Excerpts from the talk:
Contrary to the myth of the “primitive Indian” we were not passive observers of nature nor were we wandering bands of nomads looking for a berry to eat or deer to hunt. No. By and large we were active agents in shaping the land to produce prolefic abundance. We expanded and designed grasslands and forests for the benefit of all life.
We became what the world calls a keystone species, or a species upon which entire ecosystems depend. And our cultures became keystone cultures refined over time.
[Post pandemic]…the logical leap that many observers seemed to make was that the earth would be better off without humans. I reject that leap. The earth may be better off without certain systems we have created, but we are not these systems. We don’t have to be at least.
What if I told you that the earth needs us? What if I told you that we belong here? … What if these human hands and minds could be such a great gift to the earth that they sparked new life where people and purpose met?
4 important indigenous land management techniques:
- To tap into and align ourselves with the forces of nature.
- Intententional habitat expansion (many people think that we follow the buffalo when in fact the buffalo followed our fire)
- Decenter humans (create non-human centric systems).
- Design for perpetuity (what if our systems were designed to last forever).
…You might say “Oh thats very nice Lyla but, that could never scale. That could never feed today’s massive global population” and to that I say; Contrary to popular belief these continents were actually densely populated by indigenous people, as more and more studies are proving and their food systems still supported them. These systems are even more efficient than industrial food systems because they protect and agument the very thing that give us life instead of extracting and destroying them.
I would love to see the world adopt these strategies and at the same time, I know its not enough to simply mimic native practices. We must also work to return some of these lands to their original caretakers. for, in addition to healing the soil we must also heal our history as a nation.
… If we all unite together in courage, in forgiveness, in amends and generosity.
Hózhó - Is the joy of being a part of the beauty of all creation.
When we understand that humanity is an expression of the Earth’s beauty, we understand that we too belong.
Hózhó understands that we have an ecological role. Hózhó understands that our mother Earth needs us. When we become her friend, her confidant, her ally, her partner in life, instead of her dominator, her supirior or her profiteer, we can transform dead systems to living ones.