What is the Seventh Generation Principle?

May 29, 2012

The Seventh Generation Principle is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. This extremely prescient philosophy is currently somewhat overused as a “green” marketing ploy to sell everything from dish soap to cars.

The first recorded concepts of the Seventh Generation Principle date back to the writing of The Great Law of Iroquois Confederacy, although the actual date is undetermined, the range of conjectures place its writing anywhere from 1142 to 1500 AD. The Great Law of Iroquois Confederacy formed the political, ceremonial, and social fabric of the Five Nation Confederacy (later Six). The Great Law of Iroquois Confederacy is also credited as being a contributing influence on the American Constitution, due to Benjamin Franklin’s great respect for the Iroquois system of government, which in itself is interesting from the perspective that the United States formed their Constitution not on the principles of European governments, but rather on that of a people considered “savages”.

The Seventh Generation Principle today is generally referred to in regards to decisions being made about our energy, water, and natural resources, and ensuring those decisions are sustainable for seven generations in the future. But, it can also be applied to relationships - every decision should result in sustainable relationships seven generations in the future.

Relationships today between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous peoples should be forged with the Seventh Generation Principle in mind. Through my workshops, Working Effectively with Indigenous People, I strive to provide an understanding of the background to the existing relationship between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples so that future relationships will be positive for many generations to come. It is my life’s ambition to provide tools and suggestions on how to live and work with Indigenous Peoples with the goal that in the future, workshops on how to relate to one another will no longer be necessary...............which means I could retire and go fishing!

This article is referenced in "Why Buy Fairtrade tea" on the blog of GreenWitchTea in Australia. 

Interested in learning some tips on what not to say or do when working with Indigenous Peoples? Download your copy of our free ebook by simply clicking the book cover icon. 



Topics: Aboriginal Relations

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