The Fourth Way acknowledges that the Human Family is at a crossroad facing diverging paths: on one side lies the path of increasing conflict, militarism, economic insecurity, and war; on the other, a sacred path leading to mutual understanding, healing cooperation and sustainable, harmonious prosperity.
We offer The Fourth Way based on the conviction that Indigenous peoples have the vision, the guiding principles, the values, the growing capacity and the collective resources to co-create a peaceful and harmonious future for our children and grandchildren. We submit that Indigenous peoples hold an important key to peace, security and sustainable well-being for all members of the Human Family.
The implementation of the Fourth Way requires each to look at the world in a new way. We are accustomed to seeing the world through a prism uniquely anchored in our background, experience, and to the narrative or founding “story” of our Indigenous territories or groups. We are bound together by religious, cultural and spiritual beliefs and traditions. We must, also, learn to honor and respect the religious, spiritual and cultural differences and beliefs of others. The Fourth Way recognizes all forms of religious and cultural perspectives but also respects freedom of conscience based on ethical and moral foundations. We must learn to widen our prism to see and understand more than we did before, to see ourselves as others see us and to see the issues we face from differing points of view. In the end we must come to understand the true meaning of Black Elk’s vision, that despite our differences, we are in fact all related.
BLACK ELK’S VISION
"Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there, I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shape of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy."
The Fourth Way is specifically addressed to all members of the Human Family. The Fourth Way invites the participation of all members of the human family who are devoted to fostering economic prosperity, reducing conflict and violence, promoting increased understanding, social justice, diplomacy, partnership building, and the creation of government institutions that are participatory.
With the Sixteen Principles as its strategic and spiritual foundation, The Fourth Way invites everyone to join together to achieve Black Elk's vision of peace through the unity of the human spirit. All those who join in the pursuit of these goals are actualizing of the Fourth Way.