The Four Worlds International Institute

The 4th Way--An Indigenous Contribution to Building Peace, Prosperity and Security in the Americas- Part 1

The 21st century was imagined by many as a time of peace and prosperity. The horrors of the 20th century, including the scourge of world war and economic hardship, were not to be a part of this bright new century. Communism had fallen and the “End of History” was announced, representing the triumph of the “Washington Consensus” of globalized free market democracy, presided over by transnational corporations and enforced by an ever-present, all-powerful but benevolent U.S. military. Yes, liberal democracy had “won” and the future was one of capitalism, free markets, privatization, globalization and peaceful relations across an ever “flatter world.”

But that is not where we find ourselves. As we approach the end of the first decade of the millennium, humanity is experiencing an unfolding crisis in which our Mother Earth and its inhabitants simultaneously face the prospect of deepening economic insecurity, violent conflict, environmental degradation, competition for ever scarcer resources and markets, societal and political upheaval, and an increase in poverty and hopelessness.

Without question, these are times of historic import, times that call for a constructive, inclusive solution. In response we present The Fourth Way, a spiritually grounded vision and strategy for change that envisions a new era of cooperation, sustainable peace, security and human wellbeing. The Fourth Way is based on ancient prophesies found throughout the Western Hemisphere stating that after a long winter of death, deprivation, violence and despair, the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas would awaken to a new springtime of hope, cooperation and prosperity. Rooted in ancient principles embedded in Indigenous culture and expressed anew in its foundational Sixteen Principles, The Fourth Way is the path to these prophecies' fulfillment.

The winter for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas has been long and bitter, lasting over 500 years. It was introduced by a “great die-off” of 90-95% of all Indigenous people in the Americas, most as the result of European diseases, which killed them before they ever saw a European. Charles Mann, in his book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, quotes scholars who believe that 80-100 million Natives perished from disease by the mid- 1600’s, a catastrophe on an even greater scale than the “black deaths” in Europe. Many more died afterwards as the direct result of hostile colonial policies. Consequently, Indigenous peoples have been deprived of their identity and culture and suffered profound poverty and abuse, resulting in intergenerational trauma.

Over the centuries, Indigenous Peoples have responded to this cruel set of conditions in a variety of ways ranging from assimilation and passive resignation to resistance. At the same time, there has always been a powerful core of Indigenous elders and spiritual leaders who advocated holding on to the ancient spiritual vision of the Oneness of the Human Family and the teaching that the way out of this period of oppression and suffering Indigenous Peoples have endured is not through violence, but rather through healing the trusts that were broken, and through building constructive partnerships with all nations and peoples. These elders and spiritual leaders have continued to believe in the ancient prophecies, including the Reunion of the Condor and the Eagle, the Time of the Eighth Council Fire, the Return of the White Buffalo, the Emergence of the Fourth World and the fulfillment of Black Elk’s Daybreak Star Prophesy which presents the entire human family as the children of one mother nourished and shaded by the tree of life and favored with the promise of renewal and rebirth. In the past, their wise voices and vision were overcome by those who advocated resistance and violence, but we believe that the time has now come to witness the fulfillment of their vision. Indigenous people are ready to reclaim their cultures, values and traditions and to take advantage of collective material resources to play a key role in humanity’s advancement, all steps toward the fulfillment of their highest potential

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Comment by Elvina-Jean Paulson on October 12, 2010 at 5:24pm
What is shared of our knowledges is the knowing of our cultural rights and law according to our Ancestor's implementing them throughout the land. This law could never be lost amid the colonialization of each and every nation that was effectively consumed by guns and horses. Yet, our Ancestor's who were left knew their time was nearing of widespread and systematic massacres. That is our history through dominant Greater European Theory, the only thing is it was not theory to our Ancestors our Family they were cruelly taken along with the land. That is why they kept the stories of our past and future in the land and this is the Golden Thread of all Nations globally, we inherited when we were born brown babies of this Mother Earth. Peaceful Respects for peaceful resolutions Elvina Jean
Comment by Dr. Tom Termotto on October 6, 2010 at 10:37am
Dear Brother Phil,

Please know that there are many of us who share your beliefs and convictions around the future of humanity.
The Indigenous Peoples of the Americas have demonstrated extraordinary forbearance and patience. So much so that we American brothers and sisters stand in awe, and with great respect.
Surely the day is not too far off when, as the gathering energies continue to gain momentum throughout this final phase of the Galactic Creation Cycle (per Mayan Calendrics), the wind will once again be at your back.

With every good wish,
Brother Tom

Comment by Stephen Bamford on October 6, 2010 at 10:10am
I am heartened to see this good writing and for its being shared with everyone.

In my opinion the work of Charles Mann in his book 1491 The Americas Before Columbus is a must read for anyone to get the real history. Another great one for an historical perspective is Kirkpatrick Sales’ book Conquest of Paradise in which he quotes by translation from the journals written by Columbus’ men aboard those ships he set sail upon the New World.

He wrote that he traveled to Spain to the libraries to get those quotes that were written in the sailors’ own hands. In those journals they write of skewering infants tossed in the air and captured on their swords in order to test the quality of the metal in the swords for its sharpness. They also offered the sharp ends of the swords to the gentle and peace-loving Taino people to take in their hands. He wrote that this was the time the first blood was shed by Europeans in the New World.

As I write this I realize the quickness with which my emotions rise at the injustice of these deeds, just imagining them. I realize the challenges for people to rise above these events, myself included. The challenges we face as human-beings are large and must be met with great strength to maintain one’s center. I don’t know that I would be able to maintain a peaceful stance if I bore witness to such things. Yet, in my heart I know this is exactly what must be done. But how? This is our challenge and if we are unable to come to this and as the Dalai Lama says, to defeat the negative emotions, I believe we are all imperiled.

On conflict, it is my belief that at its heart is what was said in that movie with Paul Newman many years ago. It was made by that sheriff played, I believe by Rod Steiger, whose tenor was anything but peace-oriented when he said “What we have here…is a failure to communicate.”

On that note, I believe the only way acts of atrocity can be committed is when people are on a spiritual disconnect. In order to be disconnected, folks have to be able to communicate and receive communications. The problem is how to peacefully communicate with people on those ‘disconnects’ when in the height of conflict. All conflict I believe has at the heart of it a lack of understanding.

So how do we educate in the midst of upheaval and inflammation? This I believe is our challenge. I also have faith the sacred ways our Elders of all nations can be brought together as in the call to return to the Sacred Hoop.

I heartily thank Chief Phil Lane for his work in bringing these issues to our consciousness and affording us an avenue for expression in work towards this noble effort. I believe his work is at the heart of shifting the collective consciousness of humanity for the betterment of not only our human relations but that of all our relations.

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Starting From Within, Working in a Circle, in a Sacred Manner, We Heal and Develop Ourselves, Our Relationships, and the World.


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