk and Winona LaDuke
For millennia the world’s indigenous peoples have acted as guardians of the web of life for the next seven generations. They’ve successfully managed complex reciprocal relationships between biological and cultural diversity. Awareness of indigenous knowledge is reemerging at the eleventh hour to help avert global ecological and social collapse. Indigenous cultural wisdom shows us how to live in peace--with the earth and one another.
Original Instructions evokes the rich indigenous storytelling tradition in this collection of presentations gathered from the annual Bioneers conference. It depicts how the world’s native leaders and scholars are safeguarding the original instructions, reminding us about gratitude, kinship, and a reverence for community and creation. Included are more than 20 contemporary indigenous leaders--such as Chief Oren Lyons, John Mohawk, Winona LaDuke, and John Trudell. These beautiful, wise voices remind us where hope lies.
About the Author
Melissa K. Nelson, Ph.D., is an ecologist, writer, educator, and social activist whose work is dedicated to indigenous revitalization and cross-cultural reconciliation. She is a professor of American Indian studies at San Francisco State University and president of The Cultural Conservancy, a nonprofit indigenous rights organization. She also coproduced the award-winning documentary short film The Salt Song Trail: Bringing Creation Back Together. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Buckminster Fuller once complained that the earth had come without a good operating manual. In fact, though, there are an awful lot of instructions that have stood the test of time. Since we’re clearly making a mess of things at the moment, it might be wise to pay some attention.”
— Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and the forthcoming The Bill McKibben Reader
“Original Instructions shows how human beings can actually play a richly positive role in the web of life as a keystone species that creates conditions conducive to life for all beings. Here is the sacred geography of a world where all life is revered and animated by spirit.”
— Kenny Ausubel, author of When Healing Becomes a Crime and coexecutive director of Bioneers
“Melissa Nelson, in collaboration with Bioneers, has produced an invaluable resource of Indigenous wisdom. This book is a must-read for every socially conscious political leader, member of the clergy, educator, activist, community worker, and entrepreneur interested in participating in the creation of a new and more ecologically sound worldview, one that will be capable of sustaining society in an era of significant global climate change.”
— Gregory Cajete, founding director of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico, an
"These indigenous activists have much to share, and they serve as crucial voices in the worldwide effort to restore our ailing planet."
— Deborah Donovan, Booklist, Feb 2008
" . . . a remarkable reminder that there are people out there doing critical work to safeguard our very existence. This book contains detailed information about the current programs and teachings from some of the best minds on the subject."
— Kathryn Price, book editor, WomensRadio
" . . . will appeal both to New Age and Native American collections . . . an eye-opening survey of sacred geography and a spirit-driven world."
— The Midwest Book Review, Apr 08
" . . . this book presents 'How To' earth wisdom that should be at the forefront of global efforts to restore the planet."
— Griselda Steiner, Scene4 Magazine, Mar 08
" . . . cogent advice on how people in the world's old growth indigenous societies conduct their relations with each other and the Earth--are couched here in starkly modern terms as questions of sustainability become global fare. . . . The subject matter of this book is eclectic, ranging from toxic chemicals to global warming, changing roles of women, revival of Native languages, "bio-justice", "bio-ethics", and "bio-democracy".
— B.E. Johansen, CHOICE/Current reviews for Academic Libraries, Vol. 46, No. 5, Jan 2009
"The general themes running through the writings . . . are all very applicable to current problems, and thought provoking. The book has a wealth of information, and many resources for further research and study."
— D. Tigermoon, The Pagan Review, May 2009
"I highly recommend this book. It's the dawning of an era and we must do our part to ensure a positive future for our children."
— Vesta Elliott, Alaska Wellness, Nov/Dec 2009