Mike Myers: Indigenous teachings still guide our ways of life today

An illustration titled "Sugar-Making Among the Indians in the North." Image from Canadian Illustrated News, 1869-1883 / Library and Archives Canada

A conversation about harvesting maple sap -- a long tradition among tribes in the Northeast -- prompts Mike Myers (Seneca Nation) of the Network for Native Futures to reflect on indigenous laws:
Real Indigenous laws – not settler laws for Indians as taught in the universities – are enshrined in four realms: The Laws of Creation, The Laws of the Land; The Laws of the Peoples; and the Ceremonies and Protocols that accompany these laws.

Within the Teachings associated with the Laws of Creation is the economic law that all that is needed for us to have a good life is provided by the other Beings. In each case the Being making the offering set down some rules and requirements the humans are to follow to be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of the gift.

In modern terms this set of Laws makes it clear that the humans do not own the “means of production”. Whether or not something will be given to us to enhance our life is the determination of the Being making the gift. This is a solemn and sacred relationship because it often requires that Being to give up its Life so that ours may continue.

With regards to Wahta Osis two Beings are making a gift to us. The Wahta (Maple) agreed to be the vehicle through which the sweetness our Mother Earth will flow. When that gift comes to us it also lets us know our Mother is waking up and we need to prepare for the season of harvesting, planting and growing that are coming.

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